Older Victims Have Been Losing More and More Money to Elder Fraud

Older Victims Have Been Losing More and More Money to Elder Fraud

Christine Parker, CFP®, Chartered SRI Counselor sm, is Managing Director of Parker Financial, LLC; an Independent Fee Only Investment Advisor in the state of Maryland.  Christine currently serves as a member of the Sagepoint Senior Services Foundation Board of Officers and Directors. 

It is very possible for seniors aged 60 and older to experience irreversible economic loss and great psychological distress as a result of elder abuse and elder fraud.  

The term elder abuse refers to the mistreatment of seniors who are vulnerable, especially those who are physically and mentally handicapped, including abuse, neglect, or financial abuse, often perpetrated by family members, and other trusted persons.  Elder fraud, on the other hand, is generally committed by strangers – criminals who use various schemes to prey on the elderly.

Fraud victimization among older adults is influenced by these 7 major factors

  • Cognitive decline
  • Heighten emotions in decision making
  • Overly trusting nature
  • Psychological vulnerability
  • Social isolation
  • Risk-taking and
  • Lack of knowledge and information regarding fraud 

Researchers at the Stanford Center on Longevity working in collaboration with researchers from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation and the AARP Fraud Watch Network “found that inducing emotions such as excitement and anger in older adults increased their intention to buy falsely advertised items.”

The Office of Victims of Crimes at the Department of Justice seeks to raise public awareness of the National Elder Fraud Hotline and encourage victims of fraud to reach out and report.

There are different types of fraud schemes that affect different generations.  Elderly adults and their loved ones and caregivers need information about perpetrators of elder fraud schemes and knowledge about how to prevent it and report it.  The main goal of elder fraud is to exploit older adults financially.   

Reported Incidents of Elder Fraud and Scams

Using the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network database, which tracks reports of fraud, schemes, financial losses, contact methods, payment methods, and other pertinent information, we can track elder fraud trends. We can also know schemes used to perpetrate elder fraud.

Elder fraud is a serious and growing threat. According to the FTC, total reported losses have been increasing each year since 2020 as shown in the chart below:



For older adults aged 60-69, 70-79 and 80 and older, the median financial loss reported so far in 2023 is $500, $800 and $1,393.     

In this time period, older adults experienced the following fraudulent schemes most frequently: business imposters, government imposters, tech support scams, online shopping, and prizes, sweepstakes, and lotteries. Online shopping, tech support scams, and sweepstakes and lotteries scams reported had higher occurrences of financial loss.

The most commonly reported payment method used by older adults who were scammed is the credit card, followed by debit cards, gift cards, reloadable cards, payments apps, bank transfers, crypto-currencies, wire transfers, and money orders. Scammers contact older adults using social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc.), websites or apps, phone calls, online ads or pop-ups, email, text, email and mail.

Investment Scams

According to FTC data, older seniors lost more money to investment schemes than to any other category in 2022 and 2023.  From $1.8 billion in 2021, investment scam losses for all consumers doubled to $3.8 billion in 2022. For seniors aged 60-69, 70-79, and 80 and over, the median financial loss reported so far in 2023 is $12,841, $13,100, and $11,100, respectively. 

Protecting financial accounts    

In order to help protect your assets, banks, credit unions, and brokerage firms encourage you to designate a “Trusted Contact.”  If the institution suspects financial exploitation or has difficulty contacting the owner, they can reach out to this person in an emergency situation to protect your assets.

Consider this and other security features offered by your financial institutions to include: reset passwords, enroll in advanced authentication (set up two-factor authentication,) and enroll in alert notification for any transactions as soon as they occur (set up security alerts). 


In their website, www.aging.maryland.gov, the Maryland Department of Aging provides information about elder scams and fraud, as well as how to report it.

The information provided here is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered an individualized recommendation or personalized investment advice.

Mae’s Happiness, Linda’s Peace of Mind

It had been five years since Linda Simon’s father had passed away. And in that time, not a day went by that she or one of her two siblings didn’t spend the night with her mother, Mae, in the house her parents had shared for so many years. 

“My parents were married for 70 years, so Dad was all she knew,” said Linda. “Once he was gone, she just didn’t like being in the house all alone, so we stayed with her.”

Soon, Linda and her siblings started noticing that Mae wasn’t making the best choices when left alone and grew increasingly concerned about her safety, physical well-being and mental health. 

