A recent study found that three out of ten state securities regulators have seen an increase in elder fraud complaints and cases. Many people are under the impression that it is only cognitively affected older individuals who are at risk for financial scams. However, one out of every 18 cognitively intact elderly people can fall prey to financial abuse or fraud in a given study.
One 2015 report estimated that more than $36 billion is lost every single year to financial abuse and scams. That problem is increasing and older adults who are experiencing a decline in their cognitive abilities are only a part of the overall story. The population that is currently retiring is one of the wealthiest in recent history, in terms of their retirement savings and criminals know this and will target these elderly individuals to exploit them.
Seniors can also be more vulnerable. This makes it especially important to have assets protected with an asset protection plan and an estate plan. These tools should be updated at least on an annual basis to reflect any changes in your life. Consulting with an estate planning attorney can help you avoid many of the most common financial scams and abuse and to figure out a long terms strategy to protect the assets you have worked so hard to build.
If you are concerned about an elderly loved one who may be subject to financial scam and abuse, working with an estate planning attorney to protect those assets inside a trust can help your loved have peace of mind that they will have the funds they need to get through retirement and old age without a high chance of scams.
Your walkthrough of an elder care facility is important for determining if it’s the right place for your elderly loved one.
You should also ask several important questions like:
Are there wheel chair ramps?
Is there an exercise or activity room?
Are there any unpleasant odors?
Are there outdoor areas where residents can walk or sit?
Is smoking allowed?
Are all facilities air-conditioned?
Do rooms have windows?
Are married couples allowed to share a room?
Are wheelchair ramps easily accessible?
Are the grounds well maintained?
Are there curtains or screens for privacy in rooms with more than one resident?
Are the rooms kept at a comfortable temperature?
Can residents adjust the temperature of their own rooms?
Are residents allowed to bring their own furniture?
Are there ample storage, rooms or spaces?
Is there an evacuation plan posted?
What kind of medical supervision is offered?
Are there any personal or beauty services offered?
How do residents and staff interact?
Are there any language barriers between residents and staff?
How often are social activities scheduled?
Are fire exits clearly marked?
Is the food well-presented and appetizing?
Is the down payment refundable if the resident passes away or moves?
What responsibilities do family members have in assisting with payment obligations?
If you are thinking about moving your elderly loved one into a care facility. It is a good idea to consult with an elder law attorney to answer questions about how this will be financed and to address any concerns associated with Medicaid.
After the story of Eryetha Mayberry – the nursing home patient whose abuse was caught on a hidden camera – became widely known, the type of surveillance used in the case has grown increasingly widespread. However, some have been quick to criticize the practice. A recent article discusses some of the arguments made for and against the use of “granny cams” in nursing homes.
Opponents contend that the secret monitoring raises ethical and legal questions. Not only is the family member being video taped, but whoever passes in and out of the room is caught on camera as well. Although a protective measure, the cameras are also an invasion of privacy. Some argue nursing home staff should be made aware of the cameras.
Proponents of this form of surveillance argue that the technology is incredibly accessible and widespread. For example, ‘nanny cams’ are often used when parents hire a new babysitter for a child. However, there is a difference between secretly filming a babysitter caring for an infant, and secretly filming aides caring for a full grown adult.
Whether you agree or disagree with the use of secret cameras in nursing homes, it is important to remember that the real problem is the abuse that is occurring. Perhaps nursing homes need to work harder to address the deep-seated issues at the many facilities that have had abuse complaints.
Too many of our nation’s senior citizens have suffered financial abuse from strangers, caregivers, and even their own family members. As a recent article explains, federal regulators at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have told banks that they can report suspected financial elder abuse to the authorities without violating privacy laws.
The announcement was intended to assist with a crackdown on financial elder abuse, which has reached epidemic proportions. The Government Accountability Office has recently reported that in 2010, financial elder abuse had cost America’s senior citizens $2.9 billion.
As director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Richard Cordray explains that those who work at banks and credit unions “may be able to spot irregular transactions, abnormal account activity, or unusual behavior that signals financial abuse sooner than anyone else can.” Before the announcement, however, bank and credit union employees were afraid to report suspicious activity due to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.
Not only should the new guidance encourage bank and credit union tellers to report suspicious activity, but it will also make it easier for those investigating possible cases of financial elder abuse to access the suspicious accounts.
There are no state laws that deal directly with elderly drivers when they begin to pose a risk to other drivers. Therefore, family members are often left to step in. A recent article discusses how you can determine when your loved one should hang up the keys.
The record for the highest rate of fatal crashes per mile driven belongs not to teens, but to seniors over the age of 80. This is because many seniors continue driving after it becomes obvious that it is no longer safe for them to do so. The most common ailments among seniors that increase their risk factor on the roads are vision problems, slower reaction times, and various other effects of aging.
If you believe that an older member of your family is no longer fit to drive, test your assertion by taking a short car ride with him or her. Look for telltale signs of hindered driving, such as a failure to be able to judge gaps in traffic, follow traffic signals, remember directions, or maneuver and park the car.
If you believe, after riding with your loved one, that he or she can no longer drive safely, it is important to address the matter head on. Select the person in your family that your loved one is most likely to listen to, and have him or her express that your loved one may not be safe on the road. Prior to this conversation, research alternative transportation options available in your loved one’s area, and the cost of each. This will help create a smoother transition for your loved one when they stop driving.