Protect your elders from financial abuse

Some alarming revelations were released by PadillaCRT client Allianz Life earlier this week—and chief among them, the fact that the incidence and financial impact of elder financial abuse may be worse than previously thought.

Allianz Life’s 2016 Safeguarding Our Seniors Study found that about 20 percent of family and friends reported knowing an elder who experienced financial abuse. Moreover, more than one-third of active caregivers (37 percent) said the elder they care for has experienced financial abuse or exploitation with a loss. Respondents also revealed that elder financial abuse is not an isolated occurrence, with a full 40 percent of all active and potential caregivers confirming that their elder has experienced financial abuse more than once.

Allianz Life’s survey noted the average financial loss to victims was $36,000, with nearly half of respondents saying the effect on the elder victim to be “major loss” or “financial ruin”—that’s serious and very real damage.

Equally troubling, nearly 90% of active and potential caregivers said they also experienced a financial impact from the abuse, with the average cost to them also reaching $36,000 – a direct result of having to compensate for their elder’s loss.

Here’s what Allianz’s President and CEO had to say about the findings, “It’s clear that elder financial abuse is becoming more commonplace, and unfortunately, it also appears to be greater than we thought in both scope and impact. We’ve also learned that the damaging effects of abuse extend well beyond the seniors themselves to their caregivers. We believe the financial services industry, government, and the general public need to join forces to bring greater awareness to this issue and help reverse this troubling trend.”

So what can we as consumers, children and grandchildren do to protect those elders important to us? Allianz has developed some tips for prevention and red flags to watch for, check out the Preventing Elder Financial Abuse Tip Sheet from the Better Business Bureau, available at www.allianzlife.com/sos.

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