Senior Caregivers: Stop Fraud Against Senior Citizens
Many Iowans are tasked with helping their parents and/or grandparents manage their finances and medical care.
Some are named official guardians or conservators, although many are informal caregivers providing regular assistance, such as picking up groceries, helping perform chores and lending financial support.
Whatever the extent of care you provide, you can become an Iowa Fraud Fighter and help protect your loved one from fraud and help prevent fraud against senior citizens.
Fraud Protection Tips to Assist Aging Parents
Due to generational differences, older Iowans are less likely to discuss their finances with others, especially if they are concerned about appearing incapable. That is what makes con artists target our elders and why it is so important to help prevent fraud against seniors.
For caregivers stepping in to provide assistance it may feel like a maze of unexpected and uncertain accounts, charges and bills. Here are our tips:
- Provide reassurance. Asking for assistance when it is needed is a responsible step in managing their finances.
- Talk to your parents and grandparents about the future. Discussing their finances and future plans before they need assistance gives you a better idea of how to help them manage their affairs when the time comes.
- Obtain all legal documents from an attorney. There are many free, online resources for legal documents, but an attorney will ensure you get the proper documents and authorization specific to your parent or grandparent’s needs. An attorney will also help you understand these documents.
- Review monthly statements together. Keep track of regular payments and check into increased or unfamiliar charges.
- Know the people caring for or advising your parents or grandparents. It’s important to know the people who influence their financial decisions, not only to understand the philosophy behind the advice, but also to recognize when new influencers come into the picture. Ensure any new caregivers or professionals assisting your loved one are properly licensed.
The Iowa Department on Aging, your local Area Agencies on Aging and the Iowa Office of Public Guardian are excellent resources to assist your loved one with the appointment of a guardian or conservator who also can help with fraud protection.
Guardians are appointed by the court to manage medical treatments, living arrangements, meals, personal care and nonfinancial matters. Conservators are appointed by the court to manage your financial affairs on your behalf.
Download our IID Fraud Fighters Workbook to learn more about advance directives, durable power of attorney, general power of attorney and living wills.
Signs of Victimization in Aging Adults
Unfortunately, not everyone is as trustworthy as they seem. It is not unheard of for scammers, caretakers, friends or even family to take advantage of symptoms of aging to commit fraud against someone who trusts them for care or financial assistance.
If you witness or experience these signs of victimization, don’t hesitate to get help:
- Sudden large withdrawals or unusual activity in bank accounts
- Unjustified selling of property
- Unpaid bills when resources should be adequate
- Abrupt changes in will or other financial documents
- Isolation from friends and family
- Unkempt appearance, sudden weight loss or bed sores