In the past few weeks, I’ve been involved with three older adults who have been the victim of fraud and exploitation and it’s both fueling my commitment to serving older adults and whittling away my belief in humanity.
It’s been distressing and discouraging on many levels.
Every year, the National Council on Aging predicts that $17 Billion is taken by businesses, individuals, and charities that use pressure tactics or misleading language to lead seniors into financial mistakes.
CAREGIVER EXPLOITATION: The first older adult lives in an assisted living community. She is unable to manage her affairs now and I pay the bills on her behalf. She’s been declining and a new caregiver coached her through writing a check for $100. When I discovered it, I immediately reported it to the community and it resulted in the loss of her job.
I’ve been working with this client for more than two years and know that it would have taken at least ten minutes for her to write that check. She would have been unable to complete it without step-by-step coaching. We reported it to the police and hope they will be able to charge her for this crime. What I learned during this process is that she has been working in senior-living communities for almost a decade. YIKES!
Did she start small to see if anyone noticed the check? Had we not found it, would she have returned for more money every week?
I’m not sure we will ever truly know. What I do know is that she most likely made my client very uncomfortable and that makes me angry and sad.
I decided that what I could do was to let the owners of the local home care agencies know her name and what she did. Gotta admit that I made A LOT of phone calls. However, I hope that it can help avoid this happening to someone else. None of these agencies would want her on their payroll. I’m sorry that it’s not easier to prosecute those that pray on older adults.
This is just a reminder that being watchful and protective can make a huge difference for those you love. Fueled.