I was fascinated and thrilled by a recent discussion in the Elder Care Professionals group on Linkedin. The discussion, Elder abuse can happen to anyone. Do you know the warning signs? sparked a conversation with 49 comments! The original article, posted by Judy Heft, highlights a case study with a 101 year old man who was financially abused by his home caregiver. The article concludes with a list of warning signs to look out for to prevent future cases of elder abuse.
Financial abuse falls under the umbrella of financial exploitation, which is defined by the NYC Elder Abuse Center as involving the unauthorized or improper use of funds, property, or assets. This can include coercing the change of a will, bank account, or property transfer, using cash or credit cards without permission or knowledge, and/or forging signatures on checks. (Click here to read about this and other forms of elder abuse.)
Of the 49 comments generated by the discussion, some were stunning observations, some included painful personal and/or professional financial abuse cases experienced by group members and others continued the debate about what financial elder abuse entails and ways to restore an older adult’s future after they have experienced abuse. Many comments pointed to factors, such as isolation or perception of an older adult being unable to manage their own finances, that make older adults vulnerable to financial abuse. This discussion was important because elder financial abuse cases are complicated and can be prevented by professionals working in various ways in the elder justice field. The more aware we are of the signs of elder financial abuse, we can prevent future cases, respond to existing cases by recognizing, intervening or making referrals and help raise awareness among the general public about these important issues.
Several LinkedIn group members offered great resources:
A grass-roots organization aimed at connecting people of all ages to identify, prevent & eliminate elder abuse. This organization features resources & helpful links on their website.
Bennett Blum, M.D.
An internationally acclaimed physician specializing in both forensic psychiatry & geriatric psychiatry.
A webcast, Financial Abuse of the Elderly
This webcast, by Morningside Ministries, is available by visiting http://www.mmlearn.org/index.php/online-videos.html & clicking on the podcast title.
OMG I’m Getting Older and So Is My Mom
A podcast featuring Mary Jones, Executive Director of the Elder Rights Center of the Area Agency on Aging, talking about elder fraud, abuse & exploitation.
Paul Greenwood, San Diego District Attorney
A video featuring Mr. Greenwood speaking about elder abuse & exploitation.
Undue Influence: An Insidious Form of Elder Abuse
A guest blog written by Lisa Nerenberg & featured on the NYC Elder Abuse Center’s Elder Justice Dispatch Blog.
This vibrant and engaging discussion highlights the value that I have found from being a member of the Elder Care Professionals LinkedIn group. I appreciate the resources and insights that are shared and have learned from my fellow group members.
by Cara Kenien, LMSW, MPA, Social Media Manager, NYCEAC