Blum Bennett MDBlum Bennett MD
Elder Financial Abuse
Elder Financial Abuse and Financial Exploitation
  
Elder abuse is a social problem of increasing magnitude in the United States, and recent research suggests that elder abuse affects 15-20% of populations in parts of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.  Millions of Americans aged 65 or older have been injured, exploited, or otherwise mistreated by someone they depend on for care or protection.  Elder abuse costs more than $2.6 billion per year.
 
Elder financial abuse, also known as financial exploitation, is a common precursor to physical abuse, elder homicides, neglect and abandonment, emotional abuse, and other crimes.  Financial abuse may occur through numerous methods, including the misuse of powers of attorney and guardianships, illegal transfers of property, misuse of a position of trust and authority, consumer fraud, identity theft and outright theft.  Nobody knows the exact incidence or prevalence of elder financial abuse, but it is estimated there may be five million victims per year.  Most cases are not reported to authorities.  As few as one out of twenty-five cases of financial abuse, and only one out of fourteen cases of all forms of abuse, are reported
 
Common concerns arising in elder financial abuse involve issues regarding: 1) the relationship between the elder and supposed perpetrator; and 2) biological factors that may impair the victim’s ability to know and understand what was happening.  If a relationship was manipulated in order to defraud or financially exploit the victim, it is important to determine whether the elements of undue influence were present.  If there was no misuse of a relationship, then the financial abuse is usually considered to be a form of theft or consumer fraud – identity theft, Internet scams, embezzlement, etc.
 
Because illness, disability, and medication use is common within the elderly population, it is often necessary to determine whether the victim’s mental capacity or competency is (or was) impaired.  Medical expertise is not always required to make this determination.  For more information, read about the PARADISE-2 protocol.  This protocol is currently taught and used throughout much of the United States, Canada, and Europe.
 
 
Dr. Bennett Blum

Telephone number 520-750-8868

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