As people get older, they tend to become more vulnerable to abuse. The elderly often need more help with daily tasks and responsibilities, and those who are in a position to help are also in a position to abuse. It is sadly true that this potential sometimes comes to fruition. One of the most common forms of elder abuse is financial manipulation, and it is not always easy to spot when it is happening.
Caretakers and family members who have privileged access to an elderly person's finances may try to take advantage of this for their own benefit. This dynamic can be dangerous and leave the victim financially devastated. It is important to watch out for the following examples of financial abuse:
Authorizing transactions without permission
According to Forbes, one form of financial abuse entails authorizing financial transactions without the permission of the individual. A caretaker who oversees an elderly person's finances may be able to do this and benefit from it. Wrongfully authorizing credit card charges, signing financial documents or otherwise making financial decisions for a person without express permission are all examples of abuse that commonly occur.
Spending funds unnecessarily
If a caretaker has control over an elderly person's money, she or he may take the liberty of spending funds unnecessarily. It is not uncommon for a person in this position to assist with grocery shopping and other tasks. Doing so presents an opportunity to spend beyond what is necessary and perhaps manipulate an elderly person into buying items for the caretaker. Unless explicitly authorized, though, this is a financially abusive behavior.
Sometimes financial abuse is not subtle at all; sometimes it involves an explicit manipulation of the victim for financial gain. This is the case when a caretaker financially blackmails an elderly person. This occurs when the perpetrator makes threats that are contingent upon a financial reward. He or she may threaten to leave or hurt the victim, for example, if the person is not given certain financial rewards.