As the overall population in the U.S. continues to get older, more people are becoming victims of elder financial abuse. The federal government and many state governments are trying to stop it.
The epidemic of financial abuse against older people has gone mostly unnoticed by policymakers for a long time. It has always been a problem and it has grown much worse in recent years.
It is of particular concern because, while younger people who have been victims of scams and theft have time to earn more money, elderly retired people often cannot just go back to work and make more money. Once the money is stolen from them, it is often gone for good.
Despite this situation, only limited action has been taken to strengthen laws against elder financial abuse. Many courts and prosecutors have preferred to treat it as a private, family matter.
That is starting to change, as The New York Times reports in “Declaring War on Financial Abuse of Older People.”
Thanks to the efforts of activists and elder law attorneys, lawmakers are taking more notice of the issue. Last year, it was addressed in 33 state legislatures and proposals are currently pending in the Congress to toughen the law.
Some of these efforts are meant to help prevent the abuse from happening and to see that it is reported when it does. Other efforts are focused on making sure that elder financial abuse is treated appropriately as a criminal matter.
This war on elder abuse is only getting started and has a long way to go. However, it is good that it is picking up momentum.
Reference: New York Times (April 14, 2017) “Declaring War on Financial Abuse of Older People.”
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