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Elder Fraud: Difficult to Prevent, Even Harder to Recover Your Loss

Elderly man reading his credit card information over the phone

In 2010, when my dad was 90, he lost $4,000.00 to a combination lottery/bad-check scam. I looked at his bank account online almost daily, but when I asked him why he had withdrawn that large amount, he wouldn’t tell me. He said something like, “I can’t tell you now, but you’ll be so happy in a few days.” Then I saw that he’d deposited a check supposedly drawn on an Idaho Falls, Wells Fargo bank for $4,000. After a 3-day bank holiday weekend, it “bounced.”

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Loneliness, A Health Risk of Epidemic Proportion

Elderly man with grandchildren

When my husband, Dennis, was first diagnosed as being in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, I was told to expect that he would gradually have more difficulty planning and initiating a healthy variety of activities, but that it would help his emotional health and mental abilities to interact with other people. Knowing this prompted me to take the initiative when it came to planning things we could do together, and to suggest things he could do on his own or with friends and family.

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Advance Care Planning

Doctor talking with an elderly man

When my father passed away from aspirational pneumonia at age 97, we were able to let him go peacefully, without hospitalization or any medication other than for comfort care. This is because we had a POLST (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) agreement, previously signed by him, me, and his physician specifying that those were his wishes. Dad had endured hospitalization for aspirational pneumonia and the rehab that followed it seven times. His doctor knew that it would reoccur and most likely be his cause of death. Dad had no desire to go through all of that again.

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Last Updated: 12/5/23