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by Trina Walton for the Beacon
Financial crime against older Americans is a growing problem. Victims of fraud who are 80 and older lose an average of $39,200 every year.
People living with dementia are at an especially high risk of becoming victims. As their memory and other thinking skills decline, people with dementia may struggle to make financial decisions.
They may not remember or report the abuse — or understand that someone is taking advantage of them. This abuse can occur anywhere, including at home or in care settings.
Studies show that financial exploitation is the most common form of elder abuse. However, only a small fraction of these incidents is reported.
You can help protect others by learning to recognize common signs of financial exploitation and abuse, including:
There are many simple things that caregivers can do to reduce the risk of financial abuse for people with dementia and similar conditions, like Alzheimer’s. (Do your best to make sure they’re involved in deciding which safety measures to put into place.)
Some options include:
To learn more about combating elder abuse, visit Social Security’s blog at blog.ssa.gov/world-elder-abuse-awareness-day-combating-injustice.
Trina Walton is the Social Security district manager in Glen Burnie, Maryland.