Tips for Professionals Who Work with Older Adults

How Professionals Like You Can Prevent Financial Abuse of Older Adults

Professionals who work in programs for the elderly are in a position to spot financial abuse and help prevent it from occurring. As a professional, you have the unique opportunity to be able to offer support and encouragement to your clients as they take action to end their victimization. How you can help:

  1. Train your staff how to recognize and report elder abuse.
  2. Sponsor a community education event. Help older adults learn how to avoid becoming a victim of abuse. Contact the Bucks County Crimes Against Older Adults Task Force to schedule a program at your locations.
  3. Launch an awareness campaign. The Bucks County Crimes Against Older Adults Task Force offers posters and brochures for you to distribute to your customers and community.

Who Is at Risk

The following conditions or factors increase an older person's risk of being victimized:

  • Have family members who are unemployed and/or have substance abusers problems
  • Isolation
  • Lack of familiarity with financial matters
  • Loneliness
  • Physical or mental disabilities
  • Recent losses

Signs & Symptoms of Financial or Material Exploitation of Seniors

  • Abrupt changes in wills, trusts, contracts, the power of attorney, the durable power of attorney, property titles, deeds, or mortgages
  • The caregiver has no other means of support besides caring for the elder
  • The caregiver restricts the elder's contact with the outside world, such as speaking for the elder, refusing phone calls, preventing visits, reading mail for the elder, handling all expenditures, and not taking the elder on purchasing errands or other outings
  • Changes in beneficiaries on insurance policies or IRAs
  • The elder's admission of financial or material exploitation or suspected exploitation
  • The elder's sudden reluctance to discuss financial matters
  • The elder's withdrawal of a large sum of money from the bank when accompanied by another person
  • Extreme interest in and participation in the elder's financial matters on the part of the caregiver
  • Financial activity that is inconsistent with the elder's abilities, such as ATM withdrawals when the elder never leaves the house
  • Forged signatures
  • Home or institutional care that is lacking, despite sufficient funds to cover the care
  • Increasing lack of contact with and interest in the outside world, reluctance to accept visits or phone calls
  • Increasing tiredness or depression on the part of the elder
  • Large cash withdrawals from the elder's bank account
  • Large checks written to unusual recipients
  • Names being added to the senior's bank account signature card
  • Numerous withdrawals from the elder's bank account, particularly in round amounts, such as $100 or $500
  • Objects or money missing from the senior's household
  • Sudden appearance of friends or relatives claiming the right to goods or inheritance
  • Sudden changes in the elder's financial situation
  • Sudden close relationship with a much younger, more able person (including marriage or domestic partnership)
  • Unnecessary services, goods, or subscriptions
  • Unpaid bills, despite enough assets to cover the payments
  • Withdrawals from investments in spite of penalties for early withdrawal