Financial abuse and exploitation of older Americans is on the rise, according to a new survey recently released by the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers.
The survey, which also identified theft of money by family, friends, neighbors and caregivers as the most common types of abuse, comes on the heels of President Obama’s call for a new $25 million initiative to combat elder abuse as part of his budget.
NAPGCM surveyed 325 professional geriatric care managers in California and across the country about their experiences with financial abuse in their work with seniors. Major findings of the survey include that 71 percent of the care managers reported that financial abuse and/or exploitation of the elderly is a growing problem in their communities.
The top 5 types of financial abuse most commonly encountered are:
“Financial abuse of seniors is a disturbing and growing problem in our community. Families need to know the warning signs so they can protect their loved ones,” said Liz Caldwell, program manager at Elder Options in Placerville
According to the National Adult Protective Services Association, one in 20 older adults indicated some form of perceived financial mistreatment occurring in the recent past. Most financial abuse goes undetected, as NAPSA estimates only 1 in 44 cases are reported. So it is crucial that family and loved ones know the warning signs. The NAPGCM survey asked professional geriatric care managers to identify the most reliable “red flags” that a senior might be the victim of financial abuse or exploitation.
The top five red flags identified are:
The survey, which was conducted March 4-8, also identified a number of emerging schemes professional care managers are seeing more frequently now in their communities, including:
Financial abuse of the elderly carries a major and direct cost to taxpayers as almost one in 10 financial abuse victims will turn to Medicaid as a direct result of their own monies being stolen from them. And President Obama’s budget plan released earlier this month contains a new $25 million effort to reduce elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation. The initiative would fund grants to states to pilot a new abuse reporting system and improved research to understand and prevent elder abuse.
To find a professional geriatric care manager in your community please visit the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers website caremanager.org and click on “Find a Care Manager.”