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Protecting Your Loved Ones: 6 Key Tips - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Protecting Your Loved Ones: 6 Key Tips

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Protecting Your Loved Ones: 6 Key Tips

Financially stable seniors are frequent targets of financial scams because they're often isolated, trusting and vulnerable, due to physical illness or because they no longer have the facilities to handle finances in a competent manner.

To prevent these scams, keep a close eye on senior loved ones, says David Ritterling, owner of Visiting Angels home care agency in Pueblo, Colorado, which provides private, in-home living assistance to seniors. “We want to create accountability around our seniors and pay attention to areas where they could be caught in a fraud or scam. Have at least one, and preferably two, family members keeping track of finances. And talk to elderly loved ones about measures they should take to protect themselves.”

Ritterling offers the following six tips to protect loved ones from being targets:

1. Look for warning signs that something's amiss

Keep a lookout for the following behaviors:

• If mom or dad is writing an increasing number of checks or withdrawing escalating amounts of money.

• If you see excessive amounts spent on charities or sweepstakes entries.

• If they are becoming secretive or withdrawn about finances.

• If they suddenly can't pay bills, which often indicates someone close is draining their account of money.  

2. Find a properly trained caregiver you feel you can trust

Pick a caregiver that will be the right fit for you, your family and can provide the best care, supervised by an agency you trust. Visiting Angels employs caregivers who watch what's going on in the home and report any problems to supervisors. Visiting Angels caregivers cannot accept gifts or money from your loved ones – a good rule to follow for any home care aid. If you want the caregiver to take dad to lunch, for example, the agency oversees the money and the caregiver supplies receipts to account for all dollars.

3. Monitor your loved one's mail

If your loved one is overspending on sweepstakes, magazine subscriptions, charities or other organizations, you may notice an excessive amount of mail soliciting for more funds.

4. Find someone who can be there if you're not

If you don't live near mom or dad, consult a case manager, home care aid or certified senior advisor to be a trusted partner. This person can check on loved ones and identify signs that someone may be taking advantage of them.

5. Mom or dad still living at home?

Encourage them to do the following to avoid being targeted:

• Do not do business with door-to-door salespeople, who often offer unnecessary services, such as paving or roof repair.

• Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if a company is reputable.

• Never give out financial or personal information (credit cards/other account numbers, social security number, birth date) over the phone or in response to any emails.

• Do not make instant financial decisions and notify a family member if someone requests money.

6. Determine if your loved one is competent to handle finances

If your loved one is no longer able to take care of their personal finances, it could be time to create a trust or power of attorney agreement, or two-signer check system, so family can keep an eye on finances.

Visiting Angels is one of the largest, non-medical home care agencies in the country, with 500 franchise locations. Angels provide help with activities of daily living, including bathing and dressing, personal care, light housekeeping, cooking and transportation.

David Ritterling is owner of the Visiting Angels franchise in Pueblo and vice president of franchise development. To reach Visiting Angels in southern Colorado, contact the Pueblo office, (719) 543-4220, or Colorado Springs office, (719) 282-0180, or visit www.visitingangels.com

This article was produced for and sponsored by Visiting Angels, with offices in Colorado Springs and Pueblo, Colo. It is not a product of or affiliated with KOAA News 5.

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