Shame and fear of family relationships, are often the reasons why elderly people, who have been victims of elder financial abuse, are afraid to seek recourse against their abusers.
Many seniors who are exploited and abused, are the victims of people they know, often family members, caregivers or other people who they thought were looking out for their best interests. Fear of repercussions, including repeat abuse, and worries about bringing shame to themselves and their families, are two reasons why these crimes are often not reported.
As Yahoo Finance posted in “What to Do If You or Someone You Love Has Been Financially Exploited,” betrayal by a family member or another trusted person is especially hard on those who are financially abused. Seniors who've been financially exploited, may feel shame and guilt. Consequently, they do not feel entitled to help or support, let alone to feel victimized.
The widespread nature of financial exploitation shows that it can happen to almost anybody. There are many states that are trying to find ways to legally address financial exploitation and to better address and deter this abuse, as the population ages and an increasing number of seniors are vulnerable. Most states criminalize financial elder abuse. This means that, in addition to laws already in effect to prosecute theft, there are added penalties which can be filed in financial exploitation cases involving seniors or vulnerable adults, increasing the jail time for perpetrators.
If someone you love has been the victim of financial abuse, it is not just a financial loss. There is a strong sense of shame and remorse. They will need counseling to work through these intense feelings, and it may take some time for their emotional health and ability to trust other people to return. They will also need patience and understanding from family members.
Reference: Yahoo Finance (March 14, 2017) “What to Do If You or Someone You Love Has Been Financially Exploited”