EDUCATING SENIORS PROJECT: ALERTING CONSUMERS TO THE RISKS OF ELDER FINANCIAL ABUSE
By JenniferWilkerson, Esq.*
The systematic financial abuse of seniors is an issue of increasingly serious concern for California. Among the victims, women are at higher risk of elder financial abuse than men. Seniors who live alone are most vulnerable, particularly if they require in-home care or other assistance to remain in their residence. The average age of a financial abuse victim is over 80 years of age.1 The risk of financial mistreatment is also highest for white and African American women.2 Isolation, especially following a recent loss, as well as a lack of familiarity with financial matters, are additional factors which increase an older person’s risk of being a victim of financial abuse.3
Education is a key strategy in the prevention of elder abuse. Financial abuse is uncovered more frequently by friends, neighbors, and family members-compared with physical elder abuse and neglect which often first come to the attention of health care professionals and law enforcement.4
The Educating Seniors Project (the "Project"), sponsored by the Trusts and Estates Section of the State Bar of California, informs seniors, their families, and the community about laws and resources for protection against elder financial abuse, including the latest "scams."