Elder Abuse

Elder Abuse, Financial Exploitation and Predatory Behavior

Question: Who hasn’t heard of someone who has suffered in this manner? I bet virtually all of us know at least one story about a relative or a friend of a relative that this has happened to. Of course, in my business, I am increasingly coming across this issue and being asked to intervene.

Elder Abuse, Financial Exploitation and Predatory Behavior

By Dan Goldberg, CSA, MBA Managing Director, IKOR of North Shore LI
There have been many studies over the past few years citing the alarming number of cases of senior abuse. Reportedly seniors lose at least $36b each year to financial abuse. But the reality is that cases are most certainly under-reported and that there are a significant number of non-financial abuses as well (e.g., verbal, physical, emotional). So the bottom line is that abuse is extremely prevalent and only going to increase as seniors continue to make up an ever-larger percentage of the population. This hits all of us. It is a growing societal problem. So much so that even the esteemed New England Journal of Medicine has published findings, in an article by Mark Lachs, M.D., M.P.H, which warned physicians, “Financial exploitation has recently been identified as a virtual epidemic.” Some studies claim that 1 in 10 seniors will experience financial exploitation in any given 12-month period. Why is this so? The very obvious main reason is that, to paraphrase the infamous bank robber Willie Sutton, that’s where the assets are. Other reasons include seniors being potentially more socially isolated, more trusting, with more chronic health issues where their personal information can be mishandled. Those seniors at increased risk include people with dementia (and unfortunately this portion of the population is also increasing). The other main factor increasing exploitation risk is living with family. In fact, the abusers are more likely to be adult children or spouses. Solutions – No Silver Bullet Expressing reservations to a professional is a good first step, as is reporting the incident(s) to Adult Protective Services (“APS)” and perhaps law enforcement. However, rarely does a single intervention stop the abuse. The best course of action often involves multiple professionals that know the individual and may include; a family friend, the personal physician, the family attorney, the family accountant, the family financial advisor, the family bank, the family health care advocate or care manager. A Few Ways to Slow or Halt Financial Abuse One way to slow or stop financial abuse without causing too much friction may be to have a family member be a joint signature on the various bank and investment accounts so that any movements of money would require two signatures. Of course, the senior would have to agree to the dual signatories. Another idea is to open a new bank account and move almost all monies to the new account so that an ATM card can only access the small checking account. Yet another option is to open a senior bank credit/debit/ATM card tailored to senior’s needs like a True Link Financial card. Conclusion Elder abuse continues to rise despite increased awareness, safeguards and training. The victims often have feelings of shame, anger, guilt and/or depression. Be sensitive to this. It is incumbent upon all professionals and caregivers to be keenly aware of potential abuse and be alert to its occurrence. As they say in NY, “see something, say something.” Get involved. And remember that a single intervention rarely does the trick. We must coordinate resources to ensure that the safety and dignity of the senior is maintained and the exploitation is halted. Stay involved and remain ever vigilant. CONTENT DISCLAIMER
Read more

Recent Articles

** You should be aware that any information available from WellBeyond55, On the WellBeyond55 website or submitted by the Independent Professional may contain errors, omissions, inaccuracies, or outdated information. No warranty is made as to the accuracy, timeliness, completeness or quality of any information provided by WellBeyond55, posted on the WellBeyond55 website or provided by any Independent Professional.

You understand that all information, data or other materials ("Content"), whether publicly posted or privately transmitted, are the sole responsibility of the person from whom such Content originated. This means that you, and not WellBeyond55 (WB55), are entirely responsible for all Content that you upload, post, email, transmit or otherwise make available via WellBeyond55 or this Website. WellBeyond55 does not control the Content posted via the WellBeyond55 and, as such, does not guarantee the accuracy, integrity or quality of such Content.

You acknowledge that WellBeyond55 may or may not pre-screen Content, but that WellBeyond55 shall have the right (but not the obligation) in its sole discretion to pre-screen, refuse, or remove any Content that is available via the WellBeyond55 or this Website. Without limiting the foregoing, WellBeyond55 and its designees shall have the right to remove any Content that violates the TOS or is otherwise objectionable. WellBeyond55 does not make any representation regarding the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of such Content. In this regard, you acknowledge that you may not rely on any Content created by WellBeyond55 or submitted to WellBeyond55

You acknowledge, consent and agree that WellBeyond55 may access content if required to do so by law or in a good faith belief that such access preservation or disclosure is reasonably necessary to: (i) comply with legal process; (ii) enforce the TOS; (iii) respond to claims that any Content violates the rights of third parties; (iv) respond to your requests for customer service; or (v) protect the rights, property or personal safety of WellBeyond55, its users and the public. WellBeyond55 does not claim ownership of Content you submit or make available for inclusion on the Website. However, with respect to Content you submit or make available for inclusion on the Website, you grant WellBeyond55 a worldwide, royalty-free, irrevocable and non-exclusive license to such Content.