AARP Eye Center
Harrisburg, PA – May is Older Americans Month – a time when the country pauses to recognize the contributions of past and present older persons to the country. This year’s theme - Aging Unbound - urges combating ageism and recognizing the benefits of older adults remaining engaged, independent, and included in their communities. Understanding that adults 50 and older want to remain living in their homes as they age, AARP Pennsylvania is taking time this month to raise awareness about caregiver fraud.
A recent review by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau of suspicious activity reports filed by financial institutions found that one in nine incidents of elder financial exploitation where the target knew the perpetrator were committed by non-family caregivers. The average loss in such cases was $57,800.
“As we age, we often rely on others for care and support,” said Mary Bach, Chair of the AARP Pennsylvania Consumer Issues Taskforce. “Unfortunately, some of those tasked with providing this care take advantage of the opportunity to line their own pockets.”
David Kalinoski, Associate State Director of Community Outreach, added, "Older Pennsylvanians and their family caregivers might need to hire assistance. Finding in-home care can be a complicated journey, especially when you consider the older adult’s safety. We encourage all individuals to take these tips to heart and protect themselves from caregiver fraud.
Here are five tips from AARP Pennsylvania to help older Pennsylvanians and their families spot and stop caregiver fraud:
- Do your research: Before hiring a caregiver, check references, conduct background checks, and hire a reputable agency.
- Secure valuables, cash, and cards: Create an inventory of all the valuables, including photo and video records of items and a list of where they are stored. Keep smaller items, like jewelry, locked up at all times.
- Be present: Check in regularly with the paid caregiver and the care recipient to monitor the quality of service and see how the relationship is developing.
- Use technology: Install a doorbell video camera on the front door so you know when the caregiver comes and goes.
- Watch for warning signs: Unusual activity (i.e., large withdrawal) on an account can be a tipoff that an older loved one is being financially exploited.
Report scams to local law enforcement. For help from AARP, call 1-877-908-3360 or visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org, www.aarp.org/espanol or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspanol and @AARPadvocates, @AliadosAdelante on social media.