The Annals of Internal Medicine reported on Age-Associated Financial Vulnerability: An Emerging Public Health Issue back in 2015. They define “AAFV as a pattern of financial behavior that places an older adult at substantial risk for a considerable loss of resources, such that dramatic changes in quality of life would result, and that is inconsistent with previous patterns of financial decision making during younger adult life.” So normal adults are at risk of becoming a victim of one of the latest frauds or scams.
This is not about older-adults with a form of dementia, but is an emerging issue that is impacting the health and safety of a large segment of older adults.
As a Daily Money Manager, I am seeing this play out with adults on a pretty regular basis. I’ve seen research on how brain changes in older adults can make us more trusting (Scientific America) and more recently have stepped in to work with highly-educated adults in good health that have been victims of a fraud or scam.
You can’t miss the stories in the news, but if you have, take a look at this recent story Age of fraud: Are seniors more vulnerable to financial scams? (Marketplace). You will get a sense of how very smart and reasonable people are getting scammed.
Not only are these matters incredibly embarrassing, but they are finding that in many cases, they are individuals that don’t have a strong socio-emotional network around them.
I’ve walked into client engagements where there has been a recent issue, and the adults are well-educated, successful and are independent. However they usually share that they have lost a spouse, partner, and/or friends recently. It takes time to build up those social networks. Loneliness impacts a huge segment of older adults … and by “older adult” that covers individuals 50 years and older.
If you have someone in your life you can help offer to be a sounding board on big purchases or even on upcoming plans — if even just to listen. Maybe they just want a shopping partner. My hope is that we can squash these crooks by helping our loved ones have a deeper line of defense. Wished.