Seniors are often the target of financial abuse due to their perceived vulnerability. This abuse can occur at the hands of the of a relative, friend, caregiver, or nursing home staff member. Because most seniors live on a fixed income, financial abuse is a serious issue that can cause major devastation.

It is often up to the loved ones of seniors to identify financial abuse and prevent it from occurring. Here are a few steps you can take to stop others from taking advantage of a person that is near and dear to your heart.

Stay in close contact with your elderly relative

Seniors with fewer social connections have a greater risk of being a victim of financial abuse. When you stay in contact with your loved one, either via visits, calls, or text, you have more information about their lives. That way you can learn of potential issue early on, before they get out of control. You will also be able to get to know other people in your loved one’s life, like caregivers, to gauge whether there are potential issues.

Monitor financial activity on your relative’s financial accounts

You do not have to be in charge of your loved one’s finances to be supportive. This is often the case with older adults who are experiencing dementia or Alzheimer’s, who can stipulate a power of attorney to see to financial matters. You can also monitor your loved one’s accounts to make sure there is no suspicious activity. For instance, you can monitor financial transactions and talk with your loved one if you notice a large sum of money has been taken out.

Help your relative make smart financial decisions

The time to make decisions about power of attorney are when your relative is of sound mind. If you wait too long and the person is no longer able make decisions on their own, the decision will ultimately be up to the court. Sit your loved one down and discuss the subject with them, and let them make the decision on their own so they feel the most comfortable.