Way back in June before the heat wave struck, a study about the financial abuse of older Americans showed some pretty scary statistics. 7.3 million older Americans (1 in 5 citizens over age 65) have already been victims of financial swindling.
While we stand behind our claim that the more you take control of your money the more empowered you will be, this does not always hold true past a certain point.
This weekend, an article in the Wall Street Journal discussed a new program to get doctors of elder Americans to be able to spot those that might fall, or have already fallen, victim to fraud.
By asking questions like, “Who manages your money?” and “Do you worry about any recent financial decisions you have made?” the “Clinicians Pocket Guide“ will be able to help doctors target vulnerable patients. When patients are seen as being at risk for potential financial abuse, doctors can then report the issue to security regulators.
This type of preventative action made us wonder what we could be doing to avoid this from happening to our parents, grandparents, and other loved ones when it comes to matters of money. It might be uncomfortable to consider, but many older Americans eventually reveal signs of dementia. More than 30 million American adults are taking care of their aging family or friends over the age of 50, according the AARP. Whether your family members are in this type of situation or not, the key is to be prepared for any “what if” scenarios.
A lot can be done by asking questions similar to those in the “Clinicians Pocket Guide,” but with even more details and juice because, hey, you’re family. It’s important to ask questions early, be prepared to step in far before you might actually have to. While we know it might be difficult to begin this conversation, especially with younger parents, it’s very likely that at some point their aging will affect you. Get organized about their finances, figure out where their money is kept and what their investments look like. For more advice, check out our 6 tips to help older parents manage their money.