White House initiates programs for prevention of elder abuse, fraud

rought together a panel to discuss the problems of elder abuse and how to protect senior citizens from financial fraud. “Often, victims are fearful of reporting abuse from a caregiver because the caregiver is the one they depend on for the activities of daily living,” said panelist Lynne Person, the D.C. Department of Health Care’s long-term care ombudsman. During the panel, the White House presented three initiatives that they hope to work toward, moving forward. The administration hopes these initiatives will prevent families and individuals from becoming victims to financial or personal abuse. The first initiative was that, this fall, National Institutes of Health will begin hosting workshops aimed at helping researchers and clinicians to understand, prevent and intervene in all forms of elder abuse. The second is that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will distribute materials to help banks do the same for cases of financial abuse, which will happen by the end of 2015. One panelist — Scott Dueser, who is the president and CEO of First Financial Bank — shared that his bank has already begun cracking down on elder abuse. Not only do First Financial branches partner with law enforcement and Adult Protective Services, its employees have all undergone training about how to detect abuse-related suspicious activity and how to stop financial fraud. “To date, we’ve stopped over one million dollars worth of fraud in our bank,” Dueser said. “When we see problems, families expect us to call. We’ve never had a family scream ‘privacy’ when we were doing the right thing.” Finally, the last initiative was a project funded by the Department of Justice, which will study the best ways to avoid elder mistreatment and what the best course of action is to prosecute those who attempt to take advantage of those citizens. Prosecutors will also get training to deal with situations of elder abuse. “[We] need to be proactive, not just reactive,” said panelist Elizabeth Loewy, senior VP of Industry Relations for elder fraud prevention service Eversafe.]]>

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