Don’t just help your grandma cross the street – protect her purse

Your grandma may have been your role model as a child. Maybe you loved having her read books to you. Perhaps everything you know about baking is due to the hours she spent teaching (and cleaning up after) you in the kitchen. Whatever your connection was when you were little, it can be really hard to change roles as your grammy gets older. But while changes may feel uncomfortable, protecting her and her finances may be inevitable.

Whether your grandma is failing physically or suffers from dementia, you might consider having her move into an assisted living situation. Although you may be wary of physical or emotional maltreatment, have you considered that your grandma’s finances might be at risk?

Seniors suffer from millions of dollars lost

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), adults between the ages of 50 and 59 reported a loss of $117 million due to fraud in 2017. Those between 60 and 69 filed over 107,000 reports, amounting in another $80 million scammed.

Be aware of suspicious activity

Many grifters enter a senior’s life as a friend and work their way into unsuspecting pocketbooks over time. Others find ways to sell unnecessary things to older adults or prey on kindheartedness when asking for donations to alleged charities.

Depending on your grandma’s circumstances, there may be some things you can do to help ward off problems related to fraud. These may include:

  • Power of attorney – This could be difficult to talk about, especially if dementia is involved. However, encouraging your loved one to put financial safeguards in place might be worth risking an uncomfortable conversation.
  • Free seminars – Many times companies offer a free meal or seminar in effort to provide a high-pressured sales pitch. Sometimes the offers are legitimate. But you may be wise to volunteer as grandma’s “plus one.” Spending time with her may be as valuable as providing a watchful eye.
  • Managing money – In some cases, you might be able to have a banker keep an eye on grammy’s accounts. The bank may not be able to give you specifics of your grandma’s financial account, but they could potentially be on the lookout for atypical withdrawals or transactions.

Your grandma may not be in a position where she needs someone to look after her or manage her finances yet. However, at some point she will likely need help. Being aware of her habits and remaining alert to her needs can help you protect her and her assets.

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