“It was clear she needed more help, and after five years, we just couldn’t do it anymore. We told her, ‘Mom, you need to have someone with you.’” 

Linda and her sister began looking for assisted living options in the area. After each one visited Sagepoint, they both agreed that it was the place for Mae. 

“I went over and met with the folks at Sagepoint, and I liked them. My sister went over too and she liked them. So we took Mom over to meet with them, and it was hard for her because she had lived in that house for so long.” 

But Mae knew she needed assistance, so she agreed to move in. Her initial reluctance soon lifted, and she began enjoying herself. She loved the staff instantly and quickly made friends with a number of other residents. 

“Mom had always had a garden at home, and she loves flowers. So when she moved in, she told everyone, ‘We need to have flowers around here.’ So they worked with her, had flower boxes built and they even gave her and my sister money to go buy the flowers, and she took care of all of them for a long time.”

Linda and her siblings were also grateful for the social aspect of the community. 

“She plays games, which she never did, and she goes to game nights, and she’s become the star bingo player and has a big tin of candy bars in her room that are her winnings. A new resident moved in who could play the piano, and a group of them would get together to sing songs to the piano music.”

While Sagepoint’s staff knows how to take care of her social needs, they are always attentive to Mae’s well-being.

“Everyone is so good to her, and they all love her so much,” said Linda. “One of the staff members mentioned that Mom gets anxious when she’s in her room by herself, so she goes and sits with her. And she was going through this stage where she had a hard time eating, and the staff sat with her and they helped feed her.”

“And I see them give the same care to other residents too. They’re just very attentive people.”

While it was initially a difficult decision to move Mae from her home, Linda knows that choosing Sagepoint was the best choice she could’ve made for her Mom.

“I can’t express how good they are to her. I’ve recommended Sagepoint to many people. They keep the place clean. They wash their clothes. The food is always excellent. They care about the residents who are there and consider them part of their family.”


Sage Advice Community Conversation Series Begins in September

There are no easy answers when it comes to a loved one suffering from dementia. But, there are resources and tools to help you better understand this disease and feel more prepared when caring for someone with dementia.

In our newly launched Sage Advice Community Conversation Series, we aim to provide information and tools for families of those living with dementia and provide them with a greater understanding of the condition. Each series will address a specific topic related to dementia. At the events, presenters and experts will share resources and advice about a certain aspect of dementia to aid families in caring for their loved ones.

Beginning in September, we invite anyone whose family has been affected by dementia to attend to gain more support and resources. Past participants have shared, “This series fills a need in the community for more information and resources about a disease that requires comprehensive support and affects so many families.” 

On September 11, the topic, “What is Dementia?” will offer a broad overview of the condition, including causes, symptoms, stages, prevention and treatment. Next, on September 25, “A Walk in their Shoes: A Dementia Experience” will offer attendees a glimpse into the daily challenges of living with dementia through participating in hands-on activities. 

Don’t miss this chance to better equip yourself with information and resources as you navigate the challenging  journey of a loved one living with dementia. 

For more information and to get your free ticket visit the links below. Space is limited, please make sure to register to secure your spot. 

Monday, September 11 | 6-7:30pm 

What is Dementia? 

Monday, September 25 | 6-7:30pm 

The Dementia Experience 

Sagepoint Senior Living Services, Adult Day Services Building

10200 La Plata Rd, La Plata, MD 20646


A Hands-On Approach to Care

As the Chief Nursing Officer, Denise McCann is more than a caregiver to the residents at Sagepoint. Driven by the goal of making every resident as happy and comfortable as possible, she is the leader of a team of dedicated and talented professionals who care for the residents. She provides clinical oversight, training and education and support for the team, the residents and their family members. 

The Nursing Team’s approach to working with residents stems from Denise’s own philosophy of care.

“Caring for a person with dementia requires compassion and an in-depth knowledge of the disease,” said Denise. “Understanding how the disease progresses allows a caregiver to apply compassion and creativity in care options. We also recognize that we must provide holistic, individualized care not only for the patient but for the family members as well.”

While rewarding, leading a team in an environment like Sagepoint can be challenging at times. For Denise, leadership comes down to communication and a willingness to make a difference. 

“I find that communicating often with residents, family members and staff is vital. Asking staff ‘how they are doing’ makes them feel supported and cared for so they can provide the best care to our residents. By seeing and talking to our residents often, I can generally see what kind of day they are having and help direct staff to assist. I feel that having a relationship is important as it helps me to identify if I see any changes in the patient’s status and adjust the staff activities accordingly,” said Denise. 

