Resources aim to prevent financial exploitation of older adults

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The World Elder Abuse Awareness Day logo.
The World Elder Abuse Awareness Day logo.

Government agencies and other organizations highlighted resources to help prevent the financial exploitation of older adults on Wednesday, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging introduced two new brochures for consumers in conjunction with the observance. Financial exploitation costs older adults about $36 billion annually, according to n4a, and is becoming the fastest growing type of elder abuse in the nation.

One of the new brochures, Answers on Aging — Financial Exploitation: Safeguarding Your Money & Property, was developed in collaboration with Wells Fargo Advisors. The other, Home Improvement Scams: Tools to Reduce Your Risk, a publication of the Eldercare Locator, was developed in collaboration with the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Nora Dowd Eisenhower, assistant director of the Office for Older Americans in the CFPB, used the occasion to remind the public about publications available through the bureau. One she didn't mention but that is designed specifically for senior living operators and staff members is the 44-page “Protecting residents from financial exploitation: A manual for assisted living and nursing facilities,” which can be downloaded at no charge. Bulk copies may be ordered online at no charge as well.

Eisenhower did mention the “Money Smart for Older Adults” curriculum, developed in coordination with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which provides instructions on how to prevent elder financial exploitation. The resource guide for consumers and the training module for instructors are available online.

Also, she said, the “Managing Someone Else's Money” guides aim to help agents under powers of attorney, court-appointed guardians, trustees and government fiduciaries (such as Social Security representative payees and Veterans Affairs fiduciaries) better understand their duties and responsibilities. These guides also contain information about common signs of financial exploitation.

Eisenhower also reminded people about the FTC's “Pass it On” campaign, through which senior living residents and other older adults can educate their peers about imposter scams and five other types of fraud.

President Barack Obama, in a proclamation related to the observance, said that his administration is addressing theft, fraud and other types of financial exploitation of older adults “by providing care to survivors of abuse, transforming our nation's criminal justice systems to better understand elder abuse as a criminal issue and increasing public awareness of warning signs and prevention strategies.”

The Administration for Community Living posted links to resources on its website.

See the links below, under “Related Articles,” for additional information and resources about financial exploitation and other types of elder abuse.

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