Financial exploitation of vulnerable (particularly elderly) adults is on the rise. No surprise, with the increased aging of the population. A recent interesting article on financial exploitation in Olmstead County appeared in the Post Bulletin.
What can you do if a family member, friend or neighbor appears to be the victim of financial exploitation?
- Talk to the elderly person about it. See if you can find out the circumstances surrounding what appears to be exploitation. Is a new “friend” asking the elderly individual for money? Try to get a better sense of what is going on.
- Report your suspicions (or the details you found out from your conversation with the elderly adult) to someone. Start with Social Services in the county in which the adult resides. File a report with the police. Contact family members and let them know.
- Contact an attorney to discuss the potential need for court involvement – in the form of a guardianship and/or conservatorship for the elderly adult.
Looking for a great resource on elder law issues and the courts? Check out the Center for Elders and the Courts website. It has a wealth of information on aging, guardianships, legal issues affecting the elderly, exploitation, elder abuse and more. It’s definitely worth bookmarking as a resource on these types of issues.
On March 2, 2011, 90 year old entertainer Mickey Rooney testified before the Senate Committee on Aging, urging them to pass bills to end elder abuse. Mr. Rooney alleges that he has been abused by his step son for years. Mr. Rooney described being scared, disappointed, angry and overwhelmed. He testified that he couldn’t believe it was happening to him. He described being in control one minute and the next minute having lost control. Mr. Rooney said that the abuse came out of no where. At first it was small and he felt he could control it, but then ” it became something sinister”. He testified that he knew his money had been taken and when he asked for information, he was yelled at and told he couldn’t have any, that it was none of his business. Mr. Rooney said that eventually he was stripped of the ability to make even most basic decisions and that his “daily life became unbearable”.
His testimony is very emotional and powerful and can be viewed in it’s entirety on the Senate Special Committee’s webpage.