Solutions to address financial risks related to the older adult's health or behaviors include:
Health conditions or behaviors can increase the risk of or be warning signs of financial exploitation.
If you're concerned that the older adult's health or behavior is related to financial exploitation, think about if it's unusual for the older adult. For example, has the older adult always struggled with math or been secretive about money matters? If it's new, have you noticed any other changes?
Tell the older adult what you've noticed and how it might be related to finances. For example, if the older adult:
Ask if the older adult has concerns about fraud, scams or financial exploitation. Tell the older adult that theft, scams or other financial exploitation can happen to anyone and can be committed by professional scammers, paid help, or even friends or family.
Understand that older adults might hear these concerns as questioning their judgment or abilities. Stress that the older adult hasn't done anything wrong.
Ask when the older adult last saw a health professional. Encourage the older adult to talk about health-related financial concerns with health professionals.
Ask health professionals if the older adult's health conditions could increase the risk of or be warning signs of financial exploitation. Health conditions that might be related to financial exploitation include:
Tell health professionals about any new symptoms or issues, such as the older adult being confused about financial decisions, or having trouble checking figures or tracking information. Share as much information as you can and that the older adult is comfortable with, including:
Confusion or problems with judgment or memory can be caused by stress, medications, lack of sleep, treatable health issues or serious conditions like dementia. Health professionals can figure out the cause and suggest next steps.
Ask health professionals to describe the regular tasks needed to manage the older adult's health conditions. Say if the older adult has trouble with health tasks, like taking or refilling medications, checking blood sugar or blood pressure, or going to appointments. Ask health professionals to recommend tools or strategies that could make these tasks easier for the older adult.
Ask health professionals if the older adult's health might make managing finances or avoiding financial exploitation difficult. If so, ask if the health professional can recommend resources.
Ask if the older adult would like help with financial tasks. Discuss if you can help with any tasks. Ask who else the older adult trusts and feels comfortable asking to help. Offer to contact potential helpers.
For those able to help, describe the financial task. Discuss how much time it will take, and if it's a one-time, occasional or ongoing need. Only share information needed to do each task. If the task involves sensitive information, discuss how they will keep the information secure.
If you're looking for professional help, ask if the older adult has worked with financial advisors, accountants or lawyers in the area. If not, ask if the older adult would like help finding professionals.
When looking for professional help: