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Elder Financial Exploitation is a crime that has been called the Crime of the 21st Century. The Area Agency on Aging District 7 (AAA7) and its regional longterm care ombudsman program encourages the public to understand more about this issue and learn how to take steps to prevent financial exploitation.

Financial exploitation is the illegal use of the money or property of a senior or disabled adult for another person’s profit. It occurs when a senior or disabled adult is tricked, persuaded or forced into handing over money or property to a son, daughter, other relative, professional caregiver, or a stranger. Unfortunately, it happens more often than you may think. A recent study found that financial abuse is reported in only 1 of every 44 cases. This means that criminal exploitation goes undetected and unaddressed in 43 of every 44 instances.

Financial exploitation can occur anywhere, in the home, in nursing homes, or other longterm care settings and anyone can be a victim. It crosses all socioeconomic groups, cultures and races. Statistically, women and older adults are most likely to be victimized. Dementia is a significant risk factor. Mental health and substance abuse issues of both abusers and victims are strong risk factors. Social isolation can also contribute to risk.

A free presentation in Greenfield will be available on Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 11 a.m. for the community to learn more about financial exploitation, the risk factors, and tips on how to avoid it. The event will be held at the Greenfield Senior Nutrition Site, 1230 Greenhills Village Dr. The information is being presented by the AAA7 Regional Long-Term Care Ombudsman Department through a grant from Healthpath Foundation of Ohio.

For more information about the presentation, call the department at 1-800-582-7277, ext. 21151, or e-mail [email protected]

Your local Area Agency on Aging District 7, Inc. provides services on a non-discriminatory basis. These services are available to help older adults and those with disabilities live safely and independently in their own homes through services paid for by Medicare, Medicaid, other federal and state resources, as well as private pay. The AAA7’s Resource Center is also available to anyone in the community looking for information or assistance with longterm care options. Available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., the Resource Center is a valuable contact for learning more about options and what programs and services are available for assistance.

Those interested in learning more can call toll-free at 1-800-582-7277. Individuals can speak directly with a specially-trained agency staff member who will assist them with information surrounding the programs and services that are available to best serve their needs. The agency also offers an in-home assessment at no cost for those who are interested in learning more. Information is also available on www.aaa7.org, or the agency can be contacted through email at [email protected] The agency also has a Facebook page located at www.facebook.com/AreaAgencyOnAgingDistrict7.

Submitted by Jenni Dovyak-Lewis director of community outreach and training, Area Agency on Aging District 7, Inc.

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