There may be times when a health crisis impacts a person’s ability to engage in normal social structures, such as church services, senior groups, or other community connections. This type of social disconnection can put older adults at greater risk of depression, anxiety, loneliness and financial exploitation. Scam artists and perpetrators of financial exploitation purposefully target the vulnerable, so it’s especially important to continue to engage with loved ones, family and friends during periods of isolation.
Here are some ways to remain connected with older family members, friends and neighbours:
Discuss frauds and scams – Let them know that fraudsters and scammers find ways to exploit those who may be vulnerable, especially those living alone. Make them aware of the red flags of fraud, which remain consistent regardless of the fraud or scam. Encourage them to ask questions and think seriously before making financial or purchasing decisions. These are the best defenses from being victimized by a con artist or from making a decision that isn’t in their best interest.
Check in – Phone them or even leave a note on their front door. If they have the technology, send them a text or email, or Facetime or Skype them to involve them in your household’s daily activity. Just let them know you are thinking of them. Ask them if they need anything.
Engage grandchildren – Get them to send emails, or FaceTime or Skype their grandparents – or even a letter in the mail. Have them make pictures or crafts to drop off on their doorstep. Get older children to use the time to interview their grandparents and record some family history.
Community organizations – Encourage them to remain connected to community organizations, such as the YMCA, or other organizations that plan regular meet ups.
Exercise – Encourage them to take walks or take part in community fitness classes.
Faith services – If your loved one is house bound, see if their place of worship is offering virtual services and help them set it up so that they can participate from home.
Increased Risk of Financial Abuse
Financial abuse can happen at any time, but often perpetrators strike during times in an adult’s life when they may be more vulnerable, like during a health crisis or after the death of a loved one. People who are alone, lonely or in poor health also tend to be more at risk. Learn how to recognize the signs of Financial Abuse and Exploitation so you can help protect your older loved ones.