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How to Identify and Prevent Edler Financial Abuse?
Seniors are one of the most vulnerable populations targeted for financial abuse, frauds and scams. One in ten Americans age 60+ has experienced elder abuse and the most frequent abuse being financially (Forbes.com). How does this happen and what can you do to help protect yourself or your loved one from falling prey to this form of abuse? Let’s take a look at defining Elder Financial Abuse and the different things to look out for to help plan, discuss and prevent this type of abuse. With the holidays in full swing, there are unfortunately there are those looking to take advantage of our unsuspecting, vulnerable, and good-hearted seniors.
The financial exploitation of elderly people comes at a great cost: It costs victims as much as $36.5 billion each year, according to the National Council on Aging. And it can be more difficult to detect than physical abuse and neglect because it’s often done by family members, trusted friends and caregivers.
Seniors are targeted simply because they have money in the form of pensions, retirement savings, or home equity, which are appealing to those looking to take advantage. Elder financial abusers can be family members, or people with whom the older person has had a relationship.
What do I need to Know?
The Mandated Reported callas attention to 5 Financial Elder Abuse Statistics Everyone Should Know?
1. Growing Concern of Financial Elder Abuse
Financial abuse is a growing problem. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that reports of elder financial abuse quadrupled from 2013 to 2017, rising to 63,500 reports of suspicious financial activity involving seniors in 2017. Furthermore, it is believed that these formal reports of suspicious activity likely represent only a small fraction of suspicious financial activity involving seniors in 2017. Furthermore, it is believed that these formal reports only represent a small fraction of actual senior financial exploitation.
2. The Financial Burden Can be Hefty
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found the average loss to an older adult who suffers financial exploitation is $34,200, and up to 7% reported up to $100,000.
3. When an Elder Knows Their Abuser, the Losses Can be Greater
When the senior knows the person exploiting them, they will often be taken for more money and losses, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The senior often trusts the one looking after them to tell them the truth and not take advantage of them or their wealth.
4. Family Members are the Most Likely to Exploit a Senior
The National Center on Abuse reports that financial abuse occurs 54 % of the time by a family member. Often making this an even more difficult situation to get control of.
5. Abusers Often Have Their Own Financial Difficulties
The National Center on Elder Abuse reports up to 30% of financial elder abusers often have financial troubles of their own. Where less than 1% of non-related or unknown perpetrators had financial issues.
Financial elder abuse is devastating. Fortunately, there are ways to recognize and report it to better help victims.
· fraudulent signatures on bills
· unusual or sudden changes in spending
· sudden changes to financial documents such as a will, etc.
How can I help prevent financial elder exploitation from happening?
An AARP article points out 5 ways to help prevent this from happening:
1. Designate someone you trust as your financial power of attorney.
2. Appoint a trusted contact for accounts and investments.
3. Sign up for a service that tracks your bank accounts, investments, and credit cards.
a. Tech tools such as EverSafe and LifeLock can detect suspicious activity and protect against identity theft.
b. It is also a good idea to consolidate finances: accounts, limit # of bank cards, subscriptions. Less is often more in ways of being able to manage effectively.
4. Stay in touch with loved ones.
5. Get to now your loved one’s caregivers.
a. Knowing them and being involved makes it less attractive for caregivers to take advantage.
b. When hiring in-home help, it is advisable to use a bonded agency that does background checks and takes action in case of theft.
AARP also has a great video pointing out 3 ways to Protect Against Elder Financial Abuse: 3 Ways to Protect Against Elder Financial Abuse - Top Videos and News Stories for the 50+ | AARP
Who do I go to if I believe my loved one is a victim of elder financial abuse?
· Contact Adult Protective Services (APS) for your area
· Contact your local District Attorney or Legal Aid office
· The National Association of Adult Protective Services has a state-by-state directory.
Ruby Care Senior Living Advisors wants all our seniors and their families to stay safe not only over the holidays, but throughout the year. Wishing you and yours Happy Holidays and a Blessed New Year!
