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Stop Abuse and Financial Exploitation

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1 Stop Abuse and Financial Exploitation
Elder Abuse Stop Abuse and Financial Exploitation

2 Who are Elder Abuse Victims?
Age – 50 and over Gender – Male or Female Ongoing Relationship with Expectation of Trust An elder abuse victim is a male or female over the age of 50 who is abused by someone with whom they have an ongoing relationship with an expectation of trust. Victims fall into a continuum from the very active and healthy to the very frail - those with severe health, mobility, and cognitive issues.   Age – OVW uses 50+ because many specialized programming at domestic violence and/or sexual assault agencies may focus on older victims who are age 50+.  The age 50+ is often used rather than 60 or 65+ for victim service delivery (especially by domestic violence and sexual assault programs) because:  Community-based domestic violence and sexual assault programs often work with victims ages 18 – 49 and need to design services and outreach specifically for older victims. Victims between the ages of 50 – 62 or 65 may have unique financial barriers to living free from abuse because they may not be eligible for TANF programs, Social Security, or aging services. 50+ is more inclusive for populations of victims who, because of poverty, lack of health care, and possible historical trauma, have a shorter life expectancy than populations who have not experienced such events. Gender:  Female and male.  While the majority of elder abuse victims are female, a significant percentage are male

3 Who are Abusers? Family members, trusted individuals Caregivers
Faith leaders “New” friends/partners Guardians or individuals with Power of Attorney Ongoing Relationships With An Expectation Of Trust May Include: Intimate partner (long-term, new relationships, late onset) -- Occurs in heterosexual and gay and lesbian relationships -- Includes dating relationships Adult children and other family members Caregivers Others in positions of authority (For example, an administrator of a trust, a representative payee, a guardian, a person with a power of attorney, etc.)”

4 Elder Abuse In general, elder abuse is any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to an older adult. Defined by age, relationship, type of abuse Victims are often on a continuum from active, to having various medical, cognitive, mobility issues

5 Older is not always Vulnerable
Unlike many other states, Minnesota's legal protections for vulnerable adults are not defined by age Vulnerable Adult is defined by law Sub. 21 Resident or inpatient of facility Receives services at or from a facility Receives services from a home care provider, or person that acts as a personal care/medical assistant Possesses a physical, mental, or emotional infirmity/dysfunction that: Impairs individuals ability to provide adequately for their own care without assistance, including food, shelter, clothing, health care, supervision; and Because of the dysfunction or infirmity and the need for assistance, the individual has an impaired ability to protect the infirmity from maltreatment.

6 Types of Abuse Physical Abuse Emotional Abuse Sexual Abuse
Causing or threatening physical pain or injury. Emotional Abuse Causing or threatening mental pain, anguish or distress with words or actions. Sexual Abuse Unwanted sexual contact of any kind including forcing an elder to witness sexual behaviors. Financial Exploitation Improper taking, misuse, or concealment of funds, property, or assets. Neglect Refusal or failure by those responsible to provide food, shelter, health care or protection, including abandonment. Physical: CAN BE: Hitting, Choking, Pushing Down Stairs etc. SIGNS: Bruises, black eyes, welts, lacerations, and rope marks; Bone fractures, broken bones, and skull fractures; Open wounds, cuts, punctures, untreated injuries in various stages of healing; Sprains, dislocations, and internal injuries/bleeding; Broken eyeglasses/frames, physical signs of being subjected to punishment, and signs of being restrained; Laboratory findings of medication overdose or under utilization of prescribed drugs; An elder's report of being hit, slapped, kicked, or mistreated; An elder's sudden change in behavior; and The caregiver's refusal to allow visitors to see an elder alone. EMOTIONAL: Can Be: Name calling, threats, intimidation Being emotionally upset or agitated; Being extremely withdrawn and non communicative or non responsive; Unusual behavior usually attributed to dementia (e.g., sucking, biting, rocking); and An elder's report of being verbally or emotionally mistreated. PSYCHOLOGICAL: Can BE: Making someone feel ‘crazy’, not trusting of self Moving or hiding items in order to cause the victim to not trust her/his own memory and judgment. Confusion, not trusting self instincts Caregiver who blames victim, says they lose things don’t remember when other signs are present ISOLATION Keeping away from cultural or religious events, other family SEXUAL: Bruises around the breasts or genital area; Unexplained venereal disease or genital infections; Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding; Torn, stained, or bloody underclothing; and An elder's report of being sexually assaulted or raped. NEGLECT Failure to provide necessities - lack of adequate food, medical care, shelter, hygiene etc. Dehydration, malnutrition, untreated bed sores, and poor personal hygiene; Unattended or untreated health problems; Hazardous or unsafe living condition/arrangements (e.g., improper wiring, no heat, or no running water); Unsanitary and unclean living conditions (e.g. dirt, fleas, lice on person, soiled bedding, fecal/urine smell, inadequate clothing); and An elder's report of being mistreated.

