Jan 31, 2015

9 Ways Alzheimer's Patients Can Avoid Financial Ruin and Abuse

Did you know current statistics indicate that 15% of people living with dementia have been victims of fraud, financial scams, telephone and mail scams?

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Holding Hands | Alzheimer's Reading Room

Sadly, the number of cases of persons living with Alzheimer's and related dementia being victims of financial scams, poor financial judgement, financial ruin and abuse are growing.

Have you taken the necessary steps to avoid this? If your loved one living with dementia lives alone then both of you (patient, family) are extremely vulnerable and at great risk.

You should really make sure they can't be called by scammers. Don't you hate those unsolicited phone calls? Did it ever occur to you that persons living with dementia might like them, like someone to talk to?

Watch out for new people in their lives like maids or so called "handy men".

You should be thinking this way. The best criminals and scammers are smart; and, they can spot a new victim from a mile away.

How about the guy that started attending Alzheimer's support groups; and then, started scamming the older women he met. Think about that one.

Check out the list below. Feel free to add your insight and advice in the comments section below. We can benefit from new and useful information.

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Have you done all of the following?
  1. Are you monitoring your loved one's credit cards online for suspicious activity?
  2. Are you monitoring their bank accounts online for things like excesses gifts to charities, or repeated payments or over payments to vendor's?
  3. Have you talked to their bank manager, and executed the necessary documents so you can step in on their behalf if a problem occurs.
  4. Have you taken the necessary steps to limit unsolicited phones call and junk mail? Did it ever occur to you that a person living alone with dementia might give out their social security number or other pertinent information to a "scam artist"? No? It happens every day to someone.
  5. Are you monitoring bills? Late payment fees can add up fast; and, failure to pay can end up in a messy legal proceeding (this happen to us). How about the woman that was evicted from her apartment for lack of payment even though everyone agreed she was suffering from dementia?
  6. Is you loved one being talked into services on their house or home that they don't need. One of our readers mother's paid $1,000 to a scam artist to clean the vents in her air conditioner. The problem? She paid him once a month for three months in a row for the dame service - a total of $3,000. The money was never recovered.
  7. This one is rarely considered. Be aware of new friends. A man who lives near me was scammed out of more than $2,000 in cash by his new maid. He is now living in a memory care facility. He wasn't when he was scammed.
  8. Is your loved one starting to hoard cash in their home? Think about it.
  9. Last but not least. Do you have a power of attorney? A good one? If not, you might find out you can't do a thing to help because you don't have any legal standing. Think - privacy. There are laws to protect individuals and they might lock you out in spite of good common sense.

Consider this - 800,000 People in the U.S. with Alzheimer's Disease Live Alone. Are you related to one of them?

4 of the Biggest Scams to Lookout For

  1. The Home Repair Scam
  2. The Magazine Subscription Swindle
  3. The Uncollected Debt Scam
  4. The Phony Back Inspector Scam

The checkbook can also be a real problem so I combined two excellent articles frpm Pamela Kelly and Max Wallack on how to deal with this problem. I suggest you take the time to read them. They could help you solve a current or future problem with money and the check book.

Alzheimer's, Money, and the Checkbook

I just read this great article in the New York Times. Take a look.

In Alzheimer’s Cases, Financial Ruin and Abuse Are Always Lurking

5 Supporting Articles

  1. Protecting People with Dementia from Financial Abuse
  2. Alzheimer's Caregiving Legal and Financial Issues
  3. Abuse
  4. Financial Fraud: The Top 4 Scams Against The Elderly
  5. Planning for Important End of Life Health Care Decisions

Bob DeMarco  is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room (ARR). Bob is a recognized expert, writer, speaker, and influencer in the Alzheimer's and Dementia Community worldwide.
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