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Monday, May 13, 2019


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Senior Financial Abuse-Facts and Info

How Many Elders Are Abused? According to the Department of Justice, a minimum of 1 in 9 or 11% percent of Americans over age 60 have experienced some form of elder abuse in the past year. This percentages fluctuates each year, but seems to stay in the 10-12% range.

• Many Cases Go Unreported. For every one case of elder abuse, neglect, exploitation, or self-neglect reported to authorities, it's estimated that at least five more go unreported. Why? Good question. Shame, embarrassment, helplessness are some reasons. Of course, the list is longer, but the point is that the numbers are most likely much larger than can be effectively measured.

• Who Commits Elder Abuse? Almost 90% of the elder abuse and neglect incidents are with a known perpetrator, such as the trusted caregiver. The perpetrator is many times a family member, and two-thirds of the perpetrators are adult children or spouses.

• Financial Abuse is Common. Elder financial abuse is regarded as the third most commonly substantiated type of elder abuse, following neglect and emotional/psychological abuse. While underreported, the annual financial loss by victims of elder financial abuse is estimated to be at least $2.6 billion dollars.

• Reports Increasing. As the number of elders increases, so does the problem. Adult Protective Services (APS) found that elder abuse reports have increased by 16% comparing data from 2000 with that of 2004 with the numbers increasing in 2005 through 2011.

• Death Rates Higher. For those elders who have been mistreated, the risk of death is 300 times greater than those who have not been.

• Who is at risk? Women and the very elderly are the most at risk. Elder abuse affects seniors across all socio-economic groups, cultures, and races. However, women and “older” elders are more likely to be victimized. In 2003, two out of every three (65.7%) elder abuse victims were women and in 20 of the states, more than two in five victims (42.8%) were age 80 or older. Again, the rates are higher in the later years.

                        Senior Financial Abuse, Fraud and Forensic Accounting

                                            Jim Colville, CPA, CFE                                                 San Diego, California

                                                           James M. Colville, CPA, CFE