There are certain victim risk factors such as advanced age, female gender, cognitive or physical impairments, and language and communication issues, that all lend themselves to leaving someone open for financial exploitation. This doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone who has these factors is going to be a victim, it does however mean that these are things that make it more likely.
In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson, Southern Illinois Elder Law attorney, continues with the video series on the Financial Exploitation of Elders and begins a two-part series that discusses victim risk factors that could make someone vulnerable for elder financial abuse.
Victim Risk Factors For Elder Financial Abuse – Part 1
Hi, I’m Wes Coulson and this is your Elder Law Minute. This is one of our series of videos on the subject of Financial Exploitation of Elders with a focus on what we can do to help to identify it and prevent it. Today we are going to talk about things that are risk factors for someone being a victim. That doesn’t mean that everyone who has these factors is going to be a victim, it just means that these are things that make that somewhat more likely.
The first is advanced age, and that is probably apparent. The older we are, the more we become dependent on other people to help us with various things. Well, dependency in the wrong hands is a sign of weakness and people exploit the signs of weakness.
Another factor is female gender. And I don’t think that that should be taken as any suggestion that women are weaker. In a lot of cases, generationally, it just means that they’ve had less experience during their life in dealing with financial things. A lack of familiarity with something makes you more likely to be taken advantage of.
A third factor here are cognitive or physical impairments. The cognitive, I think, should be pretty obvious. If we have trouble, if we’re at a point where our thought processes are impaired or slowed or we have a loss of memory, those are all things that people can take advantage of. Physical impairments are similar. If we need people to help us with stuff, even it it’s getting around and doing things, “Well, you know if I’m going to help you that puts me in the position of unfortunately being able to take advantage of you.”
And a fourth one that we’ll talk about today are language and communication issues. People who don’t speak english, or have only limited english language skills, are easier to take advantage of because that language barrier is sometimes difficult to overcome. And people who have communication issues, who may have trouble hearing, who may have trouble saying what they intend to say, those miscommunications provide an opportunity for an exploiter to fill in the blanks in ways that are good for them but bad for the elder.
So, again things to look for and we’ll talk about some more in the next video. Thanks.
For more information on helping elders, visit these articles:
- Financial Exploitation of Elders: The Two Basic Types
- My Life is a Struggle, But I Don’t Want Help: Senior Resistance to Change and Care
- When Will Guardianship Be Necessary?
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