7 Financial Exploitation/Abuse
Misuse of a person’s money, property, or assets Using relationship to gain access to funds Theft, fraud, coercion Influence Power of Attorney, signer on accounts Abusing authority FINANCIAL: Sudden changes in bank account or banking practice, including an unexplained withdrawal of large sums of money by a person accompanying the elder; The inclusion of additional names on an elder's bank signature card; Unauthorized withdrawal of the elder's funds using the elder's ATM card; Abrupt changes in a will or other financial documents; Unexplained disappearance of funds or valuable possessions; Substandard care being provided or bills unpaid despite the availability of adequate financial resources; Discovery of an elder's signature being forged for financial transactions or for the titles of his/her possessions; Sudden appearance of previously uninvolved relatives claiming their rights to an elder's affairs and possessions; Unexplained sudden transfer of assets to a family member or someone outside the family; The provision of services that are not necessary; and An elder's report of financial exploitation.

8 Where Can This Happen? In the home: Elder abuse is often committed by someone the elder trusts: a spouse, a sibling, a child or grandchild, a friend, or caregiver. In a residential facility: Elder abuse in residential facilities, such as nursing homes and assisted living, may be committed by staff of the facility or can be any of the same group of trusted loved ones. Anywhere in the community: On a street corner, in the grocery store, at the bank, elder abuse can happen anywhere.

9 WHY? Cognitive Impairments Intimate Partner Violence
Perpetrator Characteristics and Circumstances  Isolation  Money and Property Power and Control  Cognitive Impairments: Elders who struggle with memory, reasoning and judgment are at greater risk for abuse, neglect and exploitation, because they may not realize they are being victimized or don't think anyone will believe them. Intimate Partner Violence: Elder abuse in couples may be intimate partner violence that has been going on for many years. These are partnerships in which one person has traditionally tried to exert power and control over the other through emotional abuse, physical violence and threats, isolation, and other tactics. Perpetrator Characteristics and Circumstances: Abusers often are dependent on their victims for financial assistance, housing, and other forms of support. The risk of elder abuse increases when the abuser has the opportunity and greater access to the elder's records and personal information. This is especially true when the perpetrators have substance abuse issues, financial problems, or other personal crises. Isolation: Elders who are living alone are at higher risk because they may not want to or be able to ask for help. But even elders living with others may become isolated when an abusive caregiver cuts them off from other people. Money and Property: Social security, pension, savings, and property owned by the elderly make them a target for abuse, exploitation and other financial crimes.

10 Power and Control Wheel – Abuse in Later Life
Developed by National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life Developed using traditional wheel, with elder victims Difference – privilege, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, use of family vs. use of children, isolation from cultural/spiritual beliefs and events. Abusers targets or take advantage of vulnerabilities – glasses, dentures, walker, translations Power and control dynamics are a pattern of coercive tactics used to gain and maintain power and control in a relationship. Abusers believe they are entitled to use any method necessary to get their way.  Often they set the rules to which the victim must adhere, generally using multiple forms of abuse, including financial control.  The abuser’s behavior is a choice – not caused by stress, anger, substance abuse, or prior poor relationships.  Abusers often lie, manipulate others, and justify their behavior so they are not held accountable and/or arrested for their behavior.

11 Power and Control Wheel
The is the original power and control wheel developed by the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project in Duluth – used to describe intimate partner violence relationship. Domestic Abuse Intervention Project - Duluth

12 Abuser Tactics Manipulation Lying
Using multiple forms of abuse (“tools”) to get what they want Making others think victim is confused/wrong Victim-blaming “She falls all the time” “He forgets things”

13 Warning Signs Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, and burns—often accompanied with inconsistent explanation for how they occurred Internal injuries Victim statements Dehydration Malnutrition Weight loss Poor Hygiene

14 Warning Signs Absence of needed supervision
Lack of necessary equipment or health aids Denied basic financial information Unpaid bills Asked to be a co-signer on documents  Abrupt asset transfers Abrupt changes to an important document such as a will or Power of Attorney form Sudden changes in financial situations

15 Warning Signs Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities, a sudden change in alertness, and unusual depression Bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene, and unusual weight loss Belittling, making threats, and other uses of power and control by spouses, loved ones, or caretakers Strained or tense relationships, including frequent arguments between the caregiver and elderly persons

16 Videos Elder Victims: Abused, Exploited, Alone
Minnesota video produced by Twin Cities Public Television and the Minnesota S.A.F.E. Elders Initiative An Age for Justice: Confronting Elder Abuse in America National Video Produced by WITNESS and The National Council on Aging

17 Video Clip – Ms. Mary Ms. Mary Sexual abuse Physical abuse Neglect
Financial Abuse Emotional Abuse

18 How to Help Ask Questions
1. Is someone taking or using your money without your permission? 2. Are you afraid of anyone? 3. Is anybody hurting you?

