Whether you have an elderly family member or close friend, or you are growing older yourself, it is critical to know how to watch for and find ways to prevent elder abuse and neglect. For the purposes of this article, we’re going to focus primarily on protection against financial abuse, although some of these principles relate to other forms of abuse as well.
4 Ways to Prevent Elder Abuse When It Comes to You or a Loved One’s Finances:
Make a Relational Elder Care Plan:
Make a plan ahead of time to ensure you or your loved one is cared for and provided for as the years pass. Your plan should consist of two parts: a financial piece and a practical piece.
The financial side should include how your assets are going to be used, while the practical side should cover how and by whom you or your loved ones are going to be cared for. This is one reason why creating an estate plan, with all the necessary end-of-life documents, is so important.
(Related: 7 End-of-Life Documents You Need to Create)
Choose Your Agents Carefully:
Your agents are individuals you appoint to make choices and act for you when you can no longer speak for yourself. From a financial aspect, your agent is typically your appointed Financial Power of Attorney. Whoever you choose should be (a) financially stable; (b) a good money manager; and (c) trustworthy.
(Related: Want to learn more about different types of agents and how to choose them? Click here.)
Establish a Community of Relationships:
A vast majority of abuse occurs when one person alone is trusted with everything, and they end up taking advantage of the situation. Forming relationships with professionals like a financial advisor, banker, attorney, and accountant creates a network of people who are working on your behalf, and is one way to keep just one individual from being in control. It’s also a good idea to make sure your agent(s) knows these people as well.
Recognize Loss of Capacity:
It’s unpleasant to think about, but if we live long enough, we are all likely to begin losing our capacities, whether mentally or physically. Educate yourself now so that you will understand the symptoms of loss in capacity in yourself and others as much as possible. Once you begin recognizing those signs, you can implement the appropriate portion of your plan, so that your agents and professionals can step in to ensure your care.
Start Forming Your Elder Advocacy Plan
It’s tragic to think about the number of elders who are abused or neglected each year in the U.S.; don’t let yourself or a loved one be one of them.
Contact us today and let us help you find and implement ways to prevent elder abuse in your life.