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Reducing financial scams risks for dementia patients

Blog Post
2 min read
an elder patient being comforted by a loved one

Dementia affects memory and decision-making abilities for those it afflicts, making financial management a challenge. Often, patients don’t recall, report, or even realize the occurrence of abuse, which can happen at home or in care facilities. The most prevalent form of this abuse is financial exploitation, yet it’s seldom reported.

In fact, statistics show that individuals aged 80 and above lose an average of $39,200 annually due to fraud. If you have a loved one battling dementia, one of the best defenses against financial abuse is recognizing the signs. Here’s what you should look for:

  • Neglected bills.
  • Unusual or significant purchases.
  • Utility disconnections due to non-payment.
  • Donations to telemarketers or solicitors.
  • Unjustified bank withdrawals.

Caregivers can adopt several strategies to safeguard dementia patients from financial abuse and scams. Some of these protective measures include:

  • Setting credit card spending limits.
  • Registering on DoNotCall.gov to block telemarketing calls.
  • Enrolling in automatic bill payments.
  • Setting up alerts for banking withdrawals, large credit card transactions, or any other unusual banking activities.
  • Monitoring bank statements for unusual spending patterns.
  • Requesting credit card companies to halt sending promotional checks and opting out of marketing offers.
  • Establishing a separate account with limited funds for the patient's leisure and social expenses.
  • Regular financial reviews by family members or financial professionals to detect any irregularities early.

Elder fraud is a serious issue that can have devastating consequences, both financially and emotionally. As a caregiver, knowing how to spot the signs of elder abuse and taking preventative measures can help protect your loved one from the threat of financial fraud.

If your elder family member has fallen victim to fraud, reassure them that they are not alone. Encourage them to report the incident to the authorities, their financial institution, and the Federal Trade Commission