Elder financial abuse is being called the fastest growing area of crime in America. And it may be happening in your family, if you aren’t paying attention to a caregiver — or a relative — who, under the guise of being helpful, is syphoning off an elderly person’s life savings.
According to a study by the Journal of General Internal Medicine, 60 percent of the adult protective services (APS) cases of financial abuse nationwide involved an adult child of the elderly person. Much of this theft is committed by their own family members under the guise of “helping them” — or simply rationalizing that the money would be theirs someday, so why not now.
Women are twice as likely to be victims as men. Most are between the age of 80 and 89, and are living alone, trying to maintain their independence. But elderly men are similarly abused, as the generation before the boomers lives longer thanks to medical science, and become more dependent on caregivers.
Who pays? We all do. It’s not just the humiliation when the senior realizes what has happened. Many are too frightened of their caregiver, or of being left alone, to even report this crime. But once the money is drained, these seniors become wards of the Medicaid system — shuffled off to nursing homes and receiving the least competent care — all paid for by the taxpayers. Read more »