Warning Signs Elders Need to Know About Exploitive Caregivers

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As we age, the need for reliable and trustworthy caregivers becomes essential. This is especially true in our state of Florida where there are more and more elders within our population. Unfortunately, however, not all caregivers have the best intentions. Some may exploit their position to take advantage of the elders they are supposed to care for. Recognizing the warning signs of exploitive caregivers can help protect elders from harm. Let us share ten key indicators that could signal a caregiver is being exploitative so you can protect the elders you love in your family.   

  1. Excessive control over finances. Be cautious if a caregiver insists on managing your aging loved one’s finances or pressures you to grant them power of attorney. They may try to gain control over money and assets for their benefit.


  1. Isolation from family and friends. Notice if the caregiver is preventing your elder loved ones from seeing you, their family or friends, or if they are discouraging visits and phone calls. Isolation can be a tactic to exert control and prevent others from noticing exploitation.


  1. Unexplained financial transactions. Watch for unauthorized withdrawals, charges, or transfers from your elder’s bank accounts. If there is any financial activity that was not approved of, it may be a sign of exploitation.


  1. Missing personal items. Keep track of belongings. If you or your aging loved one notices valuables like jewelry, electronics, or other items missing, it could indicate the caregiver is stealing.


  1. Overly attentive behavior. Be wary of caregivers who seem excessively attentive or who try to become overly involved in your aging American’s personal life quickly. This can be a tactic to gain trust and manipulate them.


  1. Neglecting duties. Notice if the caregiver is neglecting their responsibilities, such as not providing proper care, food, or medication. Exploitive caregivers often focus on personal gain rather than the well-being of the elder.


  1. Emotional manipulation. Pay attention to feelings of guilt, fear, or dependency induced by the caregiver. Exploitive caregivers may use emotional manipulation to control and exploit their victims.


  1. Unwillingness to let others help. Be suspicious if the caregiver resists having other people involved in the care of your aging loved one or questions them. This can be an attempt to hide their exploitative actions.


  1. Changes in legal documents. Be cautious of any sudden or unexplained changes to the estate plan of your elder loved one, including the last will and testament, trust agreement, or other legal documents. The caregiver may be coercing your elder loved one into altering these documents for their benefit.


  1. Inconsistent stories. If the caregiver’s stories or explanations about financial matters, the health of your elder loved one, or their actions do not add up, it may indicate dishonesty and potential exploitation.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. If you have concerns about a caregiver’s behavior or suspect exploitation, do not hesitate to reach out to a trusted elder law attorney or local authorities. Trust your instincts and stay vigilant. If you suspect exploitation, seek help from trusted family members, friends, or legal professionals to ensure the safety and well-being of your elder loved ones. Taking action early can prevent further harm and ensure the protection of your elder loved ones. The Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys (AFELA) is the pre-eminent organization of Florida elder law attorneys providing advocacy, education and action on behalf of seniors and people with disabilities. We encourage you to contact one of our attorneys in your area using our Find a Lawyer website for assistance.