As individuals age, they are often more vulnerable to the problem of elder abuse. The National Institute on Aging notes that there are many different types of abuse; however, it is financial abuse that is often overlooked.

If you have a loved one in a nursing home or a paid caregiver looking after him or her, you may want to understand the circumstances that surrounded financial elder abuse and what signs to look for.

Financial abuse definition

Many types of elder abuse fall into two categories: emotional and physical, and these are usually more commonly discussed. Financial abuse also includes several categories and circumstances, and they may include:

  • Theft of cash and checks from the home
  • Writing checks in the elder’s name
  • Using money earmarked for the care of the elder

In many cases, this theft takes place when the elder individual cannot care for his or her finances due to mental decline and is therefore taken advantage of by a caregiver.

Signs of financial abuse

If you suspect that your elderly loved one is suffering from financial abuse, there are several signs to watch for. If social security income no longer starts to cover living expenses where they did before, this could mean a family member or caregiver is writing checks or spending money from an account without permission. If your elderly loved one suffers from mental decline, the person taking advantage may have coaxed him or her into giving permission to spend money normally used for living expenses.

Financial elder abuse can occur in almost any setting and is not limited to nursing care facilities. You can protect your elderly family member by assigning a trusted individual to oversee a caregiver’s financial actions if he or she is handling any of your loved one’s money.