Did you know that nearly one quarter of adults over the age of 65 are socially isolated? This statistic, which comes from a study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, means that one in four seniors lacks the interaction and personal relationships that can be critical to their health and well-being.
And unfortunately, this social isolation can also make them targets for financial abuse.
The connection between isolation and abuse
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, loneliness can contribute to a host of conditions that make someone more susceptible to financial scams and manipulation. The CDC links isolation to:
- Increased risk of dementia
- Higher rates of anxiety and depression
- Serious health conditions requiring long-term care and hospitalization
When someone has few or no personal connections in addition to these health risks, it can be easier for a wrongdoer to deceive them and take advantage of them. For instance, a person might:
- Overcharge for services
- Physically steal money or property
- Trick someone into disclosing passwords or bank information
- Coerce the victim into signing legal documentation for the financial benefit of the perpetrator
These scams can take a devastating toll on a person, especially if they have no one to prevent or put a stop to this type of abuse.
Reducing isolation to prevent abuse
Companionship can be critical in protecting someone from abuse as they get older. Not only can frequent calls, video chats or in-person visits improve the individual’s well-being, but it can also allow a loved one to check in on them and assess their physical condition and living situation.
If something seems suspicious, like missing property or substandard care, concerned parties can file a complaint or seek legal remedies to protect a vulnerable person, like guardianship.
Isolation can make any person more susceptible to abuse and neglect. Thus, it can be crucial to check in on elderly loved ones as often as you can. Doing so could help protect them and their financial security.