This hands-on approach doesn’t just help her staff or residents; it also helps the families who entrust Sagepoint with the care of their loved ones. She takes the concerns and feelings of family members very seriously, as she knows their support is vital to the care of her residents. 

“Moving a loved one into long-term care is a difficult decision for many family members. While they recognize the time has come for professional care, they have questions about their loved one living in a senior living center,” said Denise. “Recognizing how tough that can be, the management team and I work through their feelings – sometimes doubt, guilt or sadness over their loved one’s changing status. These are all feelings that we can work through together. It takes time. Having the family involved is key to building a relationship of trust. We encourage family and friends to visit and participate in activities. We realize that moving a loved one into a long-term care facility is hard, but we strive to make the transition as easy as possible for patients and family members.”

Denise feels how important her role is and how special Sagepoint is when interacting with residents. “When I come in every day and see the faces of our residents and family members that I am so fortunate to provide care for means so much to me.” 

Tee Up With Sagepoint In 2023

Any golfer will tell you that the only thing better than a round of golf is another round of golf! After an incredibly successful third-annual Sagepoint Golf Tournament, we’re teeing it back up and hitting the links again this year. The fourth-annual Sagepoint Golf Tournament is set for Wednesday, September 20, at Swan Point Yacht & Country Club. This is the perfect opportunity to connect with community leaders and make a difference in senior care in Southern Maryland.

The tournament will include a full day of golf with a captain’s choice scramble format, putting contests and exciting raffle opportunities. Returning this year are the very popular raffle for the Pinehurst Course #2 trip (the site of the 2024 US Open Golf Tournament!) and Mulligan Ball Raffle. New this year – Have a PGA pro hit your tee shot! More details to come!

Sagepoint Senior Living Services is a nonprofit organization caring for seniors and persons with disabilities in southern Maryland for nearly 50 years. This year, all proceeds will be put towards improving Sagepoint’s Assisted Living and Memory Care programs. 

Our goal is to raise funds to help Sagepoint Senior Living Services grow awareness of dementia and the effects it has on the person, the family and the community as a whole. We plan to achieve this goal by expanding community outreach efforts to develop caregiver support and training programs for those who care for loved ones with dementia and other long-term cognitive illnesses. 

Hurry and sign up today to beat the Early Bird Deadline by July 28, 2023! After July 28, the prices will increase. Sponsorship opportunities still remain, but they will go quickly. Email Joyce Riggs at JRiggs@SagepointCare.org for more information. 

Register for the 2023 Golf Tournament Here

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Come from a Place of Love When Caring for Those with Dementia

Demenita Care Blog HeaderThe newly released 2023 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures Special Report by the Alzheimer’s Association highlights the disease’s troubling projected growth. Nationally, there are more than six million Americans living with Alzheimer’s Dementia. That number is on pace to more than double to 13 million by the year 2050. Unfortunately, things do not appear any better from a local level. The number of Marylanders with the disease is on pace to grow by nearly 20% from 2020 to 2025. Next door in Delaware, that number is 21%. In Virginia, it’s over 26%. 

While these trends have tremendous implications for the nation’s healthcare policy, facilities and resources, they also present an unpleasant eventuality for many of us – a future caring for a loved one suffering from dementia. 

There are no easy diseases when it comes to having a loved one afflicted with a life-threatening condition. Any debilitating affliction that diminishes the life of someone you care about is a terrible burden. That said, dementia is an incredibly cruel disease that robs us of our loved one’s personality and essence before claiming their body. It turns spouses into strangers, best friends into afterthoughts and children into unwanted visitors. And left in its wake is a person who is scared, frustrated, confused and, in many ways, alone, surrounded by loved ones who share all of those same feelings. 

Despite the rollercoaster of emotions you may experience when caring for someone with dementia, it’s important to approach the situation with a calm demeanor, a sound plan and plenty of love. While it may seem prudent and safe to help them as much as possible, let them be somewhat self-sufficient. Treating a loved one as if they’re completely helpless can exacerbate their condition and leave them less connected to their surroundings. 

It’s also important to speak to them like their adults, not children. And while it’s helpful to talk at a slightly slower pace and give them more time to respond, always remain respectful, as that will encourage them to engage more. Speaking of a slower pace, it’s also good to walk and act at a slower pace so your loved one doesn’t feel rushed or fall behind. 

