At least 1 in 10 Americans aged 60+ has experienced some form of elder abuse, but few cases are reported to authorities. In Bexar County, a new collaborative effort aims to crack down on crimes against its senior residents.
The Elder Abuse and Exploitation Task Force, co-founded by Texas Senator Jose Menendez and Bexar County Judge Veronica Vasquez, includes elected and government officials as well as representatives from law enforcement and the financial sectors.
Elder financial abuse is a multibillion-dollar problem. Adults ages 60 and older lost more than $835 million in 2019 to financial fraud, largely through common crimes like investment fraud, scams involving government or tech support impersonation, and romance-related scams.
Perpetrators can be strangers, but family members and caregivers can also take advantage. In fact, seniors lose even more when scammed by a friend or relative. Elder abuse can also be physical, emotional or sexual. It can involve exploitation, neglect, confinement, abandonment, passive neglect or willful deprivation.
The number of Americans age 65 and older is expected to reach 95 million by 2060 due to an aging population of baby boomers -- the largest living adult generation -- and longer average life expectancy.
How bad is the problem of elder abuse and exploitation in Bexar County? How will the new task force operate and what kinds of elder abuse will be prioritized? How were members chosen and what are they responsible for?
What are some best practices to keep your aging loved one's finances intact? As a senior, what can you do to protect yourself? How should you report allegations of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation, and what happens after the report is filed?
What should seniors and their loved ones know about potential abuse and exploitation? What local resources are available?
- Sen. Jose Menendez, state senator for District 26 and task force co-creator
- Judge Veronica Vasquez, Bexar County Probate Court 2 and task force co-creator
- Lisa Diven Brown, regional attorney in the Adult Protective Services division of the Texas Department of Family Protective Services
- Sandra Sullivan, senior vice president of fraud management for Frost Bank
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*This interview was recorded on Thursday, February 27.