Financial elder abuse may be fastest growing type of crime in U.S.
By Hook Law Center
A study conducted by the Journal of General Internal Medicine revealed that 60 percent of the Adult Protective Services (APS) cases concerning financial abuse across the country involved an adult child of the elderly individual. Sadly, a considerable amount of financial abuse is carried out by family members under various pretenses or justifications.
The majority of the victims of financial elder abuse range in age from 80 to 89, live alone and are attempting to keep their independence. While women are twice as likely to be victimized as men, elderly men also suffer abuse. The generation prior to the baby boomers is living longer, in large part due to advances in medical science. As a result, they are more reliant on caregivers.
Unfortunately, many such crimes are often unreported because the elderly person is too embarrassed or afraid. The senior may also be afraid of being alone. However, the depletion of their savings can result in a serious threat to seniors’ health and well-being.
According to a study carried out by MetLife, the cost of financial elder abuse is estimated to be approximately $2.9 billion annually, and is increasing. Financial elder abuse is receiving more attention than it has in the past, and in 2014 the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) distributed a guide to help the staff at assisted living and nursing facilities provide better protection for those in their care by thwarting and focusing on financial abuse. The guide offers assistance to staff in noticing and reporting financial abuse committed by relatives or other persons who manage the senior’s finances.