Majority of elder abuse cases are caused by family members

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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) It's something that happens more often than people think in Lincoln, elder abuse.

Houston Doane, a Financial Counselor with Aging Partners said, "If your family member is isolated or alone, that's an open invitation for abuse."

He said it's important to make sure that elders have someone to talk to. Doane said, "I don't know how many times we've sat down with families and mom has been sending big chunks of money off to Jamaica." Doane said, "These people are very lonely and isolated and have no one to talk to and they are making sometimes very costly mistakes."

He said another thing to watch out for is if a caregiver opens up credit cards in our loved ones name. Doane said, "You'll see all sorts of solicitation showing up all of the sudden for more credit cards."

Financial abuse is a hidden crime. Statistics from the National Center of Elder Abuse state 90% of the time family members are the abuser.

Doane said, "They may be addicted to alcohol or drugs, and mom gives them her social security check, mom is not going to go to the police and say oh by the way, I'm being taken advantage of because they love their children. We see that often."

Sandy Lutz, Program Coordinator with Aging Partners, said "We want to provide education for seniors and people of all ages to help them understand the resources that are available to them."

Lutz said Aging Partners can help them take steps to protect themselves. "Power of Attorney documents can help them protect their financial resources and help them in making medical decisions when they are not able to do so independently, because of illness, surgery or just changes in their abilities as they age."

She said it's important that people start having conversations about retirement and become educated about how they can move through their life in a way that they are taking charge.