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Talking with senior citizens about money concerns

There are scams everywhere, not just from self-appointed Nigerian princes with an email account. While the Nigerian Email Scam is well known, predators take advantage of the vulnerable through phone calls, mailings, emails, and in person. Approximately 10 percent of people over 65 are victims of elder abuse, and financial abuse is a leading issue. It’s a crime that has serious consequences on the physical and mental health of senior citizens in addition to their financial well-being.

The best defense against such scams is to plan ahead. By establishing financial trust with your family members, you can create as a line of defense before scammers get too close to aging and vulnerable loved ones. Like most of life’s important decisions, it begins with a heart-to-heart between family members.

Balancing talk and trust

Talking about financial matters can be uncomfortable, especially if it suggests decreased independence for an aging loved one. Nobody wants to have their capabilities questioned and the wrong tone can put people on the defensive. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has accumulated a list of seven tips to broach the subject without damaging trust.

FINRA’s tips:

  • Show your love.
  • Choose your words carefully.
  • Talk about yourself.
  • Offer to help.
  • Ask the right questions.
  • Beware of scams.
  • Consider professional guidance.

Breaking barriers and reversing roles

Conversations about money are just like any other meaningful talk. To have a conversation, both sides must have input. To build trust and tone, the concerned family members should include their own strategies, such as plans for emergencies, establishing a power of attorney, health care directives and insurance policies.

The challenge in discussing finances and decision-making with our elder family members is the role reversal and the interjection into personal affairs. For many, these are independent decisions that haven’t been discussed with the younger generation in the past. However, by breaking the barrier ahead of time, potentially vulnerable loved ones will be ready to talk when there’s threat of a scam.

Senior citizens are often victims of fraud. By establishing a trusting relationship with honest, feedback-focused discussions, you can help protect your loved ones from abuse. If you suspect your loved ones are being victimized, an attorney can help you identify warning signs, stop the abuse and to attempt to recover losses.