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Financial affairs

Training of staff on issues related to financial abuse of the elderly persons in the United States financial institutions have been introduced. The Elderly Financial Protection Network in California has worked with the California’s Banker’s Association to develop a video for training the front line personnel and their supervisors on skills needed to capture any warning signs of a possible elder abuse fraud.

Banks can also help in preventing elderly financial abuse by detecting various changes that may take place in the accounts of the elderly such as; sudden change of bank account, addition of new names to the elderly person’s bank signature card, unusual withdrawals of cash by use of ATMs, unexplained withdrawals of large amounts of money, unpaid bills even when the elderly has available funds to pay, and evidence of the elders report of financial exploitation, (Hardings, King & Kelly, 2002).

Daily Money Management (DMM) is an approach which is viewed by professionals as a promising approach to stop or prevent elderly neglect and abuse. Professionals are recognizing the many cases of violence, neglect and homicide against the elderly which are suspected to be financially motivated therefore giving DMM a bigger role in preventing financial abuse against the elderly

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persons. Removing possible cases of abuse, blocking asset access and eliminating abuse opportunities are methods which can be used by Daily Money Management to prevent cases of abuse and neglect towards elderly people.

DMM can also use the following methods to prevent perpetrators from accessing financial information of the elderly persons: they can arrange for automatic deposits so that checks don’t go the persons home, remove the elders contact information from the marketers list as permitted by law, ensure that their bills are paid and on time, and administer third parties to sign checks for them. (Sanchez, 1996). Use of legal services is another method that an elderly person can use against his perpetrators.

Results of studies conducted by Legal Aid and Defense Association show that elderly people and people with mental impairment have sought legal services help because they have been defrauded by the persons that they live with especially their family members. Removing money from victims accounts illegally, changing of property names and taking personal property of the elder without his prior knowledge are some of the reasons which have been brought before a legal firm against the perpetrators.

The legal firms provide services such as court actions, non court actions which assist the person to seek a lawyer, and also non legal actions where attorneys take action against the perpetrators through a perceived threat. Courts can also protect the elderly who are not capable of managing their assets and are at risk of financial abuse by perpetrators through provision of legal guardians and volunteers who act as their trustees in asset management. The legal guardian’s work is the full responsibility of taking care of the elderly person who is unable to manage his/her financial affairs or is totally incompetent.

A conservator is another person who provides general assistant in business and financial affairs of a person who may be competent and coherent but he/she is unable to manage his financial assets. A guardian acts as a protector of the elderly so that he/she is not prone to perpetrators and financial abusers who may find him/her as an easy target for carrying out unscrupulous deals. (Wiehe, 1998). So as to detect whether or not the elderly is being financially abused, the guardians can use screening questions towards the elderly especially if he/she does not understand the financial terms and language that is used.

These questions maybe such as: who the manager of their properties is, whether another person has authority to access his accounts, whether they have suspected any suspicious deals, if anyone has forced them to sign any kind of documents, if they live with anyone and whether their caregiver demand more than they should get, among others. These questions will help the guardian to determine whether the elder is suffering from financial abuse or not and therefore be able to take measures which will protect the person against such perpetrators. (Wiehe 1998).

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