I get people all the time who come in because a family member is being exploited and they want to look at putting them into one of our communities. Unfortunately, in most cases by the time they get here the elder has already fallen victim to some form of financial exploitation.
People too often ASSUME it is more financially feasible to hire someone to come into the home but the reality is it is far more expensive and it leaves a person vunerable to exploitation.
We’ve all heard cases where an older man is victimized by a much younger lady to the dismay of the family. She comes into his life usually after the death of a spouse, says all the right things and quickly gains access to his bank accounts, etc. There are people who do this for a living and unfortunately are very good at it.
At Argent Court, we are small enough to be able to monitor these types of things. If we see something we feel is not appropriate, we will contact the family and discuss it.
I recently saw a documentary starring Andy Rooney entitled, “Last Will and Embezzlement.” I would encourage all people to view it. One thing they point out in the film as a way to avoid having your loved ones fall victim to financial exploitation is to stay connected. I would suggest if you cannot stay connected yourself, have someone you trust check in on your elders often and make certain you know who they are communicating with. Make certain you have a good line of communication about money. It is sometimes a good idea to have a family member as another signer on the bank account so they can have access and monitor it regularly.
It is also a good idea in some cases to intercept a person’s mail. We’ve had several residents over the years fall victim to mail scams and also get caught up in donating money to questionable charities. This is yet another reason to stay connected.
The prevailing theme in preventing exploitation is staying connected with your elders. Know their routines, know their friends and have some idea about their finances. Exploitation can be prevented.