The FBI estimates that senior citizens lose more than $3 billion each year to financial scams. This number has more than doubled since 2019. Although other age groups are falling for scams, the median loss of money is higher for seniors. When we hear about a scam, we often wonder who would fall for it. In reality, there are many different scams that play upon your emotions, which can cloud your logic. It is easy to wonder why someone fell for it when we hear about it on the news, but when living in the situation, emotions take over.

There are three types of scams that we see very often:

  1. Government Imposter Scams
  2. Tech Support Scams
  3. Grandparent Scams

Government Imposter Scams

In the Government Imposter Scams, you are contacted by someone claiming that your Social Security is being suspended due to an urgent problem with your account. The goal of this scam is to scare you into sharing sensitive data like your Social Security Number, Medicare Number, or financial account information. If someone contacts you out of the blue via phone, text, or email, don’t share information with them. If you want to know if there is truly an issue, call the main number of the agency they claim to represent and verify the concern with them.

Tech Support Scams

In Tech Support Scams, the scammers claim that there is a huge, immediate problem with your device (computer, phone, etc.) that needs an immediate, costly cure. They take your money and often claim to have fixed an unseen issue that was never present. These scammers reach you in two main ways:

  1. Through a phone call or email claiming to be a brand name tech provider like Microsoft. These companies do not initiate contact with customers for tech support- the customer initiates requests for support.
  2. Via a pop up on your device advising you to call a phone number to fix the problem.

Another red flag is if a company asks you to pay via gift card, wire transfer, or cash-reload card. This is an immediate clue that you are being contacted by a scammer.

The Grandparent Scam

The Grandparent Scam is ever evolving and the one that really pulls at your emotions. A person calls you claiming to be your grandchild and sounding panicked. They tell you that they are in trouble because of an accident, arrest, illness, hospitalization, robbery, etc. They then ask you to send money to help them. Many people fall for these types of scams because there is such panic and urgency in the call that grandparents just want to act. As with a real emergency, it is important to keep a level head. First, call your grandchild or their parents to find out what is going on. Second, contact the local authority that is allegedly involved in this situation to confirm what needs to be done to fix it. These scammers will urge you to just send money and not to contact anyone. Many victims of this scam would have saved a lot of money by just phoning the personal number of the loved one who has allegedly called.

It is important to discuss these types of scams with loved ones so they aren’t caught off guard should they run into any of these issues. Let them know it does happen to people everyday, so it is common and very well could happen to them. Stay alert and always contact the proper authorities should a scammer contact you.


In a 2021 study, AARP found that 1 in 5 adults in the US serve as unpaid caregivers for loved ones. Most caregivers have suddenly found themselves in the role without real expectations of becoming a caregiver or what becoming a caregiver really entails. Studies have found that up to 70% of these caregivers have clinically significant symptoms of depression. Caregivers often neglect themselves and end up with worsening health as they care for their loved ones. Tragically, 30% of caregivers predecease the one for whom they are providing care.

What do these statistics tell us? First, that caregivers need to take time for their own wellness, and second, that caregivers need to look to the future. Both are easier said than done when you are actively caregiving and trying to balance other responsibilities. Here are some suggestions on how to address these two issues.

Recognize joy in little things

As you are awakened at dawn by someone who needs you, pause to acknowledge that the sunrise is beautiful. Take the time to laugh. A ten-minute walk is better than no walk at all- take in the fresh air, grass and trees.

Pay attention to your own health

It is easy to lose track of doctor’s visits or medication refills for yourself. Following a special diet can be overwhelming when you are caring for others. Making time for this type of wellness is extremely important. Many offices now offer virtual visits, which could make seeing the doctor easier. Remember, though, if you’re not well, your loved one can’t be either.

Reach out to friends

Many caregivers lose contact with friends because time is limited and those who aren’t caregiving don’t understand. Make a point to chat with friends who do understand. This may mean a scheduled weekly phone call, a set coffee date, or even a support group – either in person or virtual. Social interaction is important to your health and wellness.

Accept and ask for help.

No one will do what you do, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t accept offers of help for even little things. It is common for people to say things like, “His brother said he’d come and stay with him, but he doesn’t even know what that would mean.” No one else will learn what caregiving for your loved one means if you don’t give them a chance, even for an hour. Often the offers of help stop coming as your caregiving time lengthens. Ask for help, even with small things. You can also utilize grocery delivery or laundry service or whatever little service can make a big difference.

Look to the future.

Often in the work of caregiving, you lose sight of what the next steps will be for yourself and your loved one. This doesn’t mean you don’t worry about the future for your loved one, but caregivers often are too overwhelmed and do not plan for it. Consulting a professional about the future can open up doors we didn’t know existed, or that we are too burned out to see. Have a Geriatric Care Manager or a nurse assess your situation and make recommendations. What if you go to the hospital- what is the plan for your loved one? Does your loved one have long-term care insurance? Is it time to do the paperwork to get the benefit started? If your loved one needs to move into residential care, where would they best fit in? What is the cost? Working with a professional can make this planning much more manageable.

Plan for your future.

Caregivers are often the spouse or partner of the person needing care. Because caregivers are so focused on doing what is best for their loved one, they don’t plan ahead for their own future needs. Sometimes, all financial resources are spent on the care of the one with no plan for the other. Caregivers also never think of a time when they themselves will need help.

Taking the time to care for yourself as the caregiver can help to make you a better caregiver in the long run. Help is always there when needed, so be sure to utilize the resources that are available to help both you and your loved ones.