Britt Hemsell – Ruby Care Senior Living Advisor & Blog Contributor
National Center on Elder Abuse: https://ncea.acl.gov/What-We-Do/Research/Statistics-and-Data.aspx
National Adult Protective Services: https://www.napsa-now.org/help-in-your-area
Ten years ago, Id never have thought about writing about digital legacy planning. But when I think about my digital assets (photos, documents, music, blogs, business records, etc.) and my digital accounts (emails, bank accounts, subscriptions, etc.), I know Ill want to provide for someone to handle them (1) in case I lack capacity to manage them, or (2) after I die.Think about it: the larger my digital footprint, the larger my digital legacy. While I am only on Facebook and LinkedIn, I imagine many readers are also on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, as well as dating, job search, and affinity websites. What happens to these accounts after one dies?Do I want to preserve or eliminate my digital presence? How do I get off of Facebook, LinkedIN, Instagram, Twitter, etc.? For example, Facebook allows users in the US to designate a legacy contact who can take control of your account after their death. Few other social media do. Or do I want to remain there in perpetuity (as a zombie)? (One shocking statistic suggests that in 100 years, there will be billion dead people on Facebook). What about passwords, photos, emails, texts and business information that live on after I die? These, too, are part of this process. A durable power of attorney and/or a will or estate plan can designate a trustee or executor to access, modify, delete, and/or archive, your digital data. But she or he cant do this unless you have provided them the authority to do so and alist of your digital accounts and assets and how to access them.Most states have passed a version of the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, which allows a digital asset custodian to disclose digital asset information when requested by a fiduciary who needs access to the information to fulfill fiduciary duties.But heres the kicker: Who actually has the skill to manage our digital assets and accounts? Your spouse who is executor of your estate? Your brother who has power of attorney to make decisions for you if you lose capacity? I wonder. Digital legacy management may call for a new occupational specialty with a skill set not many of us possess.
Technology is constantly improving, which means that cybercrime is on the rise. As an agent, its more important now than ever before to protect yourself from the dangers of cyberspace. The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) has created a checklist that lists cybersecurity measures you can take to keep yourself and your business protected. Heres an overview of what it has to say.Email and Password HygieneYou most likely use your email and a variety of other services everyday to conduct business, which means that your accounts might contain a lot of personal and confidential information. Its easy to forget about securing your accounts when you access them day in and day out, but this is one of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself from cybercrime.According to NAR, your login credentials are especially important to protect. You should carefully guard login and access information to your email and any other service platform you use during the transaction, while also making sure that the usernames and passwords are different for each account. For example, if a hacker accesses one of your accounts, you dont want them to easily access any others using the same login information. In addition, your passwords should be long and complex, with a combination of letters, numbers and symbols that would be hard for any person or computer to guess. Finally, NAR recommends using two-factor authentication to give your accounts that extra level of security. This requires you to give two forms of identification to access your accounts so that hackers cant get in, even if they know your password.When it comes to general email hygiene, NAR recommends that you be careful with both the information you send and the information you receive. When sending emails that contain sensitive information, you should use encrypted email, a transaction management platform or a document-sharing program to protect your information from being easily stolen. If you receive an email that contains any unknown attachments or links, dont click on themthey could contain malware that infects your device. And whether youre on the sending or receiving end of an email, NAR recommends that you avoid doing business over unsecured wifi, where hackers can easily access your personal data. Other IT-Based Security MeasuresWhile its a good idea to secure each of your accounts, its equally important to protect your devices operating systems and software. NAR emphasizes that you should always keep antivirus software, firewalls, operating systems and programs active and up-to-date to receive the highest level of protection. Its also a good idea to regularly back up the data on your device. By doing this, it will be stored in a safe place in the case that a virus infects your device or someone hacks in and erases your information.Another way that NAR suggests securing your device is by avoiding any suspicious links or applications. If you receive a text message from an unknown sender that contains a link, dont open it or your information could be stolen. If youre downloading an app, make sure that its legitimate by researching it beforehand so that it doesnt breach your privacy or infect your system. And if you ever need an IT provider, work with an attorney to review their policies and contracts before allowing them access to any of your devices.Law, Policy and Insurance ConsiderationsSo far weve talked about some everyday measures you can take to improve your cybersecurity. But there are larger considerations you should also keep in mind to make sure that youre protected in the long-run. According to NAR, your attorney can help you develop a written disclosure warning clients about the possibility of cybercrimes resulting from their transaction. In this disclosure, you can recommend certain steps for sellers and buyers that will protect their personal information and finances. In addition to a disclosure, NAR recommends that you also develop policies relating to document retention and destruction, cyber and data security and breach notifications and responses. NAR believes that you should stay up-to-date on those documents and coverages you already havefor example, your insurance coverage. Ask your insurance agent about additional options you can add to your plan, such as cyber insurance and crime protection products. In addition, remember to stay up-to-date with your states laws regarding personal information, cyber and data-related business policies and other legally required security-related business practices. This will all help you and your clients stay protected and will save you time and stress in the long run.Its easy to put off the small steps that can protect you from cybercrime, but dont wait! Unfortunately, its only becoming more common in todays digital space. If you dont start protecting yourself now, you could be a hackers next victim at any moment. By implementing the items from NARs Cybersecurity Checklist, you can begin living with peace of mind that you and your business will stay protected.
