The opportunity to be a caregiver for a senior is a high calling. It involves meeting a variety of needs- physical assistance, emotional support, mental encouragement and spiritual help. As we age our need for assistance in all of these areas increase dramatically.
Another facet of care that many seniors need assistance with is protection and safeguarding of their finances. The elderly are a prime target for scams, con artists and thieves to take financial advantage. It is important that their family and caregivers provide a protective wall between these evil doers and the elderly. There are many things caregivers can do to help keep them safe.
First, it is important to communicate regularly with the senior about their finances, and if allowed to do so as a family member, check their accounts to make sure that there are not any unusual withdrawals. Ask the senior to talk to you about their finances, and make yourself available to discuss any concerns they might have regarding their money.
Second, be aware that many of the instances of financial abuse of seniors is perpetrated by a family member or close friend. Asking for a "loan", sharing personal financial crises to gain sympathy, or even blatantly taking monies or property from the senior take place on regular basis. Other family and friends need to watch for these horrible cases of "financial friendly fire", and be prepared to address those issues with the senior or with other family members.
Third, watch out for scammers who worm their way into the life of the senior via the telephone or print materials. Promises of financial benefits through sketchy investments regularly assault their space through telemarketers and bulk mail. Be on the lookout for these, and respond quickly if you feel they are being taken advantage of.
Finally, have an open and honest conversation with the senior about the possibility of scams or people trying to take advantage of the senior. They need to understand how broad and rampant the problem is across the country, and look out for those who might take advantage of them. One easy way to do that is to pick up a copy of the resource "Protecting Your Nest Egg: Fraud Protection for Senior Citizens from Con Artists, Thieves & Scams" and go through it together. It is full of descriptions of common scams, and even a "self test" to see just how likely it is the senior might fall prey to a scam.
We love the seniors we care for in our lives. Stand in the gap and protect their hard earned money, investments and property!
Visiting Angels of Tulsa
Visiting Angels of Bartlesville
Visiting Angels of SWOKC
Page Cole is a leader in home care in Oklahoma. He has published the following resources for Seniors-