Elder Abuse: Knowing the Warning Signs to Protect Your Loved Ones
Approximately one in 10 Americans age 60+ have been a victim of elder abuse in some form — from emotional abuse to financial exploitation to physical cruelty. What’s worse, it’s not only strangers committing these crimes. The abuse may be carried out at the hands of a close family member or trusted caregiver. And very often, it goes unrecognized.
Could your loved one be a victim?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), elder abuse is an intentional act or failure to act that creates a risk of harm to someone age 60 or older. On Wednesday, June 15, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is observed to recognize and combat the abuse, neglect and exploitation that affect many older individuals.
Building a proactive defense
Ask yourself the following questions regarding your older loves ones to help mitigate elder abuse from occurring right under your nose.
- Does your loved one seem withdrawn or confused? A common sign of abuse is the abrupt onset of nervousness, anxiety or forgetfulness. When an individual can’t remember signing a check or making a purchase, it may be more than just a minor memory lapse. Even one-off issues should be investigated to make sure nobody’s being taken advantage of.
- Have you noticed unusual banking activity? Recent changes in spending patterns, unexplained account withdrawals or attempting to wire large sums of money can all be signs that something suspicious is occurring. Make sure your loved one knows where his or her money goes every month. Don’t hesitate to step in and check it out if you notice something amiss.
- Are you suspicious of costly home repairs or renovations? Unfortunately, contractors and service providers don’t always have good intentions with older clients, and unnecessary work or add-ons can result in massive home repair bills. To protect against contractor fraud, make sure a trusted friend or relative is present when a contract is in discussion.
- Is there a new, unusually close companion in the picture? Pay attention to new friends and relationships. Without regular family visits, it’s easy for strangers to step in and forge a friendship for their own financial gain. Continually check in to ensure that your loved one isn’t isolating himself or herself from other friends, family members or activities they love in favor of a new companion.
- Are trusted relatives exhibiting peculiar behavior? Don’t assume that just because someone is a family member, they have a loved one’s best interests at heart. In nearly six out of 10 cases, a family member is the perpetrator of elder abuse. Stay in regular contact with older relatives and maintain an open dialogue about financial and care issues. Give them an opportunity to freely discuss potential concerns.
Elder abuse can rob your loved ones of their resources, pride and independence. But knowing the signs and risks and help them live out their best years with peace of mind.
The financial means to navigate the future
A reverse mortgage offers older homeowners the ability to safely leverage their home equity for financial security and support. In this highly regulated industry, lenders follow strict state and federal guidelines and regulations to protect borrowers. In turn, borrowers have the benefit of using the funds however they see fit — all while continuing to live in their home and retain ownership*.
The loan specialists at Reverse Mortgage Funding, LLC (RMF) can work with you and your older family members to determine if they are the right fit for this financial tool. To set up a local, in-person meeting, call us today at (888) 277-1567.
This content is sponsored by RMF, one of the nation’s leading reverse mortgage lenders. We are dedicated to helping older Americans retire more freely, in the comfort of their own homes. As a result of our commitment to providing an extraordinary and positive customer experience, we have earned a 98% customer satisfaction rating; a 4.7-star / Excellent score on Trustpilot; 4.8 out of 5 stars on LendingTree; and an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Call 888-277-1567 to speak with a licensed reverse mortgage specialist to learn about our retirement financing products and solutions.
* As with any mortgage, you must meet your loan obligations, keeping current with property taxes, insurance and keeping your home in good condition.