19 How to Help - Follow Up Questions
Have you or a loved one had a partner, family member, or trusted caregiver that: Embarrasses you by calling you bad names or putting you down? Looks at you or acts in ways that scare you? Destroys, damages or gives away your property? Hides details about your finances or property from you? Controls what you do, who you see, or where you go? Controls your money or legal documents without your permission? Uses your money in ways that do not benefit you? Makes all of the decisions without your input? Threatens to hurt you? Shoves, slaps, grabs or hits you? Ignores your physical, emotional or medical needs? Takes money that you need to pay your bills? Acts like everything is fine when others around me say I should be concerned?

20 How to Help – Reporting Elder Abuse
To make a report of suspected elder abuse, you do not have to know everything about the situation. It is helpful to have the following information ready:   · Name, age and address of the potential victim · Brief description of the situation · Any evidence of previous maltreatment · Explain how you know about the situation, your relationship to the elder · Name and address of alleged perpetrator · Location of the incident(s) · Current injuries, medical problems, or behavioral problems · Names of relatives or concerned parties in or outside the home · Your name and contact information

21 How to Help – Reporting Elder Abuse
If you suspect that you or someone you know is being abused, neglected or exploited, call: YOUR Adult Protection NUMBER HERE The Senior LinkAge Line® at to contact your county’s Adult Protection office. If the elder is in crisis or danger, call Otherwise, make a report with local law enforcement. If the elder is living in a long term care facility, contact the Ombudsman for Long Term Care at

22 Prevalence 1,000,000 – 2,000,000 adults in later life in U.S. are victims of abuse1 1 in 10 persons over the age 60 are victims of elder abuse2 Victims of elder financial abuse in U.S. lose close to $3 Billion each year3 1National Center of Elder Abuse:2005 Elder Abuse Prevalence and Incidence 2 National Institute of Justice: Elder Abuse as a Criminal Problem 3 Blancato, Robert: Violence Against Older Women and The Elder Justice Act; 3/04/12

23 Growth of Older Adults The Administration on Aging expects that by 2030, the U.S. population over age 65 will have doubled from 2000, with older adults representing 19% of the population.

24 MN S.A.F.E. Elders Initiative – Stop Abuse and Financial Exploitation

25 S.A.F.E. Elders Initiative
Led by the Anoka County Attorney’s Office and began in early 2012 Collaboration of agencies joined to address abuse and exploitation against adults in later life. Mission - to increase knowledge of and access to services for adults later in life who are victimized through abuse and/or financial exploitation, by the production of a Minnesota-focused educational toolkit and video.

26 S.A.F.E. Elders Initiative
Anoka County Attorney Blue Earth County Attorney Alexandra House, Inc. Carver County Attorney Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid Cass County Attorney Center for Elder Justice and Policy, William Mitchell College of Law Hennepin County Attorney Isanti County Attorney Office of Justice Programs Lake County Attorney Dakota County Attorney Lake of the Woods County Attorney Clay County Attorney Mille Lacs County Attorney Sherburne County Attorney Morrison County Attorney  AARP Nicollet County Attorney Aging Services of Minnesota Nobles County Attorney Allina Health Olmstead County Attorney Crest View Senior Communities Ramsey County Attorney Care Providers of Minnesota Scott County Attorney Minnesota Bankers Association St. Louis County Attorney Minnesota Attorney General’s Office Swift County Attorney Minnesota Commerce Department Wadena County Attorney Wells Fargo Advisors Winona County Attorney  MN County Attorneys Association Wright County Attorney Urban County Attorneys Association

27 S.A.F.E. Elders Initiative
Available Materials: Website - Includes handouts, presentations, and resources Video – Elder Victims: Abused, Exploited, Alone 26 minute documentary available free of charge through includes discussion guide and facilitator notes Law Enforcement Mobile App Download SAFEMN through Android or Apple Prosecutors Trial Notebook Available to prosecutors through the MCAA website

28 Acknowledgements/References
OVW Victim-Centered Response to Abuse in Later Life National Coalition on Abuse in Later Life National Center of Elder Abuse National Council on Aging Office for Victims of Crime National Institute of Justice: Elder Abuse as a Criminal Problem Blancato, Robert: Violence Against Older Women and The Elder Justice Act

29 Questions Contact: YOUR NAME

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