Preventing the Financial Exploitation of Seniors

A success story

Financial exploitation is the leading form of elder abuse and thrives through silence.

*Mary had $250,000 in a trust, a pack a day smoking habit and an incapacitated mind. She was living in an Assisted Living Facility (ALF) that was charging $4,000 a month and staff were using her ATM card to make frivolous purchases. Stopping financial exploitation of the elderly is hardly easy, but a traveling nurse visiting the ALF did something that changed Mary’s life.

When this traveling nurse walked in on a meeting with a relator, investor and ALF staff member who were coaxing Mary to sign over her condo – for much less than the value – she immediately called LSF Sarasota Guardianship for help.

Our staff were able to step in and protect her dwindling finances. $25,000 was left after leaving the ALF. We were able to sell her condo for a good price and put the money into a guardianship trust. Mary has cut back on her smoking drastically and most amazingly she has been able to nearly walk across the room, the first time she has taken steps in five years.

While exact numbers are hard to come by, a recent study estimated that 2.9 billion dollars each year are exploited from older Americans and 10 cases of elder financial exploitation go unreported for each case reported.

*Name changed to protect the rights of our client

About Guardianship

At any given time, there are men and women, across the state of Florida, whose lives are in jeopardy because they are unable to care for themselves. People who can’t care for themselves and have nowhere else to turn would be left with no hope without Lutheran Services Florida’s (LSF) Guardianship services.

LSF Guardianship program focuses on three areas:

Protection – stepping in to protect the individual from potential abuse neglect or exploitation by completing an initial assessment to determine care needs and protect the person, property and assets

Coordination – promptly applying for benefits, coordinating services, overseeing care plans, medical appointments and any necessary treatments plans.  All efforts are made to adhere to the ward’s wishes and support the least restrictive safe environment.

Advocacy – Educate the ward, their family and the community about guardianship and the alternatives. This includes facilitating the Family Guardianship Course in partnership with SCF twice a year, and providing community education to individuals and groups.

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