Politics / Press Releases

Elder Financial Abuse is on the Rise, says AMAC


Learn more about it and how to deal with it

WASHINGTON, DC, Mar 17 – Incidents of elder abuse are increasing at an alarming rate across the nation, according to the U.S. Justice Department and other authoritative private and public agencies.

Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens, says the financial exploitation of seniors is a “particularly insidious form of senior abuse but that victims seem loathe to report such crimes.  Perhaps it is because the perpetrators can often be their caregivers, including family members.  In fact, while one in 20 seniors reports being a victim of crime to the authorities, there is significant evidence that many more seniors are targets.  The Justice Department points out that only one in 23 elderly victims of abuse is apt to file a complaint.”

He cites a report by the National Center on Elder Abuse that concluded: “The elderly may be reluctant to report abuse themselves because of fear of retaliation, lack of physical and/or cognitive ability to report, or because they do not want to get the abuser in trouble.”

The financial services firm, True Link Financial, says its research indicates that seniors lose some $36.5 billion a year due to financial exploitation by individuals whom they trusted with their care.

“That’s a startling amount of money but it is not only a financial loss victims face.  Many of them become morosely depressed; they can become even more dependent than they were to begin with; and, it can have negative consequences on their physical and mental health,” Weber points out.

So, what can be done when financial exploitation of an older family member or friend is discovered?  It should be reported, of course, to law enforcement officials.  But, an immediate intervention may be called for.  Seek help from organizations and agencies that deal with such matters, including eldercare.gov, the National Adult Protective Services Association and local Adult Protective Services programs.  You can also visit www.justice.gov/elderjustice/roadmap, the Justice Department’s Elder Abuse Resource Roadmap.

You should take action if a senior you know manifests a sudden change in his or her financial condition, if he or she is missing cash and/or other valuables, or if he or she suddenly makes changes in wills and/or insurance policies.

And, Weber suggests, if you are a victim of financial exploitation, do not be afraid to report it.  “And, by all means, take precautions such as asking a trusted friend or family member to help keep your financial affairs in order and by keeping in contact with those individuals.”

ABOUT AMAC

The Association of Mature American Citizens [http://www.amac.us] is a vibrant, vital senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members.  We act and speak on their behalf, protecting their interests and offering a practical insight on how to best solve the problems they face today.  Live long and make a difference by joining us today at http://amac.us/join-amac.

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32 Comments on "Elder Financial Abuse is on the Rise, says AMAC"

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Unfortunately, senior abuse is even more common than what this article states. I saw it personally in my own family when a younger brother overseeing my mothers financial affairs while dealing with dimensia altered her will to where he then purchased the family home for a meager $30,000 where the home was probably valued at between $160-180,000. This happened because I was living in California, another brother lived in Japan, another lived in Florida, and my sister lived in West Virginia. We were never notified of any of this by my mother’s attorney beforehand and unfortunately found out only after my mother passed away. My mother’s savings were completely gone in paying for caregivers and my brother said he “had” to sell the house asap to continue her care. Of course, he also failed to address any of this beforehand to the rest of his siblings. Needless to say, it… Read more »
Rik, I would agree with you that the problem is far more wide-spread than this article alludes to. The court system isn’t necessarily of much help depending on where you live. Here in the NYC metro area, there have been numerous instances of court appointed guardians who, with the full blessing of the judges overseeing these ciourt-mandated guardianships, ended up cleaning out seniors that the court had deemed “impaired”. Stories of some of these guardians charging the person’s estate $10 or $15 for use of their own cell phone each time they wanted to make a call, $50 to $100 for driving back and forth to the local grocery store using the senior’s own vehicle, etc. All while the guardian is already being fully paid for from the senior’s funds. There were numerous stories a few years ago of court appointed guardians burning through hundreds of thousands of dollars of… Read more »

But even though the rest of you did not live near, don’t you think it would have been much smarter of you all to visit her on a more regular basis and ask questions–even perhaps check in with her attorney, doctors, etc? There seems to have been 4 of you who did not live close, but couldn’t each of the 4 of you planned visits every 3 months or so and at that time doubled checked with caregivers, doctors, attorneys, and whoever else Mom had to deal with? I think that seems more responsible than leaving the care up to one person. Just wonderin’.

