Victimizing the elderly has become a growing trend. Criminals may assume that seniors aren’t knowledgeable, are too trusting, or don’t have the mental capacity to recognize and report abuse. Many incidents do go unreported. Thankfully, there are ways that younger generations can use the law to safeguard elderly parents.
Scams and Fraud
Scams and fraudulent charges can come from grifters, emails, phone calls, unscrupulous contractors, salespeople, and virtually anyone who thinks they can “put one over” on the elderly and take their money. These losses can be devastating to those on a fixed income. Many states have enacted laws increasing criminal penalties, or establishing special investigative units, for crimes against senior citizens.
Slipping and falling can be tough on anyone, but it can be especially harmful and, even, life-threatening for an older person. When this type of situation happens, you should make sure that they receive good medical help and go through any necessary aftercare—such as physical therapy and going to the chiropractor. However, you might want to consider getting legal help as well and enlist the help of a lawyer, such as one from Clearfield & Kofsky, to help you know whether or not your parent can get any type of compensation due to their incident.
The Nursing Home Reform Act was established in 1987 to protect seniors against abuse from nursing home employees, or healthcare workers who care for the elderly in their own homes. Among other things, seniors may not be subjected to needless restraints, and have the right to personal possessions, visitors, privacy, sleep, meals, and self-administered medications. It’s important to be familiar with these rights. In the event they’re violated, or physical abuse or punishment takes place, call the police and seek legal justice.
Fraudulent Financial Advice
The financial advisors that seniors turn to for protecting or growing their assets can be just as ruthless as scammers. Some even dub themselves “Senior Living Experts” or some similar title to get trusting elderly clients. The advisor may talk them into making high-risk investments at inflated fees or even phony financial products. Most states now have specific laws protecting seniors from such transactions. It’s important to research any financial advisor before handing over funds.
Over time, some seniors can become subject to Alzheimer’s or dementia and become incapable of making decisions. At the first signs of such disorders, children should make sure that they have the documents in place to protect their parents’ standard of living. These may include power of attorney to pay the parents’ bills, living wills or power of attorney to make health care decisions, or a financial trust under the control of a reliable trustee, such as an attorney or bank.
The best way to protect elderly parents is to maintain a close relationship and inquire about ongoing health and financial issues. Understand the laws and public resources in place for their state of residence, and contact the proper authorities immediately if any legal rights are violated.
Author Info: Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake. You can find her on Twitter.