No one quite knows why, but, for the most part, elderly Americas are quicker to place their trust in people. Maybe it’s because they grew up in a simpler time when people trusted each other more.
Maybe it wasn’t quite so easy to deceive people in the past. We tend to forget that information technology like the internet, which has created a number of new ways to cheat and deceive people, is a relatively new invention. It’s easy for a scam artist to slip by with so many different options to pay bills, sign up for eldercare services, and stay up to date on personal or financial information that just didn’t exist when your parents were younger adults—or even a decade ago.
Your elderly parents may be looking for assistance in all of the wrong places.
It’s difficult enough for adults who have used technology most of their lives to determine who can or cannot be trusted. It can be doubly so for an elderly person just getting used to new technologies.
And the typical online and medical scams are not the only ways in which your loved ones are in danger. People in their life who seem like friends may also try to take advantage of them—like other family members or even an in-home care service.
You had better believe that there are plenty of untrustworthy folks out there ready to prey on older adults assistance, and it may be up to you to stop that from happening to your parents.
Make sure that you to stay on the lookout for suspicious behaviors.
Unfortunately there are people out there who look for older people to take advantage of. Most often your loved ones will be coerced emotionally so they may not even realize that they are being exploited.
They will be led on with promises of help around the home, emotional support or even just companionship. Unfortunately, even an in-home caregiver or relative can be the one who is doing the manipulation.
Here are some things to watch out for that may indicate that your parents are being taken advantage of:
1. Your parents are unable to explain their finances.
- Bills that are not being paid or are being paid late
- Unusual account balances
- Bank or credit card statements being sent places other than the responsible party
- Missing credit or ATM cards
2. Unusual behavior from your parents or others.
- Expensive items that have gone missing (jewelry, pieces of furniture, heirlooms) and cannot be accounted for
- Newly drafted legal documents that your loved ones are not able to explain
- Relatives who have not visited or communicated with your parents suddenly show up and takes an interest in your loved one’s affairs
- An in-home care provider who seems to be taking too much of an interest in your parent’s affairs
Exploitation can also take place in the way of neglect.
If your parents are currently living in assisted living or a skilled nursing facility, you may find that the organization fails to live up to the care they had promised during the tour. Neglect can take many different forms, ranging from from your loved ones being left alone for too long with no companionship to an inability to meet medical needs.
There are a few things to watch out for when you visit that may indicate neglect:
- Listlessness (which could indicate boredom or overmedication)
- Dirty surroundings
- Unkempt appearance
It may be difficult to determine if your loved ones are being exploited, so it is always wise to consult an eldercare lawyer before you raise concerns directly to the family member or paid caregiver in question.
But if something seems fishy, more than likely it is.