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What to do if you suspect financial elder abuse

Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is more prevalent than most people realize. One employee who used to work at the Colorow Care Center in Colorado will stand trial for pushing a resident against a wall. 

Sadly, there is another type of abuse that is just as common but is much harder to discover. Financial abuse happens around the country all the time, and if you discover a loved one has fallen victim, you may be at a loss for what to do next. Whether your parent lives at home or a nursing facility, you should do the following right away if you have concerns about your loved one's well-being. 

Gently ask what happened

Once you see the warning signs, it is appropriate to approach your loved one in a calm, rational manner. One primary reason why many senior citizens do not come forward independently is due to the fact that they feel embarrassed or ashamed. You want to make it clear that you have no judgments and only care about his or her peace of mind. You can list strange behaviors you have noticed recently and ask why they have happened. 

Ask for financial statements

People react differently when you approach them with these kinds of claims. If the person allows it, you should review his or her bank and financial statements. This can reveal other major red flags, such as hefty withdrawals or large credit card purchases. You can bring these documents to an attorney if anything stands out. 

Challenge the exploiter

You can present these materials to the attention of the person you suspect has exploited your parent. In a non-threatening tone, ask probing questions to let the exploiter know you are onto the situation. In some cases, this will be enough to stop the abuse. However, if the scam involves credit card abuse or mail fraud, then you should bring it to the attention of the police immediately. 

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