I couldn’t agree more. With my mother in laws situation the sons lived out of state and the sister was left to deal with the oversight of moms care etc. The 3 of them agreed to have conference calls regularly to get status reports on mom and her care and financial situation. This allowed all to stay in the loop and when the sister needed a break one if the brothers could arrange to provide some respite.
Distance between siblings doesn’t mean not having good communication.

Ladies, I spoke regularly with mom and my brother. The selling and buying of mom’s house was never brought up. Besides, doesn’t communication work both ways? I happen to think something was a little shady and could have been handled as a family instead of by my mother’s guardian who just happened to live his whole life at home with mom. My bad that I chose to trust my younger brother.

Rik,

Don’t get hung up on armchair quarterbacks trying to second guess things after the fact. Every extended family has at least one member of the family that you have to keep one eye on at all times.

Your little brother should be behind bars. And he should repay 10 times what he took for himself. He’s always been a loser and always will be.

Helluva way to finish up a good life…not much different than being left defenseless by the side of the trail for the coyotes to rip you apart.

This story is very sad and your letters are even sadder. I wish you all have good luck. Chuck, your post is very graphic. Talk of brotherly love!

Old Indian custom, for some tribes anyway…you depart the world as you arrived, helpless.

Husband and I are 68. I’m amazed at the companies we have trusted in our earlier years are now pressuring us constantly, for services, increasing charges, hidden terms…rather than realizing our income is low. Almost every offer we get has small print terms that could possibly leave us penniless. Taking advantage of us Seniors is a daily challenge. Increase in ALL charges for necessities is on rise but for us….there is no increase in our income.

Shirley you are right. We are 80 and our home was built on leased UPRR land. We have had nothing but increases which are twice that of real property taxes on our neighbors property. NOW UPRR tells me they are doubling the rent and will increase it by minimum three percent per year. They are aware we are 80 and limited income. CORPORATE GREED. Pure apathy, UPRR got the land free and they get government subsidies.

I saw this happen with my Grandfather. After my Grandmother passed away, he remarried. After he had a series of strokes, which affected his cognitive ability, his new wife convinced him to rewrite his will, giving the majority of his estate to HER family. Curiously, his previous will had “disappeared” from his safe deposit box. My Dad had to purchase the business, and the family property that he should have inherited from a bunch of people who had never invested a dime or a single hour of work into it. He lost the lake house we used to vacation at entirely. Unfortunately, I was young and my Parents shielded me from what was happening. They believed the absence of the previous will precluded them from contesting the new one. One thing I learned from all this is if anything like that were to happen to me, I’d either win the… Read more »

It’s very difficult, I have been struggling over a year, The other day I called our elder abuse hotline, I gave them my information and the details of my abuse. I explained that I no longer felt safe, that I felt threatened. They took the report, a week later they called back and said “they could not help, they felt I could handle this on my own!” It took a great deal of courage to reach out for help. It was terrifying to think that their response after a week was we can’t help you, we think you can handle it yourself! Perhaps if I was Black, or an ILLEGAL ALIEN INVADER, I could get help. I served in the military, but I’m older now and could use some help. But there is none for me!

Try contacting a local VFW or American Legion Post. They may be able to assist you or point you in the right direction. You don’t have to be retired from the military or even be a member of the organization.

So sorry to hear that. Will be prayubv somehow you will get the help that you need.

Has anyone discussed elderly abuse by contractors who do shoddy work, take partial pay and never return and you really hope they do not! This is rampant in communities near cities! Most of our elderly friends are discussing this!

I advanced a contractor for material to repair a porch with the agreement labor cost would be paid at completion of work. Three months past and contractor has not called and no answer machine on his phone.

