National Family Caregivers' Month
Nov 09, 2021
Consumers Can Prevent and Report Elder Financial Abuse with New Federal Guide
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has released a new guide to help family members and friends of people living in nursing homes and assisted-living communities learn how to prevent and report elder financial abuse. This straight-forward guide, “Preventing Elder Financial Abuse,” may be downloaded or ordered online at no charge. A quick-reference handout full of resources for reporting financial abuse or exploitation of an older person is also available.
Unfortunately, neighbors, caregivers, professionals, and even family and friends may try to take advantage of people as they age, reports the CFPB. They may take money without permission, fail to repay money they owe, overcharge for services, or fail to perform services for which they are being paid. Older people with memory difficulties or cognitive decline are especially vulnerable.
“A financial-abuse survivor loses more than dollars and property,” the CFPB guide explains. “Financial abuse can cause emotional harm and could also indicate emotional abuse or physical neglect.”
The CFPB guide advises family members to encourage loved ones living in senior facilities to set up automatic alerts on their bank accounts to receive notifications of transactions and low balances. Using automatic bill-pay services offered by banks and credit-card companies and having social security and pension checks directly deposited into their bank account may also lessen opportunities for financial abuse. The guide advises family members to notify the management of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities where their loved one may reside if they suspect that the person is the victim of financial exploitation.
National Family Caregivers’ Month honors family members who function as caregivers of family members, often providing services as unpaid volunteers. Some family members formally or informally oversee the care provided to their loved ones in nursing homes and assisted-living residences.