Financial Exploitation & Elder Abuse

Elder Financial Exploitation, Abuse & Neglect

What you need to know


Elder abuse is very common, not only in Arizona, but elsewhere.
When you suspect a loved one is being abused, neglected or financially exploited, we are here to apply the power of the law on their behalf.

Types of Elder Abuse

Elder abuse is the mistreatment of the elderly, short term or long term, and it can take these forms:

    • Physical, sexual, and emotional/psychological abuse
    • Financial exploitation
    • Neglect

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Identifying Elder Abuse and Taking Action

There are signs you should be on the alert for when it comes to identifying elder abuse, especially physical and emotional abuse. First, look for changes in the person’s overall behavior, including:

      • Unexplained injuries or inconsistent with what happened
      • Depression
      • Fearfulness
      • Lack of eye contact
      • Isolation from friends and loved ones

Remember, older people are often dependent on others who are in a position to easily take advantage. Caregivers provide food, water, hygiene, necessary medical and psychological care. Imagine if they withheld any of those things, how easily an older person could be at their mercy.…Be observant.

Powers of Attorney, conservators and others that are designated to act on a loved one’s behalf can easily take financial advantage of their role. For this reason, it’s critical to consider the seriousness of appointing Powers of Attorney, conservators, and others who may be in a position to have decision making powers with an older person’s finances.

Here are the signs that a loved one could be the victim of financial abuse:

    • Large withdrawals from an account over a short period of time
    • Frequent checks written to “Cash”
    • ATM activity on an account owned by a homebound or facility-bound older person
    • Payments for items or services that are not for the use of your loved one

Not everyone is out to get an older person’s money, but the elderly, unfortunately, make very easy targets. Common situations include:

        • Someone who’s a designated Power of Attorney has access to their financial accounts and can steal money
        • Someone who convinces an older person to add them to a joint bank account—they are then able to write checks or use a debit card to steal money
        • Someone who convinces your loved one to grant them interest in their home or property by signing over a deed, for example
        • Someone who takes an older person to the bank to withdraw money for them.
        • Someone who writes checks from an elderly person’s bank account and gets them to sign them, or forges their signature
        • Someone who finds cash an elderly person may tuck away and outright steals it.
        • Telemarketers and traveling salesmen that con money from an older person

One of the most telling signs of financial exploitation is a change in the pattern of financial transactions on accounts.

Neglect is the lack of care. For the elderly, it can take a number of different forms:

          • Intentional neglect by a caregiver who refuses to provide care or is professionally unqualified to do their job, either in home-based care or in a nursing home or assisted living facility.
          • Unintentional neglect when an older person is in the care of someone else who is either incapable of providing appropriate care or has illnesses of their own.
          • Self-neglect, when an older person refuses the care provided them or is ill or suffers from dementia and fails to properly care for themselves.

Neglect can often occur when older people are living on their own or with someone else. And it can come in the form of nursing home neglect, too. Be observant for lack of food and fluids, medications that are not refilled or up to date, signs of bugs and vermin, poor hygiene, unclean conditions, injuries, unclean bedding and bedsores, etc.

Those responsible for senior abuse can be almost anyone:

          • Neighbors
          • Friends
          • Family
          • Spouses
          • Children
          • Remote family members
          • Caregivers

There are many avenues for getting help when you suspect an elderly person is the victim of abuse, neglect, or exploitation. You can contact Adult Protective Services or law enforcement if necessary. Look to community senior services for information and support, as well.

If you suspect a loved one is the victim of elder abuse, neglect or financial exploitation contact the team at the law offices of Chester B. McLaughlin. Our office provides help in ensuring the abuse is stopped. In some cases, we can even help recover assets. In addition, we specialize in helping you navigate the complex process associated with appointing conservators and choosing responsible powers of attorney who can act responsibly on behalf of your loved one. Call us at 928-443-9934 for assistance.

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