Some signs of elder abuse can be obvious. If there is physical abuse or neglect there are often bruises or other physical signs. However, there are other types of elder abuse that are often harder to spot.
Financial elder abuse is a growing problem in the United States. It can be referred to as “adult exploitation.” It’s legal definition is “the illegal use of an incapacitated adult or his resources for another’s profit or advantage.”
People seeking to take advantage commit larceny, embezzlement, forgery, and extortion as some examples of the crimes committed against the elderly. All to often, it is hard to spot the signs of this particular kind of abuse. These types of elder abuse are typically committed by a family member or a trusted caregiver. While only 1 in every 25 instances gets reported, it is estimated that there may be as many as 5 million victims of this crime every year.
Some things to look for include:
The sudden disappearance of funds, valuables, or personal belongings
The presence of an adult child financially dependent on the elder or the sudden appearance or reappearance of relatives who had been previously uninvolved
Payments for services that seem to be excessive
Depleted bank accounts, over drawn checks, or chronic late or non-payment of bills
Sudden changes in power of attorney or the last will and testament
The elderly person is kept isolated. This may be socially or physical or they are left out of the decision making process.
If you notice any of these signs, it may not mean that there is abuse occurring but it warrants investigation. Contact the local police or adult protection services. If one of your loved ones has been the victim of elder abuse, contact the law offices of Schenk Smith. Our attorneys specialize in elder abuse cases. Contact our offices today for a consultation.