I is for Isolation
There are common patterns in cases where older adults are exploited. Being alert to these behaviors may help you identify a situation and take steps before it is out of control, and possibly avoid a WILL FIGHT.
W is for Watchful Eyes.
When a predator goes after a vulnerable adult, they typically attach to the target closely and begin monitoring everything they do, and everyone they communicate with.
I is for Isolation and Alienation.
Likewise, predators will almost always begin to isolate their target from their natural supports, and take steps to cause the vulnerable adult to become distrustful of others.
L is for Lack of Transparency.
The predator will often seek to control information about the vulnerable adult and prevent those who would otherwise be protective from having access to information about the person and their resources.
L is also for Loss.
Vulnerability may follow the loss of a loved one, particularly the death of a spouse or other support person. This loss often opens the door to the predator.
F is for Family Dysfunction.
Family dynamics are almost always an issue when the predator is one of the family members. Exploitation of an aging parent can be more likely when unresolved hostilities exist between siblings.
I is for Involvement of New Friends and Advisors.
When the predator comes from outside the family, they typically bring with them a new cadre of cohorts. The children of the predator suddenly cozy up to the target, and the vulnerable adult starts using a lawyer or financial advisor selected by the predator.
G is for Growing Confusion.
Although not always the case, the onset of dementia and other age-related cognitive impairments often trigger the opening to exploitation. Research suggests that older adults become vulnerable to exploitation even before the typical signs of memory loss and cognitive decline are observed by close friends and family.
H is for History of Financial Dependence.
Exploitation can arise in situations where one child or other person has become financially dependent on an older adult. Dependence turns to exploitation when, due to cognitive decline, the older adult begins to lose the ability to monitor their finances and resist the pressures of the perpetrator.
T is for Talk of Asset Protection.
Be wary when an older adult becomes overly concerned about “ asset protection. ” Popular concepts about estate planning, Medicaid eligibility and qualification of Veterans benefits are frequently used as an excuse to persuade older adults to give away their assets or take steps that are not in their best interests.