Most people know about Alzheimer’s disease, but the truth is that dementia has many forms and stages. Throughout the process, it’s not uncommon for those suffering from dementia to fall victim to financial scams and schemes.
Thieves are wily and slick in their methods, and often can even fool spouses and partners who are only trying to do what they feel is best for their loved ones. Luckily, there are ways to spot and prevent such fraud.
Here’s how you can keep your finances protected in the wake of dementia:
Assess the Situation and Make a Plan of Action
If your loved one is exhibiting signs of dementia, the first step toward protecting their finances is to understand the overall financial situation. This research should include necessary expenditures, charitable gifts and donations, financial gifts and earmarked funds for family and loved ones, and more.
Though some might have expendable income, many active seniors are on a fixed budget. In this case, being scammed out of funds would not only be financially devastating, but it would take a negative toll on other aspects of daily life.
There are times when you’ll be unable or unwilling to explore these facts and make financial decisions for your loved one. That’s why we have trusted and qualified professionals who can act as a court-appointed guardian. This ensures continually sound decisions regarding your loved one’s finances.
Compile Documents and Financial Data
It’s important to have detailed information regarding all financial activity in which your loved one is involved. More than mere figures, this should also include names, contact information, and other important data related to all banking, financial, and legal institutions with which your loved one has a working relationship.
Depending on the progress of dementia and your own ability/desire to do so, you may wish to add your name banking and financial accounts, and request access to monthly statements. This will allow you to monitor potentially fraudulent debits and withdrawals. It will also provide insight into irregular spending activity, payments to individuals with whom you’re unfamiliar, purchases of gift cards or big-ticket items, and more.
When possible, set up automatic bill payment (sometimes referred to as ACH) and direct deposit. This provides a level of security that’s nearly impossible for hackers to access.
Reach Out for Support
COA’s Guardianship Department manages the financial affairs and other essential services as appointed by the courts, but can also help with your loved one on a private basis. Call 386.253.4700 x 225 for more information.