Of all the potential problems facing elderly parents and the children who worry about them, one of the more difficult situations to deal with is when an elderly parent, typically a father, falls prey to a financial predator. Often referred to as “gold diggers,” financial predators seek to exploit an elderly parent’s loneliness, isolation, and fear to their own financial gain by promising hope of a new romantic relationship. If you are concerned that your parent might fall victim to financial exploitation, there are some steps you can take.
Talk to your parent about financial powers of attorney
A financial predator often seeks to isolate the elderly person from his or her family in order to more easily gain control of the elderly parent’s finances. If your relationship with your parent is strong, you can ask if he or she is willing to give up at least some financial control by signing over a financial power of attorney. If the parent is unwilling to give you or other family members control over his or her finances, you may be able to convince the parent to give it to a professional financial manager or advisor.
Keep communication open
It’s common for family members to be blindsided when an elderly parent reveals a new romantic relationship with a much younger person. Many times this person is the elderly parent’s caregiver and is in a position to have regular contact with parent. It’s important that if your parent has a caregiver you remain in close contact and keep lines of communication open as much as possible. If your parent begins talking about or hinting at a potentially inappropriate relationship, you can more easily get involved earlier and prevent potential problems.