June is Elder Abuse Awareness month….Whoa, don’t stop reading yet!

Yes, I too tend to quickly jump away from an article that starts out with something like “abuse” or “awareness”.  Most of us don’t want to spend our lives, our time, thinking about something that has negative tone or painful outcomes.  I see first-hand,  on a regular basis how many of us would prefer to instead “avert thine eyes” and just hope for the best. 

 

….Not this time.  Whether or not you consider yourself an “elder”, this is one topic that can still deeply impact the future financial security of you and your family by way of your grandparents, and your parents if not your own self. 

Years ago a client of mine had a father that fell victim to two separate scams, totaling a loss of around $600,000 (which was the bulk of his savings). She found out about it the hard way because even after loosing the bulk of his savings, he was still too embarrassed to mention that it had even happened.  This loss not only affected HIS financial future but ultimately impacted her own as she then moved into the position of needing to legally, emotionally and financially support him. 

 

If I can save you (and your loved ones) from one thing, I’d like it to be from that. 

 

Elder abuse has been on the rise in recent years in part attributable to both the aging of our baby boomers and some of the ease brought on by the ever expanding technology age. 

 

So,  what is elder financial abuse anyway?  As stated by Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), it’s broken into two categories: 

  1. Exploitation: which is usually involving someone the senior actually knows, like a family member, friend or caregiver.
  2. Fraud:  which is usually perpetrated by a stranger, like a someone claiming to be an investment service provider, charity or telemarketer.

Often, when we think of elder financial abuse, it’s the stranger that comes to mind but as many of us saw in the very public and controversial story of Brooke Astor, (Philanthropist and writer in New York City) friends and family can be the perpetrators as well. 

 

~ Vulnerability increases with age. ~

 

So, what can you do about it? 

 

Well intended family and friends can actually play a huge role in spotting red flags,

stopping potential abuse and reporting abusers.

 

I can’t say it any better than the DORA website:  “The key to protecting yourself and your loved ones from financial abuse and exploitation is information and protective action. Learning about the risk factors and red flags of potential exploitation and fraud early on can help you protect yourself or a loved one from becoming a victim. Experts in elder fraud prevention believe that simple preventative steps can significantly increase financial safety and decrease the chances of becoming a target of exploitation or fraud.”

 

So, click below for a link to their page for help learning more about identifying red flags, possible scams, and prevention steps: 

 

https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/take5dora/seniorafe

 

 

And click here to verify the state license of someone you or a loved one are thinking about working with, (or to file a complaint). 

 

https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/take5dora/do-your-homework-you-buy

 

While this isn’t the sexiest topic that you’ll read all month, it may be the most important so please, take a few moments to familiarize yourself with these resources and as always, let me know if you have any questions! 

 

~Wendi

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