How to Keep Elderly Loved Ones Financially Safe

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If you have parents or loved ones over 70, their financial security may be at risk. We found a story and an e-book that may help you protect your elders from risking their financial well being to those with less than honorable intentions.
Learning how to prevent financial mistreatment and what to do if it’s already occurred is an empowering way to protect your elders. It’s also a subject deftly addressed in the e-book novel, “The Crown of Life Society,” by Washington Post writer William R. Henry, Jr. and A. Frank John, Jr., former president of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.

Author Richard Eisenberg describes the e-book as a vivid, compelling call to action about a pervasive topic that could be affecting your elderly loved ones. Eisenberg interviewed co-author William R. Henry, Jr. to learn more about how to protect elders’ financial security and preserve their “golden” years.

Henry says he wrote the e-book after an elderly family member experienced financial mistreatment from a caregiver. While writing about the topic for the Washington Post, he and Johns, a key resource, decided to join forces to help people understand that any family could be affected. Most of the characters in their engaging, sometimes shocking e-book are based on real people Johns encountered in his law practice or Henry read about in his research.

Their e-book provides vivid examples of how and why financial exploitation of the elderly occurs and what can be done to stop it. One reason, says Henry, is that family members are often so busy and distracted that it “occurs under the radar.” The older and more fragile an elder is, the greater the likelihood of financial mistreatment from a variety of sources.

Elders are often more trusting and easily confused by complex “plots and plans” presented to them by those more out for their own gain than helping the elders they contact.

Henry offers suggestions that families can use to help protect their elders’ financial security. Trusted loved ones can gently initiate a conversation, and then help elders review key legal documents like Advance Directives and wills to see if recent changes have been made. Adult children can also confirm and investigate if necessary whom their elderly parent has appointed to serve as Power of Attorney or Financial Power of Attorney.

It’s also important to screen caregivers and their agencies carefully, says Henry, ensuring that only bonded caregivers are hired. Adult children can watch for new, unlikely “friends” that suddenly appear in an elder’s life, and observe what access they may have to an elder’s financial accounts or documents.

The focus of the e-book, says Henry, is not just entertainment through shock value. Its purpose is to stimulate conversation to protect family elders. The e-book even provides a helpful family discussion guide at the end to do just that.

Read the full story here.

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