Elder Abuse Awareness Day


Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Elder Abuse Awareness Day

                June 15th, 2024 is designated as Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Elder abuse is defined by the U.S. Administration for Community Living as “any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult.” To do our part in bringing awareness, we wanted to focus on financial abuse seniors can experience.

                While elder abuse can include many things like physical, sexual, or psychological abuse, financial exploitation is also common. Financial exploitation is broken up into two categories according to the U.S. Department of Justice. The first is financial abuse which is committed by someone the elder adult knows. The other is financial fraud which is committed by a stranger.

Warning signs an elder adult may be experiencing financial abuse or fraud could include:

  • The person suddenly changes their will, transfers money, or gives account access
  • The person cannot explain missing money
  • The person’s bills are going unpaid
  • Other unusual or sudden financial activity

Many people who commit financial crimes against elder adults employ charm, threats, or intimidation to gain access to funds. Worse still, it is likely the elder adult’s family member may be the one financially exploiting them. Therefore, diligence is required to catch these criminals.

                Unfortunately, there are many ways an older adult can be financially exploited. These include:

  • Someone takes a card that was provided for bills or groceries and uses it to buy additional, unexpected items for themself.
  • A lawyer convinces you to give them power of attorney so they can gain access to your funds.
  • Someone threatens to harm you if you do not give them money
  • Someone forges your signature to gain access to funds or property
  • The caretaker in charge of paying your bills fails to do so and uses the money for themself.
  • An employee in a nursing home steals money from you directly or forces you to sign a power of attorney to gain access to your accounts.
  • Someone takes you to the bank, but instead of letting you direct the bank teller, does so themselves so they can take advantage.
  • Someone with power of attorney abuses their power to steal from you.

These are just some of the scenarios elder adults can encounter that constitute elder abuse. For more resources on identifying financial elder abuse, view this helpful document provided by the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: https://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/cfpb_preventing-elder-financial-abuse_friends-family-guide.pdf

                If you suspect that you or someone you love may be the victim of elder abuse and elder financial exploitation, it is important to report it to the proper authorities. Some older adults may feel shame for being taken advantage of or worried about what may happen to the abuser, especially if that person is family. However, it is important to remember that a victim should never feel shame or blame themselves. If you live in Ohio, anyone can report elder abuse by calling 1-855-644-6277 or visiting https://aps.jfs.ohio.gov.

                Together, we can help end elder abuse and get justice for its victims.






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