Top Tips for Reducing Elderly Anxiety at NightTrying to reduce elderly anxiety at night for a loved one? Read our top tips for the best ways to minimize elderly anxiety at night and improve their sleep quality.Alt Text: An Elderly Man Reminiscing (Image Source)Do you have an elderly loved one who experiences anxiety at night? Unfortunately, anxiety can become more common and impactful as we age, causing sleep disturbances and other issues. However, there are strategies that caregivers can use to help reduce anxiety in the elderly at night. This article will discuss tips for reducing elderly anxiety at night, including creating a relaxing environment, engaging in relaxation techniques, and utilizing innovative technologies. Read on to learn about assisting your senior family member in coping with their anxiety at night and improving their sleep quality.Related: Three Things to Consider When Taking Care of Your ParentsUnderstanding Elderly Anxiety at NightTo fully grasp nighttime anxiety in older adults, we must examine its causes and symptoms.The Causes of Anxiety in the Elderly at NightThere are various causes of anxiety in the elderly at night, some of which include:Health Concerns - Older adults may have concerns about their health, chronic illnesses, pain, and other age-related issues that can cause anxiety and worry at night.Loss of Independence - Aging can cause a loss of independence, which can be emotionally distressing and lead to anxiety.Fear of Falling - Older adults are at an increased risk of falling, which can cause anxiety and fear, especially at night when it is dark, and visibility is low.Loneliness and Isolation - Many older adults live alone, which can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. These feelings can heighten at night with less social interaction and distractions.Financial Concerns - Older adults may worry about their financial stability, especially if they are retired and living on a fixed income.Medications - Certain medications can cause side effects such as insomnia, nightmares, and anxiety, which can be more pronounced at night.Cognitive Decline - As people age, Alzhermers, dementia, and cognitive decline can occur, which can cause confusion, disorientation, and anxiety at night.Past Traumatic Experiences - Older adults may have experienced traumatic events in their past, such as war, abuse, or loss of loved ones, which can cause anxiety and flashbacks at night.Click Here to see how teleCalm can stop late night calls!Identifying Anxiety Symptoms in Older AdultsAnxiety symptoms can manifest differently in older adults compared to younger individuals. Some common symptoms of anxiety in the elderly include:Excessive Worrying - Elderly individuals may excessively fret over health, finances, and various life aspects.Physical Symptoms - Anxiety may induce symptoms like increased heart rate, perspiration, trembling, and shortness of breath.Sleep Disturbances - Seniors with anxiety might struggle with falling asleep, maintaining sleep, or awakening too early.Irritability and Restlessness - Anxiety can lead to feelings of irritability, agitation, and restlessness in older adults.Avoidance Tendencies- Some seniors with anxiety might evade situations that exacerbate their anxious feelings, such as social gatherings or leaving the house.Memory Challenges - Anxiety can impact memory and focus, posing concerns for elderly individuals experiencing cognitive decline to some extent.Physical Complaints - Anxiety can cause physical complaints such as headaches, gastrointestinal problems, and muscle tension.Late-Night and Repeated Calling - It is important to note that according to WebMD, these symptoms can also indicate other medical conditions, and a proper evaluation by a healthcare professional is necessary to determine the underlying cause.Top Tips for Reducing Elderly Anxiety at NightHere are some tips that can help reduce elderly anxiety at night:1 Using teleCalm's Repeat Dialing FeatureWith just a few simple steps, you can customize your preferences in the teleCalm Caregiver App to stop compulsive and repeated calls.Features of teleCalm's Repeat Dialing include:Customizable Settings: Choose the number of calls (2-5 times) and the specified period of time (15-60 minutes) before repeat dialing is activated.NotificationsGentle Messages to Your Loved OneNo Additional CostAlt Text: An Elderly Woman In Her Room (Image Source)2. Using teleCalm's Quiet Hours FeatureThe teleCalm's Quiet Hours feature can block incoming and outgoing calls during specific times. Here's how the Quiet Hours feature works:Customizable