Stop Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation

Stop Abuse and Financial Exploitation
Who are Elder Abuse Victims?
• Age – 50 and over
• Gender – Male or Female
• Ongoing Relationship with Expectation of Trust
Who are Abusers?
• Family members, trusted individuals
• Caregivers
• Faith leaders
• “New” friends/partners
• Guardians or individuals with Power of Attorney
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
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 - 626.5572 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
• 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.
Types of Abuse
• Physical 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.
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
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
• Cognitive Impairments
• Intimate Partner Violence
• Perpetrator Characteristics and Circumstances
• Isolation
• Money and Property
• Power and Control
Power and Control Wheel – Abuse in
Later Life
Power and Control Wheel
Domestic Abuse Intervention
Project - Duluth
Abuser Tactics
• Manipulation
• Lying
• Using multiple forms of abuse (“tools”) to get what they
• Making others think victim is confused/wrong
• Victim-blaming
• “She falls all the time”
• “He forgets things”
Warning Signs
• Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, and burns—often
accompanied with inconsistent explanation for how they
Internal injuries
Victim statements
Weight loss
Poor Hygiene
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
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
• 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
Video Clip – Ms. Mary
• Ms. Mary
• Sexual abuse
• Physical abuse
• Neglect
• Financial Abuse
• Emotional Abuse
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?
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
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
· Names of relatives or concerned parties in or outside the home
· Your name and contact information
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 1-800-333-2433 to contact your
county’s Adult Protection office.
• If the elder is in crisis or danger, call 911. 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 1-800-657-3591.
• 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
• Victims of elder financial abuse in U.S. lose close to $3
Billion each year3
National Center of Elder Abuse:2005 Elder Abuse Prevalence and Incidence
National Institute of Justice: Elder Abuse as a Criminal Problem
Blancato, Robert: Violence Against Older Women and The Elder Justice Act; 3/04/12
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.
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.
S.A.F.E. Elders Initiative
Anoka County Attorney
Alexandra House, Inc.
Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid
Center for Elder Justice and Policy,
William Mitchell College of Law
Office of Justice Programs
Dakota County Attorney
Clay County Attorney
Sherburne County Attorney
Aging Services of Minnesota
Allina Health
Crest View Senior Communities
Care Providers of Minnesota
Minnesota Bankers Association
Minnesota Attorney General’s Office
Minnesota Commerce Department
Wells Fargo Advisors
MN County Attorneys Association
Urban County Attorneys Association
Blue Earth County Attorney
Carver County Attorney
Cass County Attorney
Hennepin County Attorney
Isanti County Attorney
Lake County Attorney
Lake of the Woods County Attorney
Mille Lacs County Attorney
Morrison County Attorney
Nicollet County Attorney
Nobles County Attorney
Olmstead County Attorney
Ramsey County Attorney
Scott County Attorney
St. Louis County Attorney
Swift County Attorney
Wadena County Attorney
Winona County Attorney
Wright County Attorney
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
• 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
• Blancato, Robert: Violence Against Older Women and The
Elder Justice Act
• Contact:

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