Leave Feedback

Understanding financial elder abuse: Crime, shame and solutions

Sue Daugherty • Jul 2, 2014 at 10:20 AM

On Oct. 10, Serving Our Seniors will take on the issue of financial elder abuse.


The U.S. Department of Justice Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force defines it like this: Elder fraud — The act targeting older adults in which attempts are made to deceive with promises of goods, services or financial benefits that do not exist, were never intended to be provided or were misrepresented. Elder exploitation — The illegal or improper use of an older adult’s funds or property.

It’s a problem — a big problem. That’s why Serving Our Seniors invites all who are interested in learning more about this crime to register for our upcoming symposium, Understanding Financial Elder Abuse: The Crime, The Shame & The Solutions. This event is for professionals and senior citizens alike. It will be 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 10, at the Kalahari Convention Center.

For those seeking continuing professional education credits, the cost is $100. If a professional would like to attend but does not need continuing education credit, the cost is $50. Serving Our Seniors is providing 75 seats, at the cost of a refundable $10 deposit, to Erie County residents age 60 and older. Once we confirm the senior citizen’s participation, the $10 deposit is refunded at the conclusion of the symposium.

Taking substantive action to stop financial elder abuse requires trusted professionals from Erie County and throughout Ohio to become better educated on this issue. Trusted professionals are: accountants, CPAs, professionals who work in financial institutions, insurance agents, financial planners, attorneys, law enforcement, doctors, nurses, social workers and nursing home administrators.

Each of these professions, in their own unique way, have probably witnessed dubious behavior and suspected elder fraud/exploitation— yet did nothing. This response is common.

Very few communities have expertise in responding to reports of financial elder abuse. This inaction lends itself to allowing perpetrators to continue their “craft” and victimize others. The perpetrators know most people don’t want to report anything; they don’t know what to report, nor do they know to whom they should report. Perpetrators also know their criminal behavior is more often seen as a “civil matter; therefore, the abuse is not likely to get the attention it deserves. To combat this problem, professionals who attend the symposium will learn about:

•The Ohio Elder Justice Act and how it will change who is required to report suspected financial elder abuse; and what it means for Ohio

•A trusted professional’s role and responsibilities to prevent or respond to suspected elder fraud and exploitation

•The mind of the perpetrator and the mind of the victim of financial elder abuse

•The legal and the medical interventions to needed to stop financial elder abuse

•Creating a civic response to stop financial elder abuse

Taking substantive action to stop financial elder abuse will also require senior citizens become better informed.  A special lecture series has been created to protect the 60 and older population from this abuse.

This lecture track explains:

•What is a Financial Power of Attorney and how others can misuse that power to steal from the very one they are supposed to protect.

•An older adult’s rights and that competent older adults cannot be institutionalized against their will — even if they have been a victim of elder exploitation or fraud.

•Only when we know better, can we do better. Visit servingourseniors. org and register today. If you are a professional and you have colleagues throughout Ohio, encourage them to attend, too.

This problem is not unique to Erie County.

It’s everywhere.

Together we can create a more compassionate community that supports aging independently — and with dignity. It starts with education.

Ask Serving Our Seniors

Q: I’m a retired Erie County resident and my retirement income and savings do not afford me to replace my roof. Who can help me?

A: We have a small fund for roof replacement. Call Serving Our Seniors and request an application. The applicants who truly lack the resources to replace their own roofs will be considered. Those whose roofs are in the most critical need of being replaced will be selected. For more information, call Serving Our Seniors at 800-564-1856.

Q: I’m 77 and I live in Erie County. I love Scrabble. Is there a Scrabble club anywhere?

A: There will be if Erie County Senior Center can attract enough interested people. The first Scrabble meet is at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 6, at Erie County Senior Center, 620 E. Water St., Sandusky. Call May McClure at 419-626-2560 for information. Bring your own Scrabble board.

Recommended for You