The tragic cost of financial abuse

The average loss to elder financial abuse victims was $36,000, which was considered a "major financial loss" or "financial ruin" by nearly half of active or soon to be caregiver respondents.

Impact of elder financial abuse worsens

According to the 2016 Safeguarding Our Seniors Study, the incidence and impact of elder financial abuse may be worse than previously reported in 2014. In 2016, the study surveyed active elder caregivers and soon-to-be caregivers and found that 40% confirmed their elder experienced financial abuse more than once (an increase from 20% of family and friends who reported elder financial abuse in 2014). Additionally, caregivers reported the monetary losses of abuse increased by 20% since 2014, to an average loss of $36,000. The 2016 study also shares insight on the emotional impact financial abuse has on elders and their caregivers, the increased impact it has on those with mental decline, and the steps that can be taken to prevent elder financial abuse.

Study highlights:

  • 37% of active caregivers said they care for someone who has experienced financial abuse with a loss. When potential caregivers are added, 40% confirm that their elder has experienced financial abuse more than once
  • The average financial loss to victims was $36,000
  • Nearly 90% of all active and potential caregivers revealed that it cost them an average of $36,000 to compensate for their elder’s loss
  • 45% of caregivers reported their elder shows signs of dementia or mental decline which resulted in greater incidents of financial abuse (34% versus 24% with no mental decline) and more monetary loss ($41,000 versus $32,000 with no mental decline)
  • Half of all caregivers reported the abuse caused the elder to be isolated – with a 15% increase in isolation for elders with mental decline
  • Caregivers reported their elder experienced anger (36%), depression (34%), anxiety (28%), and guilt (25%) due to financial abuse

Study methodology: The 2016 Safeguarding Our Seniors Study was conducted in August 2016 with 1,000 panel respondents age 18-64 who are either actively providing care for a nonspousal elder age 65+, or could be in a position to provide such care within the next five years.

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