It’s incredibly difficult to watch an older family member slip into a mental decline, especially in situations where he or she is suffering from dementia or other type of memory loss. It can be devastating to watch your grandmother forget your name, or your father forget his own personal information.
To add to the burden, forgetfulness and memory loss can have financial implications as well, as fraudsters and financial abusers are easily able to take advantage of an older person’s memory loss to gain access to finances and possessions. An older person suffering from dementia may forget who has control over his or her finances or may have trouble remembering something simple like a checking account balance or where money is hidden — all of which can lead to abuse and fraud.
One of the most common forms of memory loss in an older person presents as dementia, a term that covers “a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities,” according to the Alzheimer’s Association. There are many kinds of dementia and symptoms can vary depending on which brain cells and what part of the brain has been damaged.
The symptoms of dementia include many cognitive and psychological changes and could manifest in a variety of ways, including:
- Trouble remembering or recalling activities, names, faces, backgrounds, etc.
- Disorientation, even in familiar places
- Difficulty with coordination and motor functions
- Lack of proper hygiene and personal care
- Inability to plan ahead or organize
It’s important to catch any possible symptoms of dementia as soon as possible so that you can get your older family member the care he or she needs. People with dementia typically cannot be left alone for long stretches of time and cannot be depended on to take care of their own basic needs, thus making them dependent on someone else for their care.
Because of this dependency, it is unfortunately easier for these older people to become victims of financial abuse and fraud. According to recent reports, international studies have shown that older people who suffer from dementia are 34 percent to 62 percent more likely to be victims of elder abuse. Caretakers, even among your family, may be able to take advantage of an older person’s memory loss and convince him or her to provide them with checks, money or property rights. Additionally, older people who suffer from dementia may not remember specific instances of handing over money or signing documents, allowing the abuser to get away with fraudulent schemes.
At the Evans Law Firm, we represent anyone who has been victimized by financial fraud or abuse, especially older Californians who suffer from mental disabilities and diseases such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. For more information regarding financial abuse and California’s options for recovering lost or stolen funds and property, contact one of our California financial elder abuse attorneys at the Evans Law Firm today. You can reach us by phone at 415-441-8669 or online at www.evanslaw.com.