MetLife has released the MetLife Study of Elder Financial Abuse: Crimes of Occasion, Desperation, and Predation Against America’s Elders, and it contains some pretty eye-opening findings.
For instance, did you know that women are twice as likely as men to be victims of elder financial abuse and that most victims:
- Are in their 80’s
- Live alone
- Need some form of help with health care or home maintenance
In the vast majority of cases studied, two factors seemed to combine to make victims particularly vulnerable to every type of perpetrator, from close family members to career criminals. First, the victims valued their independence but that independence was shaky. Second, the victim’s vulnerability was obvious; their mobility was limited, they lived alone, or they had periods of obvious confusion.
So, what can you do if you have a friend or loved one that fits this profile? First and foremost, be alert and aware of signs that something is amiss. It’s also important to make sure that an elderly loved one does not become isolated. Stay in touch, visit often, and encourage that person to stay as socially active as possible.
If you suspect abuse, you can go to www.txabusehotline.org or call 1-800-252-5400.