As you care for a loved one with dementia, you must be realistic and honest about your ability to look after them. While you undoubtedly have their best interests at heart and give them the finest care you possibly can, it may not be enough. And if that happens, you must not feel shame, guilt or any negativity about your attempts to care for them. Dementia is an incredibly difficult disease to treat, which almost always requires the help of professional caregivers. With each case being as unique as the loved one it afflicts, knowing how much or how little care to give is an immense challenge.

That’s why we at Sagepoint Senior Living offer such a wide range of care options for those with Alzheimer’s disease or suffering from dementia. Sometimes people in the early stages of the disease only need a little assistance around the house, like meal preparation or doing a load of laundry. As their condition changes, so can their care. We offer adult day services, assisted living, memory care and everything in between – all specifically tailored to the specific needs of your loved one. 

With the growing number of people being diagnosed with dementia by the year, the likelihood that you will care for a loved one with this horrible disease is also growing. Please, follow the advice above. Stay patient and loving with them; after all, if this journey is frustrating, scary and confusing for you, imagine what it must be like for them. 

Be strong for them. Remember them as they were, and love them as such. It may not save them from Alzheimer’s, but it may make their time with you more special and rewarding.

Assisted Living Manager, Yolanda Medley, Keeps Our Residents Active & Having Fun

Study after study on seniors consistently reinforce that activity, engagement and interacting with others are good for the mind, body and soul of older individuals. As part of our commitment to providing high-quality care and creating an environment that enhances health and wellness for our residents, we strive to keep them as active and engaged as possible. 

How do you keep seniors engaged and active when many of them face physical shortcomings or don’t feel like participating? That responsibility falls on our very own Yolanda Medley, Sagepoint’s Assisted Living  and Memory Care Manager.

“I interview residents to learn what they want to do, what hobbies they had and what they would like to try. Engagement is really important, so I want to make sure we’re doing things that interest the residents,” said Yolanda when discussing how to connect with and motivate residents to participate in activities. 

This work, while challenging at times, is incredibly rewarding to Yolanda, whose connection to providing care goes way back. 

“When I was 13, my grandpa was diagnosed with cancer, and I helped my family care for him. Through that experience I became interested in being a caregiver. When I was starting my career, that seemed like a natural direction to go, so I was a caretaker for years before going to college to earn my degree in health care administration,” said Yolanda.

To help keep our residents interested and engaged in our activities, Yolanda is always ready to go the extra mile. She invites special guests, speakers and experts into the group activity events to make them more fun and unique for the residents. To ensure a variety of activities and an equal opportunity for those with disabilities to participate, she is always coming up with new ideas to keep things fun and fresh for residents.

“We recently had a Sip and Paint event that was a lot of fun. We gave the residents cranberry juice in fancy wine glasses, brought in easels for everyone to create their piece and even served  hors d’oeuvres. Everyone really had a great time,” said Yolanda.

With the warmer months coming up, she’s looking forward to planning some outdoor activities. But no matter where the activities take place, she knows how important they are to the residents and their families.

“When I see a resident that didn’t want to participate and then they get into it and have fun, that is very rewarding. It also makes me feel good, and it’s a warm feeling when the residents tell their families about the activities.”

Supporting Sagepoint is the Greatest Gift You Can Give to Our Residents and Their Families

We all have special moments that live in our hearts. The first time meeting your best friend. Saying “I do.” Watching your granddaughter receive her diploma. We remember these moments because they bring us so much joy, help us stay forever young and keep us connected to loved ones passed. 

These moments are magical, and they’re worth more than gold. But for too many in our community, these moments are slipping away. There are currently 13.5 million people living with dementia in the U.S. In Maryland, the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to increase by nearly 20% in the coming years. 

That’s why Sagepoint Senior Living Service’s mission of growing awareness of dementia and the effects it has on the person, the family and the community as a whole is so important. 

As a 501(c)(3) organization, we rely in large part on funding from government programs. Funding for these programs is shrinking, and we desperately need to make up the difference and then some.

By establishing recurring donations, you will support our work of expanding vital community outreach efforts to develop caregiver support and training programs for those who care for loved ones with dementia and other long-term cognitive illnesses. 

