Oftentimes older adults require the services of a professional caregiver to assist them to live independently. In households where the elderly person lives in the home of their children or another family member, the assistance of a caregiver can be essential – but also result in a loss of privacy. When the older person becomes dependent on the caregiver, they may also become vulnerable to being taken advantage of. Caregivers and elder abuse is something older adults and their families need to be aware of, in particular financial abuse by caregivers.
If a caregiver is pressuring their charge or their family to include them in the will, AARP offers advice on how to prevent caregiver fraud and abuse.
AARP has expert tips on hiring home care wisely and protecting loved ones from financial abuse and other forms of elder abuse by caregivers:
1. Hire caregivers only through a bonded and insured home-care agency.
2. Create an inventory of all the valuables in the house and secure all cash, credit cards and valuables.
3. Check in regularly with the caregiver and the care recipient to monitor the quality of service and see how the relationship is developing.
4. Use technology to monitor the situation including doorbell video cameras, and install video cameras in common areas like the kitchen or living room, making sure to respect private areas and obey all state laws.
5. Smart technology also provides protection against financial elder abuse, such as bank account alerts, hidden cameras in the home or long-term care facility.
6. Be alert to changes to wills, trusts or powers of attorney.
7. Advise the older person’s attorney of any suspected financial abuse, especially if a caregiver is exerting pressure to revise estate planning documents.
Chicago elder law and estate planning lawyer Mario Godoy advises,
If you believe an older family member is vulnerable to financial fraud or other forms of scams and elder abuse crimes, it’s important to monitor their financial records. An estate planning and guardianship attorney who understands Illinois and Cook County elder abuse laws, how to implement an adult guardianship and Illinois elder protection services can provide you with your legal options to protect an elderly loved one.”
An experienced Illinois estate planning and elder law attorney can explain applicable laws and advise you on the best options to protect the interests of vulnerable senior citizens. Contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at 630-864-5835.
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