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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN  / Session Lesson /  Editorial List

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 Session Lesson

This week marks the tenth anniversary of my annual pilgrimage to the National Council on Aging/American Society on Aging annual conference. This is always a great time to catch up with many of the nationís eldercare thought leaders as well as find out what is new with regards to information and advice for family caregivers. One very interesting session that I attended dealt with new statistics about an issue of great importance to us- preventing elder financial abuse. Our friends at MetLife Mature Market Institute, the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, and the Center for Gerontology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University have just come out with comprehensive guidelines addressing the issue. And it is no small concern since annually almost three billion dollars are lost to financial abuse of our elder loved ones.

Here are a few of their important tips to help avoid being a victim of financial abuse:

  1. Involve people you trust in making important financial decisions.
  2. Use direct deposit for Social Security and other payments to prevent mail theft.
  3. Sign all of your own checks.
  4. Keep important papers and legal documents in a safe, secure place.
  5. Never give out your social security number over the telephone.
  6. Keep your important legal documents (such as power of attorney) updated.
  7. Do not share your important passwords with anyone.
  8. You are not being rude by hanging up when a solicitor calls.
  9. You can add your name and phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry by calling 1888-382-1222.
  10. Be wary if someone asks you to change your will or add his or her name to your bank accounts or property title.
  11. Do not be afraid or embarrassed to discuss your concerns with someone you trust. The situation could become worse if you do nothing.
  12. If you receive a solicitation that sounds too good to be true Ė it probably is.

The lesson of the session: as in all things of importance to our loved ones wellbeing, you can do no better than to trust your own instincts.


Gary Barg

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