Our parents took care of us, fed us, bathed us, educated us, and led us through life. We owe them a great debt, and when it comes time to take care of an aging loved one, there are difficult decisions to make, both personal and financial. It’s only natural to want to make sure that your loved one receives the best care and protection available.
Elder financial abuse on the rise
The baby boomers are fast approaching retirement. The number of Americans 65 and older is projected to double in the next 30 years. There are some important points to consider when taking care of an aging population, not least of which is their financial well-being and security.
According to the AARP, “abuse and exploitation rob older Americans of $3 billion” every year. Financial abuse is a very real, and very dangerous threat to the elderly. If dementia or senility is a factor, your loved one may be unable to release that any impropriety has occurred. Your family could be affected and left without the proper means to pay for continuing care.
Financial abuse is an often-overlooked type of elder abuse, and one that can have serious and lasting repercussions. In early August, a woman was arrested in Humboldt for stealing a nursing home resident’s pension checks and using more than $20,000 for her own benefit. The process to recover that money will be long and difficult, and may affect the nursing home resident’s ability to pay for continuing care.
The risks come from all sides; telemarketing scams that are aimed specifically at an aging population, reverse mortgages with impossible conditions, retirement accounts, and fraudulent billing practices to name but a few. While the government and financial institutions are working to protect the elderly, there is no substitute for the advocate that you can be for your loved one.
How you can help
If your parent is in a nursing home or other facility, you should familiarize yourself with the doctors, nurses, and other staff. You should be aware of your parents’ health, mental and physical condition, and financial status. You should know why charges are made to any account, when cash is withdrawn, and when Social Security or other benefit checks are due.
When elders are abused, everyone suffers. We are here to help you and your family recover from that abuse and get you the proper compensation you deserve. If your loved one has suffered any type of abuse at the hands of a caretaker, please contact the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm today for a free consultation in our Nashville, Gallatin or Knoxville office.