When we gather (safely) with family over the holidays, we are honoring the great connections and love we have with family members. It is a great time to reminisce about holidays, and ordinary days, of the past. But don’t miss the opportunity to also look to the future and ensure the financial well being of your aging family members. We all want a relaxed retirement for our beloved parents, grandparents, and other treasured loved ones. It is important to take time while the family is gathered, either in person or virtually, to discuss keeping finances safe and avoiding financial exploitation.
Financial exploitation of older adults is upward of $3 billion each year. It is a tragic loss of resources upon which individuals depend upon, has long-term negative impacts on the victim, and well as the entire family. Perpetrators of financial exploitation of older and vulnerable adults are most often family members, and most likely adult children or spouses. The financial abuse becomes a chasm among family members and breeds distrust.
There are ways to prevent this abuse and help to intervene once it has started, it begins with conversations that lay out concrete actions with built in protections, as well as checks and balances. Discuss warning signs of abuse as a group and start talking about the various roles for family members to promote financial safety.
MetLife has useful resources in identifying steps to protect against financial exploitation. Reviewing these documents as a family would go a long way to starting the conversation around financial exploitation and taking steps towards prevention:
Preventing Elder Financial Abuse for Older Adults
Preventing Elder Financial Abuse for Family Caregivers
Join us on Thursday, December 17 at 1pm to learn more about the tools available to aid in preventing financial exploitation. This 1-hour free webinar is open to all but registration is required. Are you or someone you love experiencing signs of financial exploitation? The Minnesota Elder Justice Center can help. Please call 651-440-9312 to speak with an advocate.