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Financial Abuse Of Elderly By Family Members

One of the more common ways in which financial abuse plays out is a child of an aging parent assuming the role of a caregiver, and with easy access to his or her parents' assets, funds are gradually siphoned away for personal use.

Not surprisingly, where there are other grown children in the family, such financial abuse of an elderly parent tends to be highly destructive to all relevant relationships.

For those who cannot believe that some people are capable of committing such financial abuse of aging parents, please know that sociopathy is a real condition that exists in approximately 1 of every 25 people - that's about 4 percent of the general population.

Not all sociopaths are serial killers in the mould of Hannibal Lecter or Norman Bates. To be a sociopath simply means that a person lacks a normal sense of conscience. A sociopath will steal from you or hurt you and feel no remorse.

What makes a sociopath dangerous is his acute awareness of how to manipulate others whose decisions are governed by conscience. This is why even the greatest of Pollyannas should be ready to walk the other way when they realize they are in the crosshairs of a sociopath - while he feels no remorse in taking advantage of others, he will ruthlessly play on the conscience of decent people to get what he wants.

With regard to financial abuse of the elderly, I feel that the most important measure all of us can take to help prevent it is simply to be aware of how prevalent it is, and to have the courage to openly discuss this social issue with our family and friends to further increase general awareness.

When people know what to look out for, and when sociopaths who are tempted to steal from the elderly know that more people are aware of what financial abuse looks like, we as a society deter such behaviour.


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This is a scary thing to happen and, to my mind, a sign of the loss of values in these times we live in. It's made more difficult by the fact that it's often perpetrated by family members, and people have a hard time wrapping their heads around the fact that children or other relatives could take advantage of them. The number one thing everyone should do, regardless of their financial or family situation, is make (legal) arrangements for when they get older WHILE THEY ARE STILL RELATIVELY YOUNG AND HEALTHY. The second thing is, quite simply, being realistic about that 'loving' son or daughter who seems just a little too pushy about getting a power of attorney signed. Facing reality is hard but very necessary.

Indeed financial abuse of parents by children is a very sad thing that can happen in many families. This is the reason why some very wealthy people donate their wealth to charities instead of passing wealth on to their children (who may already have made their own wealth). It is even worse when children neglect their aging parents by leaving them in nursing homes after having inherited their estate. Hence, THE LAST WILL & TESTAMENT is best made when able and power of attorney be to the rightful spouse &/or a legal attorney. Never involve children as power of attorney. It is hard enough being old and sick and dependent on carers.