Tips for financial caregivers during the coronavirus pandemic

Despite the nationwide disruptions being caused by the coronavirus, or COVID-19, we continue our daily work to help older adults and their families. Those who serve as financial caregivers for older adults or people with disabilities may have unique worries and challenges. Older adults are at a higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 and therefore are more likely to be isolated, which can have financial consequences as well. We’re here with up-to-date information and resources to help protect and manage the finances of those you care for, even if you are now separated from them.

Even during the best of times, some may try to take advantage of an older person. That can include family, friends, neighbors, caregivers, fiduciaries, business people, and others. They may take money without permission, fail to repay money they owe, charge too much for services, or just not do what they were paid to do. These are examples of elder financial exploitation or financial abuse. In challenging times, elder financial exploitation may be even more common. Scammers both known and unknown to their targets often focus on older adults because they may have more assets or regular income in the form of retirement benefits or savings and because they’re often polite and trusting.

Help for financial caregivers

If you are unable to be with someone whose money you help manage, due to virus prevention tactics like social distancing and quarantines, here are tips:

  • Phone calls and video chats can help older adults and their families connect during this period when health officials encourage limiting contact. Check in and ask questions if your loved one expresses concerns about money or mentions unusual activity.
  • Older adults, as well as their family members, should be aware of common types of scams, as well as how to prevent and report them. Our Money Smart for Older Adults Resource guide can help.
  • Learn more about what you can and cannot do by reading our Managing Someone Else’s Money guides. The guides help you understand your role as a financial caregiver, also called a fiduciary. Each guide explains your responsibilities, how to spot financial exploitation, and avoid scams.
  • If your loved one is living in an assisted living or nursing facility, it might be helpful to read Protecting residents from financial exploitation , our manual for assisted living and nursing facilities that can help you identify warning signs that may indicate financial exploitation.

This article was originally published by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. 

For more information and resources on COVID-19, please visit NCRC’s new page.

Photo by Nick Cooper on Unsplash.
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