As our parents and elderly loved ones age, their well-being becomes even more paramount to us. It becomes even more challenging when we consider the potential risks they face, such as financial scams, emotional pressures, or those misusing their authority. With this blog, we'll dive deep into understanding elderly manipulation. We'll pinpoint the warning signs and equip you with tools to safeguard your loved ones.
Signs of Elderly Manipulation and What to Do
Elderly individuals, particularly those with dementia, are vulnerable to subtle manipulation. While physical harm, such as unexplained injuries or bruises, is more overt, emotional manipulation, like bullying or intimidation, can be equally harmful, though less conspicuous.
Financial manipulation stands out as a particularly troubling form of mistreatment. For instance, when an elderly parent shares a bank account with an adult child, this might seem like a trust-building measure. The child might rationalize using the parent's funds for personal expenses, thinking that they're acting in the parent's best interests. However, this becomes problematic when the parent isn't consulted about or even informed of the withdrawals.
Financial Abuse: A Silent Threat
It's unfortunate that sometimes those closest to our elderly loved ones pose the greatest threat. Instances of siblings or other relatives becoming involved in the financial manipulation of elderly parents are not unheard of. This betrayal, hidden under the guise of care or concern, can be even more insidious than strangers preying on the vulnerable. Adults stealing money from elderly family members not only breach trust but may also compromise the financial security of the elder. Whether it's unauthorized transactions, misuse of jointly-held accounts, or outright deception, the financial abuse of elderly parents can leave lasting emotional and financial scars. It's essential to be vigilant and to recognize the warning signs before the damage becomes irreparable.
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Taking Action Against Manipulation
If you suspect that a loved one is being manipulated, it's crucial to approach the situation with sensitivity and caution. Begin by initiating a gentle conversation with the elder, expressing your concerns and listening to their feelings without being confrontational. Document any evidence you might find, such as suspicious financial transactions or unexplained changes in behavior. If necessary, consult with professionals like social workers, attorneys, or law enforcement to ensure the safety and well-being of your loved one. Remember, being proactive and informed can make a significant difference in the life of an elderly individual at risk.
Managing Finances for Elderly Parents: What to Consider
Taking responsibility for your mother's finances can be more complex. The best thing you can do is communicate with your elderly parent before it becomes necessary for you to take over.
Obtain a Power of Attorney (POA) before there can be any suspicion that your parent does not have the mental capacity to sign it. You don't want it to appear that you are forcing your mom or dad to relinquish control of their lives and finances. It isn't easy to get a POA after the fact. Doctor's statements and verification of the incapacity will be necessary for you to take control of your parent's finances once they display obvious signs of cognitive decline.
Explain to your mother (or father) that you want to help them as they age. Make them aware of the dishonest adults (scam artists) stealing money from older adults who do not have an honest family member looking out for them.
Aging parents often resist discussing their finances with their children, so be gentle in your approach. Turning over control of finances and other responsibilities to someone else signifies a loss of independence.
Assure your parents that just because you have put precautions into place does not mean you plan to "take over" their life or money.
Your elderly parent or loved one may need guidance or support as they age, mainly where money is concerned. It may be time to intervene if you notice they aren't quite as on top of things as they used to be, bills piling up, or frivolous spending habits. Suppose you pay attention to your parent's mental health and take a pre-emptive approach. In that case, you can prevent them from becoming victims of subtle manipulation by corrupt people whose primary goal is to talk them out of their money.