Alzheimer’s Disease and the Risk of Financial Exploitation

Katarina Siegfeld | February 18th, 2015

seniorThe recent film “Still Alice,” starring Julianne Moore, is a tragic account of a woman in her 50’s who discovers that she has Alzheimer’s disease. Fortunately, she has several assets in her corner: a job as a Columbia University professor; a husband (played by Alec Baldwin) who is equally affluent; and a family that eventually puts aside their differences to make sure that she is cared for as well as possible.

Unfortunately, many victims of Alzheimer’s and their families aren’t so fortunate. Financial experts point out that long-term care of Alzheimer’s can carry a high price tag: $80,000 per year for an average of 10 years. Such a sum can eat up the modest savings that many Americans have for their retirement. Disability insurance can be costly to purchase to begin with and many in the U.S. citizens are not covered financially in this way as well. Finally, many who find themselves or their loved ones with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis have not planned ahead in terms of their estate and end of life health care wishes, creating a complicated scenario when the subject of treatment, care, or funding comes up.

In addition to such challenges, many families have to contend with another hardship: the financial exploitation of seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

If you believe that a loved one may have been abused and exploited financially by someone taking advantage of his or her condition, it may be time to contact a New York elder abuse lawyer from The Sanders Firm.

When should you contact an elder abuse lawyer?

Elder abuse can come in many forms, including physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, neglect or abandonment, healthcare fraud, or financial exploitation. Financial abuse can be perpetrated by a caregiver, a scam artist, or, sometimes, a family member or friend. Such an abuser might do the following:

  • Steal an older person’s identity for financial purposes
  • Steal objects, cash, or other financially valuable items belonging to a senior
  • Use checks, credit cards, or bank accounts belonging to an elder in an unscrupulous manner
  • Forge the signature of a senior
  • Involve an unsuspecting older person in a racket or scam involving a fake charity, a prize that entails payment, or various kinds of fraudulent investment opportunities

If you have an older relative receiving healthcare for Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, it is important to be vigilant for signs of such abuse, including:

  • Missing items
  • Major/unexplained cash withdrawals from accounts
  • Unpaid bills/lack of care despite adequate money allocated for such care
  • Suspicious activity, such as changes in financial documents (wills, etc.) or names added to accounts or cards.
  • Charges for items or services that your relative does not need

If you suspect financial exploitation of a loved elder, an attorney can investigate the case to ensure their rights are protected.

Advocating for our most vulnerable population

At The Sanders Firm, we believe that your vulnerable relatives deserve respect and protection from such exploitation. If you see signs of abuse, contact an elder abuse attorney at our firm to see if an investigation is in order. We can get to the bottom of any abuse that is taking place and make sure that all parties are held responsible, including caregivers and the agencies or institutions that employ them, such as home health aid organizations, hospitals, or nursing homes.

Don’t leave your older relative at the mercy of a financial predator. Contact us at 1-800-FAIR-PLAY (800-324-7752) to set up a no-cost, no-obligation meeting in which you can discuss your legal options.