It is common knowledge that the elderly are most at risk for financial scams and abuse. Families often forget, however, that sometimes the biggest financial threat to elders is actually their own decreasing financial acuity and competency. In addition to the aging factor, many elderly persons (although certainly not all, or even the majority of elders) do not have a great deal of financial literacy to begin with, when considering the increasing complexity of today’s investment and financial systems.
Last week, Anne Tergesen of MarketWatch.com commented on a recent story by the Wall Street Journal, and provided a few tips for families who are worried about elders who may be at risk for financial abuse or simply at risk for falling behind in keeping track of their financial health.
In Tergesen’s article, she acknowledges the basic fact (that most families are already aware of) that elders often have trouble keeping track of their financials due to the natural aging process, but she also introduces a new program that is aimed at seeking out cognitive changes in elders early on, to prevent financial issues in the future.
Click the image below to read Tergesen’s article on MarketWatch.com:
This program (which is sponsored by the Investor Protection Trust) is called the Elder Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation Program (EIFFE). The program is a partnership between the Trust, the American Bar Association’s Commission on Law and Aging, and more than three thousand specially trained physicians around the country. The Trust is providing these professionals (attorneys and doctors) with resources to help elders and their families detect and prevent abuse, fraud, and general financial trouble within the elderly population.
The program provides these professionals with steps to take to detect cognitive impairment (such as questions to ask and behavioral signs to be aware of), and resources to be able to refer their clients and patients to family members, state and local agencies, geriatric care managers, and other professionals to prevent financial missteps and abuse.
These programs are currently being implemented in selected states, but the Trust is aiming at making these resources available to professionals nationwide in the very near future. Professionals such as doctors and attorneys are well placed to be able to detect possible cognitive issues and help elders and families to prevent possible problems for the future, and these new resources will likely prove to help more elderly persons get help sooner and avoid irreparable financial abuse and neglect.