Why is awareness and situation prevention planning key?
Seniors as they reach a stage in the later part of their lives may prefer to have someone they trust, to help them, even be involved in their living arrangements or perhaps to check bank transactions giving them ‘peace of mind’.
It’s an important responsibility that can grow over time or suddenly change, and the genuine people assisting or helping with care can play a crucial role towards their safety and financial security. Even helping them avoid unwanted situations such as the prevalent financial exploitation or fraud that can occur, and sometimes unexpectedly by family members who should really know better.
There are many considerations to help keep your senior loved ones or clients safe but first let’s take a look at some of the ways, wealth abuse occurs. It may be a scam phone call or someone closer looking to gain access to their money or even property, with the most common perpetrators being the adult children.
Other financial predators could be a friend or a new-found friend, neighbour, gardener, service provider or even a professional person in some cases. They could ask the senior person to lend them money or trick them and manipulate situations, or possibly coerce them into signing legal documents such as a Power of Attorney or to change their Will.
At times the financial predator is obvious yet sometimes the culprit surprisingly forges or forces signatures, uses an ATM card with or without permission and they can be taken or stolen. There are many other divisive ways that someone can be taken advantage of financially, the best way to approach this is to become informed around prevention to minimise the risk of it occurring.
When a senior person’s safety and security becomes paramount
Learning of the different ways financial abuse can occur and how to take the appropriate steps to prevent it entirely, or to take certain action steps to stop situations or manage them over time is the key. Ultimately the priority is a safe and secure outcome for the long term.
Some considerations to help protect vulnerable loved ones could be to keep accurate records and not deal in cash, if you’re assisting them with their finances. Keeping a paper trail of expenses and checking transactions on the bank statements for any unusual out of character or unexplained withdrawals.
It’s important to recognise that senior people have rights and the law clearly states that if they have capacity then they have the right to make their own decisions. With that being said, it is also illegal to have senior people who have lost capacity sign legal documents. Something that may be important to know if someone ever attempts wealth abuse.
If a senior person you are helping seems upset yet has difficultly articulating what is bothering them, consider having a calm relaxed conversation to find out why. Perpetrators can be cunning, manipulative and sometimes not easily recognised at first. The senior elder or vulnerable person may not quite realise the potential problem, or they may, and they’re upset by certain unwanted tactics, suggestions or wrong doings emerging.
Another suggestion could be to offer to install an answering machine to avoid the scammers and unwanted pesty pushy sales calls and be patient as you assist or provide care arrangements. When people reach that later stage in life, they usually know who they can trust, and it can be considered an honour to help them, if they want you to.
Seniors have a lifetime of knowledge and many have a great sense of humour, it can be an enjoyable experience helping them, and in doing so well you’re assisting them to live the later stages of life with the well-being, dignity and respect they deserve.
If you would like more details to share ‘Financial Senior Abuse’ is a Free Seniors Download on the bottom left of our website homepage
For more information on financial senior abuse prevention and taking action, please refer to our Protecting Seniors Wealth Guide