This blog features a round up of elder justice related news items released in April 2013.
Proposed Legislation Targets Financial Exploitation: The U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging is focusing on fast growing financial exploitation scams that target older Americans, with the goal of bolstering enforcement and providing increased relief to victims of fraud. According to the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service, tax-related identity theft has risen over 650% since 2008.
- The U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging’s “Tax-Related Identity Theft: An Epidemic Facing Seniors and Taxpayers” is available to watch online here.
Report Finds Money Management Companies Misleading: The Government Office of Accountability (GOA) released a report this month, citing that money management firms have been offering misleading advice on how to handle retirement savings. By encouraging workers who are transitioning to new jobs to move their retirement savings into individual retirement accounts, or IRAs, rather than a 401K, these firms are able to continuously harvest large fees from the participating worker’s retirement fund.
- The full GOA report hearing from the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging is available to read online here.
Facebook Is Facing Challenges Over Elder Abuse Posts: An advocacy group out of Canada, Canada’s International Federation on Ageing, is petitioning Facebook to block hate speech against older adults, following a study from Yale University that found seniors were being victimized by ageism on the social networking website. While Facebook claims to be highly self-regulating, many researchers and aging advocates are calling for the company to do more to protect its older users.
Country Star Charged with Elder Abuse: Grammy-nominated Country singer Billy Currington was charged with elder abuse after verbally accosting an older adult. The Associated Press reports that Currington was on an island off the coast of his hometown in Georgia when he began berating the a 70 year old man and his guests, then hopped into his own boat and chased them while making violent threats. The country star turned himself in following the release of a warrant for his arrest.
Link Found Between Elder Abuse & Hospitalization: A new study has confirmed that older adults who have been psychologically abused, financially exploited, neglected are significantly more likely to be hospitalized those without a history of elder abuse. Lead by Dr. XinQi Dong at Rush University Medical Center and Dr. Melissa Simon at Northwestern University Medical Center, the study examined elder abuse reports from social service agencies from 1993 to 2010.
STATE AND LOCAL NEWS (NEW YORK STATE & CITY)
Lifespan Received Increased Funding to Address Elder Abuse from the Rochester YNN: A recently passed New York state budget has restored $245,000 for the Office for the Aging’s existing contracts in addition to an increase of $500,000 for additional services. Contracts covering intervention, professional training, and education on elder abuse warning signs will be administered by Lifespan of Rochester.
Local Center Files Elder Abuse Report: The Tarrytown Hall Care Center filed a report with the Department of Health regarding the verbal and physical abuse of an older resident by a nursing aid. Local authorities noted the incident in their records.
Rochester Woman Charged with Financial Exploitation: Multiple felony charges were filed against a woman in Rochester for spending over $17,000 of a 76-year-old woman with dementia. A local social worker notified the authorities of the suspicious transactions.
ELDER ABUSE IN THE MEDIA
Recent Reports of Elder Abuse Overlook Epidemic from the NYCEAC Elder Justice Dispatch Blog: In this blog post, our Social Media Manager, Cara Kenien describes how reporting practices on elder abuse stories all too often treat the issues as an isolated incident. Through three key examples, Cara highlights how media coverage needs to better address the elder abuse epidemic and recognize the elder justice movement.
How to Protect Your Elderly Parents From Being Scammed from the US News and World Report: This piece from the Personal Finance section offers information about what makes older adults vulnerable to financial exploitation and preventative measures to better protect parents and older family members from this type of abuse.
Senior ‘Specialists’ Often Swindlers from Forbes: Contributing writer John Wasik details how seemingly expert titles in the financial industry, like “senior specialist” and “retirement planning specialist,” can be misleading to consumers. Reiterating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s recent report on such titles, Wasik warns of this specialized form of financial abuse against older adults.
NYCEAC IN THE NEWS
Therapy for the Elderly: Finally Getting a Load Off Their Minds from The New York Times: Beginning with an overview of the prevalence of depression among adults 65 years and older, this piece looks at the benefits of therapy for older adults. Featuring quotes from Robert C. Abrams and Karl Pillemer, NYCEAC partners from Weill Cornell Medical School, this article highlights treatment practices and growing research on this subject.