Last week we looked at red flags you should pay attention to with regards to caregivers and professionals in your network. This week we’ll look at how to prevent abusive caregiver situations and how to deal with abuse once it has occurred. Below are some actions you can take to guard against people in your network taking advantage of you.
Things you can do now:
Take advantage of your free yearly credit report.
You can get a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax). Hot tip! Space them out! Sign up to get one every four months. This will make it easier to discover any irregular activity fairly quickly.
Ask your banker if they have completed the “BankSafe” program from AARP.
BankSafe is a training platform designed to help financial professionals identify and stop suspected exploitations from caregivers. Ask your bank if they have participated in this training. If your bank has not had this training, encourage them to do so! Or consider moving funds to a bank or credit union that has already participated.
Budget for paid assistance.
Remember that as much as family and friends may want to help, sometimes they can’t. It’s important to make sure that you are able to afford assistance for things like traveling to appointments, grocery shopping, laundry, nutritious meals, cleaning, and other personal help you may need if you were injured or developed a medical condition. Endeavor to have enough of your retirement savings to ensure you can afford a positive work environment for your future caregivers.
Create a Durable Power of Attorney.
This Power of Attorney allows someone you trust to monitor and manage your finances, if needed. This could be a family member or close friend. With access to bank accounts and credit card statements, they should be able to notice quickly if your spending habits change or if there is fraudulent activity on your account and they’ll be able to file a claim to protect your money!
Things to keep in mind for later:
Listen to your loved ones.
If you have a caregiver that is not in your family, do yourself a favor and trust a loved one’s opinion if they sense unsettling behavior from that caregiver. Sometimes others are able to see things that we are too close to observe.
Don’t become too reliant on one person.
You can have a housekeeper come every other week to clean the surfaces, a home health nurse to check on your health, and a food delivery service to prepare your meals or deliver groceries. Surround yourself with people who like their jobs.
Let family and friends know you welcome their visits and calls.
Tell them what has been going on in your life and find out what is going on with them. Maybe a few favorite snacks in the cupboard will even bring the grandkids by.
Don’t give up your routines.
Self-care is so important, we all know that! If you feel yourself falling into a slump, get outdoors, go to the store, call a friend or ask someone for help. You deserve to be loved and to love yourself. No matter what anyone says, you are the conductor of your life.
“Stranger danger” isn’t just for children.
As adults we get comfortable interacting with all kinds of people, but remember that not everyone has your best interest in mind. Beware of helpful people who appear out of nowhere! Trust your instincts and listen to your inner-voice.
Don’t keep secrets.
If anyone tells you to keep a secret from your friends or family, something is very wrong. Red alert!
Report anyone who threatens to physically harm you.
Call the police and tell your trusted loved ones. There are no second chances when it comes to your personal safety.
Remember that “no” is a complete sentence.
If you are a people pleaser, practice different ways of saying “no” so you’ll be more comfortable in situations where you need to say it.