As our candidates for political office make promises that history suggests they have difficulty keeping, do they continue to ignore a looming crisis which will eventually affect everyone?
Their focus on the immediate demands of increasing poll numbers, pandering to the media, pledging patronage to each and every special interest group, and of course raising funds doesn’t leave much time for bringing attention to issues that are just too challenging to address. I can find little in their web pages that addresses the growing predatory activities on our elderly population’s finances — a population we all have an interest and connection through our aging parents and grandparents. Plus, it is inevitable that eventually we will all be there someday.
As our population ages we will soon be facing a multitude of issues related to the challenges faced by the elderly. In an historic first, G20 weighs ageing as global risk: “Longer life-expectancy and sliding birth rates, particularly among wealthy nations, have resulted in a rapid expansion of the elderly population… By 2050, the world is projected to have more than two billion residents aged 60 and above, more than double the number in 2017, OECD says.”
Is it any surprise since almost ten years ago Acierno et al. reported in their 2010 study on National Elder Mistreatment for the American Journal of Public health that, “One in 10 respondents reported emotional, physical, or sexual mistreatment or potential neglect in the past year. … Our data showed that abuse of the elderly is prevalent.” Among the many categories of Elder Abuse, they further found that financial exploitation by family members in the last year “…was approximately 5%.”
Study after study rings the alarm regarding the financial abuse of the elderly:
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, “Financial exploitation of older adults, which was explored only minimally in the initial studies, has recently been identified as a virtual epidemic and as a problem…”
The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners tells us: “…those over the age of 65 are more likely to have lost money due to a financial scam…”
The National Council on Aging reports “In almost 60% of elder abuse and neglect incidents, the perpetrator is a family member.” “While likely under-reported, estimates of elder financial abuse and fraud costs to older Americans range from $2.9 billion to $36.5 billion annually.”
National Council on Elder Abuse writes “…family members were the most common perpetrators of financial exploitation of older adults…”
Manchester Safeguarding Adults Board tells us “…with children it tends to be financial abuse, justified by a belief that it is nothing more than the ‘advance inheritance’ of property, valuables and money.” They define Financial and Material Abuse as including “…theft of money or possessions, misuse of someone’s benefits or finances, exploitation, fraud, pressure in connection with financial matters.”
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) provides some reasons for these abuses: “Victims often have to decide whether to tell someone they are being hurt or continue being abused by someone they depend upon or care for deeply.”
In “Preparing for poverty: America will face a retirement funding crisis” for The Hill I discussed the dark financial cloud hovering over current and future generations of retirees.
The GAO in their report on Elder Justice, GAO-19-365, states: “According to DOJ officials, federal law contains no statutes that criminalize abusive behavior toward older adults specifically.” It further details that “it is now unusual to see a mass-marketing fraud scheme that does not have an international component” which can only be effectively addressed by law enforcement at the federal level.
As we all approach our “golden years” isn’t it the expectation of the people for their government to “effect their safety and happiness” as stated in our Declaration of Independence? Is not our government responsible for the duty to “promote the general welfare” as tasked in the Constitution?
I wonder if the candidates for political office can take the time out of their busy schedule promising everything to everyone while soliciting funds to fill their coffers to identify what they propose or even have accomplished as legislators to address how this country will deal with a growing elderly population crisis and to shield our growing elderly population from those who abuse and prey on their financial wellbeing.
John M. DeMaggio retired after 30 years of service as a Captain from the U.S. Naval Reserve Intelligence Program. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Forensic Science from John Jay College and a Master’s of Science from Whiting School of Engineering, Johns Hopkins University. Privately consulting in counterterrorism, forensic science, and investigations, he also conducts international counterterrorism training, having retired as a Special Agent in Charge and serving as Co-chairman, Investigative Support and Forensic Subgroup, TSWG, developing interagency counterterrorism technology. He is also an op-ed contributor for The Hill. He previously published “Mitigation of Terrorist Effects on Victims’ Motivation” in U.S. Army Counterinsurgency Center Colloquium. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.