There are many wonderful ways to contribute to Sagepoint, and we are grateful for each one. Some other options that you can consider:

  • Monetary Donations (Recurring or One-Time)

Online, check, cash, IRA-qualified charitable distribution, donor-advised fund grant, workplace payroll deduction

  • Planned Giving

Bequeath from will or trust, pledges, charitable beneficiary designation, endowment-style donor-advised fund grant, charitable remainder trust, charitable gift annuity

  • Lifetime Giving

Securities including stocks and bonds, real estate and other assets, volunteering

  • Fundraising Campaigns

Sagepoint’s Golf Tournament, End-of-Year Campaign and other future fundraising opportunities.

Our team is so thankful for all of our residents and the family members who entrust us with their care. Each one gets our full attention and our best efforts to ensure their health and safety each day.

Please consider supporting Sagepoint, our residents and their families today. Thank you. 


Sage Advice: Stop the Scam

Every Year, Scammers Steal Hundreds of Millions from Seniors. Here Are Some Ways to Stop the Scam. 

The senior population is a vulnerable group that is often targeted by scammers. In fact, in 2021, there were 92,371 senior victims of fraud, resulting in $1.7 billion in losses*, with likely more stolen in unreported incidents. As people age, they may become more trusting and less skeptical, making them more susceptible to fraud. Additionally, many senior individuals may not be as tech-savvy as younger generations, making them easier targets for online scams. 

One of the most important ways of preventing seniors from being scammed is to encourage them to be cautious with their personal information. This can include things like their social security number, bank account information and other sensitive details. Scammers often try to obtain this information from seniors in order to steal their identity or money, so it’s important to stress the importance of keeping this information private.

It’s also a good idea to encourage seniors to seek help if they feel unsure about something. This can include asking a family member or friend for their opinion or even contacting local law enforcement for guidance. Many police departments have programs in place to help elderly individuals who may be vulnerable to scams, so it’s worth exploring these options.

It’s critically important to educate seniors about the types of scams that are out there. There are a variety of different schemes that scammers may try, and by educating seniors about these scams, you can help them recognize when something seems off and avoid falling victim to the scam.

Here are some of the most common scams that target seniors:

  • Government Impersonation Scams-Scammers call unsuspecting older adults and pretend to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Social Security Administration, or Medicare. They may say the victim has unpaid taxes and threaten arrest or deportation if they don’t pay up immediately. 
  • Phone Scams-Criminals will call seniors and pretend to be a legitimate company or organization, asking for personal information or money.
  • Email Scams-Scammers will send emails to elderly individuals posing as a trustworthy source, such as a bank or government agency, asking for personal information or money.
  • Investment Scams-Seniors are targeted with promises of high returns on investments, only to have their money stolen from them.
  • Sweepstakes and Lottery Scams-Scammers will tell elderly individuals they have won a prize in a sweepstakes or lottery, but in order to claim it, they need to pay a fee or provide personal information.
  • Grandparent Scams-Criminals will call seniors and pretend to be their grandchild, claiming to be in trouble and in need of money.

By educating seniors, encouraging caution with personal information and seeking help when needed, you can help protect our most vulnerable community members from the harm caused by scammers.

*Waterman, July 27, 2022, The Top 5 Financial Scams Targeting Older Adults, ncoa.org

Now’s the Time to Walk In Their Shoes

More than six million people in the United States are affected by dementia and this number is growing quickly. With this notable rise, Sagepoint Senior Living Services has been working hard to help spread awareness of the needs and challenges of people with dementia and other cognitive diseases. One of the ways Sagepoint does this is by hosting a “Walk In Their Shoes” event that walked board members and others in the community through a small glimpse of the challenges of dementia.

This was accomplished by our team explaining how our memory care service offers a nurturing, home-like environment that sets a new standard of care for people with memory loss. We went on to further describe how our team listens, watches and learns to tailor individual programs for each resident and deliver our professional care and services with a personal touch.

“Sagepoint has hosted the dementia experience for other community organizations like the Rotary Club of La Plata and Leadership Southern Maryland. “We feel it is important to educate caregivers and family members on dementia and other cognitive issues.” says Denise McCann, Sagepoint’s Chief Nursing Officer. “Empowering them with knowledge and resources gives the extended caregivers tools to navigate care.”

While we work towards accomplishing this mission of spreading dementia awareness, you can help us by donating to our “Remember These Moments” campaign. With your donation, you are helping those affected by dementia, and members of our community have access to resources needed to care for their loved one. We could not provide care and educate the community without your help, so please consider donating today.