It’s here again: Another World Elder Abuse Awareness Day today.
Here on Mind Your Body TV, we’ve made elder abuse a focus for boomers taking care of parents or other loved ones, either on the scene or from afar. Both have their own sets of challenges.
I invite you back into the archives to the following episodes (video, audio podcast and blog):
- Caregiving basics with Dr. Forrest Hong
- Elder abuse and Adult Protective Services with Stacey Lindberg
- Elder abuse and Safe Options with Cristi Dugger
- Elder Abuse with Mary Twomey of UC Irvine
Not going away
It would be so nice to tell you numbers are down, but it’s just not so, and the federal government is now getting involved: Hurray! Although no 2011 numbers are available, last year a MetLife Mature Market Institute report said Americans 60+ lost almost $3 billion to financial scammers in 2010.
Yesterday the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau posted this on its website—the agency wants your input:
“We took an important step today towards looking out for older American consumers. Director Richard Cordray announced a public inquiry to learn more about the many ways in which older Americans are financially exploited and about the best practices for elder financial management.
We want to hear from you–especially those of you working directly with seniors–about these issues. How can seniors best determine the legitimacy of the credentials of financial planners and advisors? What information do you have on what financial education, counseling, or management programs are tailored to the unique needs of older Americans, their families, and their caregivers?”
Screen professionals carefully
One key point from that announcement to share with your loved one:
“Finally, beware of someone who wants to help you out by handling your finances and be your new ‘best friend.’ If an offer of help seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
Abusers target elderly, believing they are gullible. In many cases, they may make bad decisions due to cognitive deficiencies. Elderly may also think “no one will believe me.” It’s a recipe for disaster.
According to the Los Angeles Times, financial advisers and planners, along with family members, are the main offenders. I would agree, for I’ve seen this happen with devastating consequences—from both brokers and an adviser who was anything but.
Encouraging news: The Times reported that “Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Thursday announced $5.5 million in grants to states to ‘test ways to prevent elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.’”
(Photo courtesy: © Melinda Nagy | Dreamstime.com)