Boy oh girl, this article as of 10 am has really got a lot of response–five as of now plus this one. Elder abuse is a problem, but seems most AMACers either aren’t concerned or are oblivious or maybe aren’t empacted.
What do you think?

I hear you Ivan. Pretty pathetic huh? I vote for oblivious. That is until it happens to them or someone they know. Then it will be “How could this happened?” Duh!

Personally, I’ve lost any expectation that AMAC would be focused on a broad range of serious issues impacting Americans. That is clearly not its focus as their solutions seem to run counter to the expectations of most members who actually post comments. Notice how most articles that run during the week and have comments counter to the position being advocated in the article never make the weekend edition? I think after last weekend’s article on AMAC backing the Ryan plan, the editors at AMAC thought they would stick with a topic not likely to get much attention as their lead article.

That last sentence of yours, PaulE says it all.

The way big pharma keeps raising key med prices seems like abuse , how about some price regulations limiting profit percentages ???????????

You have to be wary of the other side of this as well. I was accused of frauding my developmentally disabled son and developmentally disabled daughter. The court and APS won the case. Meanwhile, our son and daughter live with us. When we pay the mortgage, it pays for the roof over their heads. When we pay the electric bill, it pays for their electricity. when we pay for firewood, we are paying for their heat. When we shop for us, we are shopping for them. And it is with our car, not theirs. Two weeks after I caved in to the courts and APS, I received two letters from APS stating that they had nothing against me! I learned then that they actually had nothing at all against me and were only leaving the case against me open so they could get what they really wanted, which was control… Read more »

How about the gov’t taking away a portion of my social security to pay child support to a well to do women who has been remarried for over 45 years. The children are both in their late fourtys and early fiftys, married and very well to do. I am living on social security . This is elder abuse by the gov’t for letting this happen. The children had their names changed in a court of law while they were still minors, and while I was working overseas to support them.
Now I have no recourse

I believe in punishment. Harsh punishment for premeditated crimes. The elderly are nearly defenseless and the scum who prey on them should pay severely! Confiscate 10 times the amount they stole and 15 years behind bars. Minimum. That’s what’s needed to curb this abuse. The stats show it is rarely prosecuted!!!

Has the world gone completely MAD? This is unthinkable in my family! Abusers should be totally cut off from senior wills, Power of Attorney, etc. and sued by their victims. There’s NO excuse for Senior Abuse!

Get the social security number off the medical card. Now seniors have to carry their soc. Sec. Number on them not good. They get victimized and have their pocketbook stolen all the time. Now the thieves can also steel their identity.All my life I was told not to carry my soc.sec. Card. Now that I’m older and vulnerable its on me all the time this makes no sense. They have to issue a different number,a different system.

True and unfortunate that senior abuse is an increasing senior problem which seems to be growing at an accelerating rate. The major problem seems to be our inept and tardy legal system which seems to be more concerned with perpetuating itself than providing a safety net to our most vulnerable citizens. Anyone or organization which benefits from these abuses – whether legally or otherwise – must be promptly charged with healthy penalties. These problems exist because of greed, apparent easy pickings (by both scammers and legal professionals) and an apparent lack of protection.

Most of our medical expenses are on the elderly. If they get too incapacitated would a virtual environment be better for them during their dying months? I would not like to have to go through life where someone has to care for my bodily needs. This kind of solution could be coming in the next 20~30 years.

Ask the government for help? The DOJ? The same organization that’s still doing everything they can to hurt president Trump?

This is only touching the tip of the iceberg of what is obvious. There are a lot more ways that are used by “Educational” and “Financial” organizations, to name a few, that exploit elders and the not so elderly as well with false promises, incomplete information and down right hiding of information as well.

Who and where do we report financial abuse to ? Veterans are still being persecuted quietly under cover ! V A demands new records and reasons that were given them and they still want new reasons! We may use Government Attorneys, or Agents only ! Abuse still goes on !

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