Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions
Citizens, Service Providers Urged to Report Elder Abuse

Press Release Date:  Monday, June 15, 2009  
Contact Information:  Kelly May, Public Information Officer
502.573.3390 x252
800-223-2579 x252
kelly.may@ky.gov
 


   FRANKFORT, KY (June 15, 2009) — Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, and now is the time to value and protect Kentucky’s seniors by reporting possible abuse.

   Elder abuse can occur in many forms — physical, financial, emotional, neglect or abandonment — and often several types of abuse can be inflicted at the same time. Financial abuse is considered the most common form of abuse to elders, costing victims an estimated $2.6 billion a year. Investment fraud is an area of particular concern, as victims can see their life savings depleted with little opportunity to recover and achieve financial stability.

   To combat this problem, the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office and the Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) are partnering to urge citizens to report possible elder abuse or financial exploitation.

   “Elder financial abuse is becoming the crime of the 21st century as the growing senior population is increasingly targeted,” said Attorney General Jack Conway. “Studies show that family members and caregivers are the culprits in more than half of these cases. Anyone can — and should — report abuse of an elderly person, whether it is physical, emotional or financial.”

   The Attorney General and DFI are co-sponsors in a coming event to inform financial institutions, attorneys and caregivers when and how to report suspected elder abuse or financial exploitation. The Protecting Vulnerable Adults summit will take place June 24-25 in Frankfort, Ky. Attendees will learn about the effects of abuse and exploitation; current problems and scams; and ways to work together to eliminate abuse in Kentucky. To register for this event, or for more information, call 800-500-0100.

   “Abuse can be more than physical,” said DFI Commissioner Charles Vice. “Those who lose their life savings suffer a physical and emotional toll as well as a financial toll. Victims may become fearful, develop health issues, become depressed and even consider suicide. Financial abuse should be reported promptly to the proper authorities.”

   Securities or investment fraud should be reported to DFI’s Securities Division at
800-223-2579. Other types of elder abuse should be reported to your local office of the Department for Community Based Services’ Division of Protection and Permanency at 800-752-6200 or visit http://chfs.ky.gov/dcbs/serviceregions.htm for regional contacts. If an elderly person has been the victim of a consumer scam, they may contact the Office of the Attorney General at 1-888-432-9257. The Office of the Attorney General also operates an Elder Abuse Hotline, 1-877 ABUSE TIP (1-877-228-7384). You may also report abuse through the national Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116.

   The message about elder abuse prevention is being shared nationally through a Kentucky-produced advertisement that is currently being shown in movie theaters. Through the National Center on Elder Abuse, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services has entered into a contract with the Screen Actors Guild to show a 15-second informational piece before movies in June. It is expected to be viewed by 2.8 million people nationwide.

   DFI is an agency in the Public Protection Cabinet. It supervises the financial services industry by examining, chartering, licensing and registering various financial institutions, securities firms and professionals operating in Kentucky. DFI’s mission is to serve Kentucky residents by maintaining a stable financial industry, continuing effective and efficient regulatory oversight, promoting consumer confidence, and encouraging economic opportunities.

   The Office of the Attorney General investigates elder abuse complaints at adult-care facilities in Kentucky. Since being elected in 2007, Attorney General Conway has tripled the number of elder abuse investigations. In addition to investigating elder abuse allegations, the office travels across the Commonwealth educating seniors about how to protect themselves from financial scams. Investigators also follow up on any reports the office receives from residents who believe they’ve been victimized by companies or scam artists that have violated Kentucky’s consumer protection laws.

##