The holiday season is a time for giving and enjoying the company of our loved ones. But they are also a time when unscrupulous people try to take advantage of the generosity of others, especially older citizens.

The World Health Organization estimates that one out of every six seniors worldwide is the victim of elder abuse, which includes scams intended to cheat them out of their life savings.

Sometimes your help isn’t wanted

Keeping a watchful eye on aging parents is a labor of love for many children. However, some seniors may be reluctant or suspicious and accuse you of being nosy.

Other conditions, such as dementia, memory loss and confusion, can make it even more difficult for adult children to bring up the subject of their parents’ finances.

A durable power of attorney can provide relief

Research shows that dementia in seniors damages their judgment over financial matters, beginning in the very early stages. That makes it essential to have someone with the legal ability to take over managing their finances at some point.

Families can instill peace of mind for everyone by creating a durable power of attorney (DPOA) or revising an existing document to include another trusted family member.

How to have “the discussion” with elderly parents

If your efforts to protect your parents bring resistance, continue with some gentle persuasion, including these three steps to provide greater financial protection:

  • Initiate a formal discussion and focus on the importance of financial security
  • Ask to have access to their online accounts so you can see what activity is taking place
  • Make sure they have an updated DPOA naming a younger agent they trust who can step in when needed

Give a lasting gift protecting their financial security

Scammers are more sophisticated than ever before and will go to any extreme to steal your loved one’s hard-earned savings. An experienced estate planning attorney here in New York can help you protect your aging parents’ future.