Survey shows slight decline in elderly financial abuse cases

Seventeen percent reported abuse, down from 20% in 2010: Investor Protection Trust

Mar 22, 2016 @ 2:43 pm

By Christine Idzelis

Seventeen percent of elderly Americans have been financially abused, a decline from six years ago and evidence that such abuse might be curbed with the help of medical professionals, according to the Investor Protection Trust.

The elderly Americans, all over the age of 65, have been victims of fraud, placed in an inappropriate investment or charged unreasonably high fees for financial services, according to a survey of 3,672 adults that was conducted over a four-day period earlier this month by Public Policy Polling for Investor Protection Trust.

“While it is still alarming to see that nearly one out of five older Americans have been victims of financial swindles, it is encouraging that doctors and adult children are more tuned into this problem,” Don Blandin, president and CEO of Investor Protection Trust, said in a statement Tuesday.

Investor Protection Trust, a Washington-based nonprofit that provides investor education, found in a similar survey in June 2010 that 20% of seniors reported financial abuse. Its effort since then to involve doctors in spotting signs of cognitive impairment that can lead to elder exploitation may be paying off.

“Working together, clinicians and investor educators are starting to make a real difference,” Robert Roush, a professor of geriatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, said in the study's statement of the findings.

The survey found that 21% of children with elderly parents reported talks with their health care providers about concerns handling money, up from just 5% in 2010.

“Knowing that there are medical conditions that increase the likelihood of success for investment swindles targeting older Americans makes enlisting their health care professionals to help spot their vulnerability to financial abuse the right thing to do,” Mr. Roush said.

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