Elder Abuse

Healthy, engaged, and independent adults are less likely to be victims of fraud, but it can happen to anyone, at any income level.

Vulnerable and dependent adults are often targeted and are defined as: 

  • 60 years of age or older who have the functional, mental, or physical inability to care for themselves.
  • 18 years of age or older who are: 
    • Found incapacitated (RCW 11.88 – Guardianship) 
    • Developmentally disabled (RCW 71A.10.020(3)) 
    • Admitted to any facility o Receiving services from home health, hospice, or home care agencies licensed or required to be licensed (RCW 70.127) 
    • Receiving services from an individual provider

Truly shocking is that The National Council on Aging reports 90 percent of elder abuse is committed by family members. In addition to the financial impact—which, nationwide, AARP reports at over $3 billion a year—elder abuse can be a huge blow to emotional well-being.

There are numerous red flags to detect elder financial exploitation that can be found in our Elder and Vulnerable Adult Financial Abuse procedure.

Here are just a few: 

  • Signatures do not resemble the member’s signatures; checks or documents were signed when the member could not write a signature because of illness or impairment. 
  • Allegations of “missing funds” from a vulnerable adult’s account. 
  • Significant change in patterns of withdrawals, frequency or amount. 
  • Large withdrawals with checks made payable to another person. 
  • A vulnerable adult fails to understand recently completed transactions or consequences of his or her actions. 
  • Abrupt increase in plastic card activity or a sudden flurry of “bounced” checks.
  • Vulnerable adult is accompanied by a third party who encourages the withdrawal of a large sum of cash and may not allow the vulnerable adult to speak