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It’s no secret older Americans are routinely targeted as victims of financial exploitation. In fact, this fraud is widely considered “the crime of the 21st century.” And while seniors are already vulnerable to con artists and their seemingly endless scams, dementia seriously compounds the problem.
Strangers are not the only threat. In fact, the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) says perpetrators are often people in a position of trust, including family members, friends and caregivers.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, an estimates 5.5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, and unless medical breakthroughs are discovered, that number is expected to triple to nearly 16 million by 2050. As the nation ages and dementia becomes more prevalent, incidents of financial abuse will likely increase.
As a financial professional, you are on the front lines in the fight against senior financial exploitation. You can help clients with dementia avoid financial fraud and take advantage of the opportunity to showcase your trustworthy services.
Unfortunately, financial exploitation is not the only form of elder abuse. The NCEA says older Americans, especially those with dementia, are also susceptible to neglect, self-neglect, abandonment and physical, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse.
If you suspect one of your clients is the victim of elder abuse, and the danger is not immediate, contact the Adult Protective Services office in your area.
The grim reality of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is overwhelming. There is no cure and no one ever survives the disease. Those afflicted and their families have plenty on their mind without having to worry about becoming a victim of a financial crime, and this is precisely why your help is valuable.
For more information about scams targeting seniors, warning signs and other helpful resources in the fight against senior financial exploitation, visit:
- National Council on Aging
- Ageless Alliance
- National Institute of Justice
- United States Senate Special Committee on Aging