It is somewhat cliche to claim that a social problems is under-appreciated or misunderstood. But if any issue fits that bill, then it is senior financial exploitation. According to many reports of the problem, odds suggest that virtually all New Yorkers know someone who is affected by this problem–though the senior may never report the mistreatment. According to most estimates, every year a staggering $3 billion is lost by seniors who are exploited financially. This is not an isolated problem. If affects seniors of all income levels and in various living situations.
The New York City Council’s Committee on Aging chairperson explained recently that elder abuse is “a nearly silent epidemic due largely to underreporting and lack of public awareness.’
A Push for Protection
Considering the scope of the abuse, it is no surprise that elder care advocates are pushing for additional support to combat the problem. As the Epoch Times reported last month, many of those advocates are calling for increased public funding to better protect particularly vulnerable seniors.
As a recent NY City Council meeting, representatives from at least twelve senior support groups called for increased funding for elder abuse prevention programs. In the current year, about $800,000 was allocated for these programs. However, considering the widespread nature of the problems, the groups are asking for more support. This is particularly important in NY, because we have the third largest number of senior residents of any state in the country. Changing demographics are set to increase the population even more in the coming decades.
The exploitation does not just affect the pocketbook. Reports indicate that seniors harmed by financial abuse and mistreatment are 300% more likely to die within a few years of the harm when compared with their unaffected peers. In other words, financial exploitation has an extreme effect on a senior’s overall well-being, and it is a problem that can ruin one’s last years.
Make no mistake, elder financial exploitation is a serious crime that can turn one’s golden years into a nightmare. While it is impossible to guarantee that you or a loved one will never be affected, prior planning can go a long way to minimize the risk. Those affected often do not have full elder law estate plans in place. In addition, victims frequently have no professional oversight of their affairs, making it easier for problems to go undetected for an extended period of time. In most cases, stolen funds are spent immediately, meaning that it is rare for a victim to ever recover lost money, even after the problem is identified.
For help with creating a long-term financial protection plan, contact experienced professionals today.