The Met Life Mature Market Institute study Broken Trust: Elders, Family and Finances takes a close look at elder financial abuse. Elder financial abuse is more prevalent than you think and the perpetrators are often family members.
Today we will look at the warning signs Met Life offers to indicate if older adults are experiencing financial abuse.
Unusual degree of fear or submissiveness to caregiver
Example: An elder cowers in front of a caregiver or begins trembling or crying
when the caregiver discusses finances.
Isolation from family, friends, community, and other stable relationships
Example: The older person is never alone or permitted to discuss finances without the
caregiver also present.
Signs of intimidation and threat by another
Example: The older person never looks at people directly or averts their gaze.
Withdrawn behavior or disheveled appearance
Example: The older person tries to avoid talking with others, especially when asked
to respond to something specific.
Missed appointments, uncharacteristic nonpayment for services
Example: The older person, previously prompt and reliable, does not show up for medical
appointments or “forgets” to pay bills.
Anxiety about personal finances Example: The older person worries a lot
about how she will ever pay a bill or have enough to eat.
Lack of knowledge about financial status
Example: The older person seems unaware of his money.
New “best friends”
Example: The older person seems surprisingly or unseemly close and attentive to someone he has just met.
Missing belongings or property
Example: Glasses, clothes, dentures, money, or all of these are gone. The elder is dismissed as “forgetful.”