Elderly exploitation is sadly quite common and many times it can be traced back to people who should be trusted such as family members, friends, or caretakers. The elderly may be taken advantage of because Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and dementia can all play a part in the loss of memory, change of signatures, and other issues that can make the elderly more susceptible to exploitation and fraud. 

Exploitation Through Forgery and Fraud 

Forgery and fraud are commonly used in elderly exploitation for financial gain. Signatures or checks may be forged to withdraw money from a bank account. They can be coerced into signing a legal document or check. When faced with various health conditions, the elderly can lack the understanding of what may be going on. Both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s can cause shaking of the hands. When there is trembling or shaking of the hands, a person’s signature can drastically change. Others then may try to take advantage of the elderly. Even with the change in a signature, it is still possible for a forensic document examiner to do a signature analysis and determine if the signer was really the elderly person.

Financial abuse of the elderly can be more difficult to detect than other forms of abuse. Very little research has been done on this topic, especially compared to other forms of abuse. Replacing lost finances and other assets is many times impossible for the elderly as they may be retired, have certain disabilities, or unable to work. Many times the elderly rely on their savings to provide for themselves and large financial losses can be devastating.

Kathy Doing Handwriting Analysis

Forensic Research on Elderly Exploitation

It is my strong desire to conduct more research on handwriting and elder abuse when funding becomes available. The proposed project would conduct research and examine how an elderly person’s signature and handwriting change when on or off medications and having a disability. It would especially focus on those with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and dementia. These diseases can cause a rapid decline in mental health and the ability to write. The study would attempt to identify consistent changes that could be used as a sort of “marker” that could be used in document examinations. Read the full project abstract.

What to Do if You Suspect Elderly Exploitation

If you suspect elderly exploitation through signature or document forgery, I can help. By making a detailed analysis I can spot many signs that indicate forgery. You should have a conversation with the person who you think is being exploited. Contacting the elderly person’s bank institution can also be a good idea, depending on the circumstances.

Do you need help in identifying signature forgery or fraudulent documents? As a forensic document examiner, I can offer many professional services that can be of help to you and your situation. Contact me with any questions and learn more about fees and the services I offer.