Kathleen Quinn, executive director of the National Adult Protective Services Association, is calling on financial advisors to help stop elder financial abuse and take the necessary steps to protect client assets.
Speaking before a SIFMA Senior Investors Forum held at the organization’s New York headquarters on Tuesday, Quinn told attendees, “You have the capacity to stop financial abuse before or as it occurs, protect clients assets, refer clients to social services to address multiple complex needs [and] address a massive public safety, public health public crisis.
Elder abuse, including financial abuse, is growing while resources to address the problem are not, according to Quinn. She then reeled off these statistics:
- One in 10 older people, or 5 million people a year, are victims of elder abuse. That’s more than the combined total of abused children (1.25 million) and battered women (2.3 million)
- Only one in 24 cases of elder abuse are reported; for financial elder abuse the ratio is one in 44 cases
- Victims of elder abuse are three times more likely than other seniors to die within a few years and four times more likely to go into a nursing home
- Elder abuse costs victims, their families, financial institutions and government billions of dollar per year, and increased government spending means taxpayers pay more
- Congress appropriated just $4 million a year on Adult Protective Services for fiscal year 2015 — (the president requested $25 million), which funnels federal funds to state and local government adult protective services programs. No appropriations were made from 2011 to 2014 even though Congress passed the Elder Justice Act in 2010 which created APS. (Other funding for elder abuse is available but not specifically earmarked for that purpose.)
- Elder abuse cases rose 87% while half the states reported cuts in spending to address those cases, according to an NAPSA 2012 survey.
Quinn appealed to her audience to help APS get the funding it needs to address the growing problem of elder abuse.
“You all can much better make the case at the federal level that APS needs resources than APS itself,” said Quinn. “We need more resources, we absolutely need more resources.”
She said it’s in the financial industry’s interest to help APS get more resources.
“As the number of reports go up you are going to be increasingly frustrated when you say ‘well they say they couldn’t take the case’ or ‘they took the case; they didn’t do anything’ and there are confidentiality frustrations around this too, ‘I reported and nobody told me if anything happened.’
“The financial services industry needs APS because clients being abused usually very often have multiple issues going on that need to be addressed and we’re the people charged with doing that,“ said Quinn.