Kansas Works to Prevent Elder Abuse

DownloadSeveral Kansas agencies, including The Office of the Kansas Securities Commissioner (KSC), the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) and the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) have partnered to recognize World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD).  WEAAD is presented by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization.  The organization, founded in 2006, focuses on raising knowledge and of how people can prevent elder abuse in their communities.

Elder abuse comes in many forms, The Hays (KS) Post explains in a recent article titled “Agencies encourage Kansans to help prevent elder abuse in their communities.”  Elder abuse can be physical, financial, emotional, neglect, or abandonment, with several types of abuse often inflicted at the same time. Financial abuse is generally the most common form of abuse to elders, and the cost to victims is estimated at $2.9 billion annually.

Investment fraud is an area of concern because the victims can have their life savings wiped out with little or no opportunity to recover. Investment fraud can come in many forms, the article warns. The investment might be deceptive on its face, or it could be a legitimate product or service that’s unsuitable for the senior’s situation.  Other investment problems include unregistered products, outright theft of funds, or products sold by an unlicensed adviser or broker. Investors and caregivers are urged to “investigate before investing” and to call the KSC at (785) 296-3307 to verify if the product and person selling it are legitimate and whether there’ve been any complaints against them.

Studies show that family members and caregivers are guilty of elder abuse in more than half of these cases. Anyone can, and should, report abuse of an elderly person in any of its forms—physical, emotional or financial. Isolation, loneliness and poor health can put elders in a situation of being at greater risk for these scams.

The DCF has really ramped up its focus on fiduciary abuse over the past few years and has a staff auditor dedicated to pursuing financial exploitation of vulnerable citizens with the help of law enforcement.

“It is the responsibility of every Kansan to report suspected abuse,” DCF Secretary Phyllis Gilmore said. “We strive to work closely with law enforcement and other agencies to protect vulnerable adults.”

Reference: The Hays (KS) Post (June 20, 2015) “Agencies encourage Kansans to help prevent elder abuse in their communities”

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