My concept is provide a tool in which family members are able to gain limited access to service provider accounts and manage irregular expenditures and withdrawals for their aging loved ones to stymie exploitation and solicitation.
There is no way to prevent the attempts of exploitation and solicitation of our aging population, whether it be from television commercials, telemarketers, service providers or scams. I believe a finance and service provider management tool could help remedy situations in which entities are taking advantage of our senior citizens.
This could be helpful during a seniors transition out of independency, which can be quite frustrating and painful for everyone involved.
A finance management tool, such as Mint or
, could provide a platform in which family members could watch over their aging parents accounts. The caregivers will be notified when an unusual expenditure or withdrawal has been made, giving them the ability to halt payment or verify its reasoning.
A service provider management tool would allow caregivers varying degrees of access to their elders accounts. This could allow caregivers to schedule maintenance appointments, adjust services, and watch payments.
Why are these tools important?
A large portion of the current elderly population are not tech-savvy. Many do not use the internet to check statements or make payments. If they only use paper and phone calls you can be a little stuck if you don't live close enough to review their statements. Service providers won't allow access to accounts unless you are made a custodian by the primary holder. This can be difficult if the aging family member still believes they are independent. If an aging family member is stubborn (we all get this way at times) they can be a prime target for exploitation. In most situations, one elderly spouse manages these household functions. If something happens to this spouse, this tool would allow the family and living elder to take over seamlessly. This tool is intended for the senior population that want to stay home or live with family (cottage etc.) and maintain independence.
After living with and caring for an elderly family member, the following problems started to reveal themselves.
- The amount of phone calls my grandparents received each day (despite being on the "Do Not Call" list), in which an entity was seeking donation, surveys, new business, or altered services from their current providers. Examples include: charities, campaigns, various insurance (such as final expense/burial insurance), banks, credit cards, satellite providers, and many more
- Kinds of tactics being used (despite knowledge of age and increased chances of intellectual decline):
- number of calls
- number of attempts to stay on the line
- pace in which they talk (different accents don't help either)
- attempts to prey on loneliness
- asking for a spouse without indicating who is calling
- calling back and asking for the other spouse
- unknown caller ID numbers
- scams that ask for money grams
- scams that ask for private information
- scams that distress emotionally to take money
3. Altering service plans that have credit cards on account. These will add monthly charges, escalating prices, or free trials that turn into an annual charges.
4. Overselling a product and under performing
5. Selling services that are unnecessary
6. Service Technicians purposefully sabotaging products so they will need to be replaced sooner or convincing the elder to upgrade.