Medical professionals are finding themselves at center stage in the fight against elder financial abuse, and they are ready to help.
About 59% of doctors and nurses think that cognitive impairment makes seniors vulnerable to financial exploitation “very often,” and 33% believe that such exploitation happens “somewhat often,” according to a national online survey of 603 medical professionals.
Nearly 80% of the medical professionals said that they think they could help fight elderly financial fraud if they were trained to recognize and report the warning signs of such exploitation.
Even more, 83%, said that they are very or somewhat willing to refer an elderly patient who may be the victim of investment fraud to someone who could help them with their financial affairs or to the proper authorities, the survey found.
“Doctors and nurses must play an important front-line role if we are going to do a better job of spotting older Americans who have been or are being victimized by investment fraud and other financial exploitation,” said Don Blandin, chief executive of Investor Protection Trust.
About a third of older Americans already have mild cognitive impairment or full dementia, said Dr. Robert Roush, director of the Texas Consortium Geriatric Education Center.
Advisers are increasingly reporting concerns about mental impairment in their clients, Mr. Blandin said.
MarketPsych LLC has developed a system that can help advisers identify when someone may be starting to suffer from impairment. It recommends that advisers review certain factors each year for clients over 65 and earlier for those with dementia in their family history.
Its checklist asks whether the client has had any memory problems, any drastic personality changes, increased trouble with simple calculations or an inability to recognize familiar people or places.