Settings - You can customize Quiet Hours in the teleCalm Caregiver App to activate during specific times, such as Nighttime Quiet Hours from 10 pm to 7 am.Default or Personalized Messages - Your loved one will hear a default message during Quiet Hours. You can also record a personalized message in your voice to reassure them.Easy to Set Up - Activate Quiet Hours under the Settings screen in the teleCalm Caregiver App. Select the time ranges for Daytime and Nighttime Quiet Hours. You can also adjust or turn off Quiet Hours anytime in the app.3. Establishing a Regular Sleep RoutineA consistent sleep schedule can help improve sleep quality and reduce anxiety at night. Encourage the elderly to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.4. Creating a Calming Sleep EnvironmentMake sure the bedroom is comfortable, quiet, and dark. Encourage the elderly to create a peaceful atmosphere by playing soothing music, using aromatherapy, or using a white noise machine.5. Limiting Caffeine and Alcohol IntakeEncourage the elderly to avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime, as these substances can interfere with sleep quality and contribute to anxiety.6. Developing a Relaxation RoutineMeditation, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation before bedtime.7. Addressing Underlying Medical ConditionsAddress any underlying medical conditions contributing to anxiety at night, such as pain, urinary urgency, or respiratory distress.8. Talking to a Healthcare ProfessionalEncourage the elderly to seek professional help if their anxiety at night is severe or interfering with their daily activities. A mental health professional or physician can provide appropriate treatment options.Click Here to Contact teleCalm Today and Start Stress Free Phone Service!Alt Text: An Elderly Gentleman Holding a Colorful Ball (Image Source)Use a Mixed Approach to Help Combat Elderly Anxiety at NightElderly anxiety at night is a common issue that can significantly impact their quality of life. Fortunately, there are several strategies that caregivers can use to help alleviate anxiety in the elderly at night, such as establishing a regular sleep routine, creating a relaxing environment, engaging in relaxation techniques, and seeking professional help. Additionally, teleCalm offers solutions such as the Repeat Dialing feature, which can help reduce compulsive and repeated callsthe Quiet Hours feature, which blocks incoming and outgoing calls during specific times. With a mixed approach incorporating lifestyle changes and innovative technologies, caregivers can help their loved ones manage anxiety and improve their overall well-being.Related: My Mom is Calling at 3AM
When Its Time for Senior Living, We Help You Find the Perfect Community for You! With over 900 senior living options in the DFW area, Ruby Care helps families make informed decisions. We provide complimentary assistance to find the most appropriate living community including Indepenent Living, Assisted Living, Residential Care Homes, Memory Care & Nursing Home. Our ExperienceIf you've been searching for senior housing for you or your loved one, you know there are hundreds of senior living communities in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Let Ruby Care help you. We do the legwork at no cost to you and help you find the place that is perfect for you and your family.Our professionals are well-known in the communities they serve. In order to help you best, they network with health care providers, such as home health, hospice, rehabilitation facilities, hospitals, physicians and other senior service providers.Collectively, our team has over 50 years of experience in healthcare and we are trained to listen to your needs so that we can work to find the best options for you...at no cost! Why Us?We know this can be a stressful time for you as you choose your next home. When you work with us, you will be assigned a Senior Living Advisor (SLA) who knows the community and has first-hand knowledge of the communities you are considering. Your SLA will meet with you in person and will listen to your wishes, wants and needs in order to help guide your next steps. Your SLA will also help you with senior living community tours and preparation to help guide you through the selection process. We serve as your advocate and help make this a smooth, seamless transition. Once you have selected a community, we continue to follow up for at least the next thirty days to make sure things are going well and there are no outstanding concerns. possibilities. placement. peace of mind.