Is financial exploitation a form of elder abuse?

For example, neighbors, caregivers, professionals, and even family or friends may take money without permission, not pay the money they owe, charge too much for services, or not do what they were paid to do. Financial abuse, sometimes called financial exploitation, is a form of elder abuse. Elder financial abuse occurs when an older adult is financially exploited by friends, family, or caregivers, such as nursing home staff. This type of abuse can leave seniors penniless after decades of hard work to save money.

Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself against financial abuse of older people and take action if it occurs. For many older people, these external contacts can be sporadic and infrequent, which in turn reduces the likelihood that elder abuse will be detected and reported. California law also provides for triple damages, or triple damages, in some cases of financial abuse of older persons. For example, while bank employees are often stated to be particularly well positioned to detect financial abuse of the elderly (Coker and Little, 199), a survey of a small number of banks in New York City found that 43 percent of banks said they never reported abuse financial support of the elderly to APS and 14 percent reported it only sometimes (Heisler and Tewksbury, 199.Older people have been identified as vulnerable to undue influence when there is a close relationship in which the abuser is trusted and the older person suffers from cognitive impairments, is socially isolated or is finds himself in an important transition in life, such as widowhood (Quinn, 2000).

Because elder abuse, like other domestic ills, has generally been considered a state concern rather than a federal concern, the absence of a federal law related to elder abuse has imposed on states the responsibility of defining this activity. For example, one widely cited factor is that older people own a large proportion of the nation's wealth (Central California Legal Services, 2001; National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, 200), with 70 percent of all funds held in financial institutions controlled by people 65 and older ( Dessin, 2000). Since there were already laws mandating reporting of child abuse and establishing service systems to remedy such abuse when elder abuse was “discovered”, many states considered it appropriate to apply the same model to elder abuse as well (Anetzberger, 2000). He concludes that the problem may not be the need to reform the law or create new laws, but the need to enforce existing law.

Finally, the NEAIS report found that 83 percent of the corroborated APS reports and 92.4 percent of the sentinel reports of financial abuse involved white victims (whites constituted 84 percent of the national elderly population in 199 (National Center on Elder Abuse, 199.General Office of Accounting concluded that creating a high level of public and professional awareness of elder abuse was the most effective means of correcting elder abuse, rather than mandatory or voluntary reporting laws (U. In addition, a wholesale adoption of a model of child abuse can contribute to the infantalization of the elderly and the perpetuation of ageism, since it is erroneously assumed that the elderly are like children and lack decision-making capacity (Capezuti et al. Some may argue (though not without strong opposition) that physical abuse or neglect poses a more immediate threat to the well-being of the elderly and, therefore, need a more proactive model similar to that used for child abuse. Second, it's a term often used in state laws related to elder abuse, or sometimes in statutes related to guardianship issues.

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Erika Shipley
Erika Shipley

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