An older man looking up at the sky.

It seems that every other week or so, I hear someone talking about the challenges of caring for a family member or friend who is suffering from declining ability due to age. Declining ability could mean mental, physical, or both conditions being affected.

As I recently obtained my credentials as a licensed professional fiduciary with the state of California, it broadened my awareness of the deep complications that conflict both the caregiver and care-receiver as well as the emotions of associated family members. In short, to provide care for someone who used to make their own decisions, but now needs ‘some’ help making them, presents a challenge for all involved.

Additionally, predatory acts against the elderly (including elder financial abuse, coercion, verbal, and physical abuse) have increased and very much increased during the pandemic of 2020. Elder financial abuse happens too frequently and, in my opinion, is no different from taking advantage of children’s lack of knowledge and experience for one’s own benefit. Furthermore, many of these instances happen within the family circle…which makes catching and identifying these predatory acts more difficult.

Below, I have provided some of the warning signs of elder abuse. While this is not exhaustive, it should prompt you to act more vigilant and protective of your loved ones who are going to increasingly rely on you to do so.

·         Physical abuse, neglect, or mistreatment: Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions, burns….

Financial signs of elder abuse.

·         Emotional abuse: Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities; a sudden change in alertness, or unusual depression; strained or tense relationships; frequent arguments between the caregiver and older adult….

Emotional behavioral signs of elder abuse.

·         Financial abuse: Sudden changes in financial situations….

Physical signs of elder abuse.

What to Do–

If you happen to come across a situation that seems odd, please don’t hesitate to notify the authorities. Law enforcement officers and prosecutors are well aware of civil rights and the laws the support them. They are also aware of criminal activities associated with exploiting these rights.

If you have any questions about financially related documents that seem to be odd, I’d be happy to examine it with you to let you know my opinion. I’ve analyzed countless financial statements, documents, and insurance policies and have a quick eye to determine if something looks out of place. At the very minimum, you’d be doing your part to help mitigate these cowardly acts against the elderly.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.