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"Fraud": Another Word For Elder Abuse

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By Paul Hogan, Co-Founder and Chairman, Home Instead® network

Elder abuse is among the most reprehensible of crimes against seniors. Regrettably, a study by the National Research Council estimated that there are between one and two million cases of elder abuse in the U.S.1 and the Senate Special Committee on Aging has speculated that four times as many cases of abuse against older adults go unreported.2

Understandably, this subject strikes a chord – not only with organizations like the Home Instead network®, but also with U.S. Government and law-enforcement officials, senior care advocacy groups, and all those who love and care about older adults.

This was particularly evident to me in December 2005, when I served as a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA). During this conference, we were asked to vote on 73 national aging-related resolutions, picking the top 50 and ranking them in the order of their perceived importance.

Elder abuse ranked number 15 in the final list, with the resulting initiative entitled, "Create a National Strategy for Promoting Elder Justice through the Prevention and Prosecution of Elder Abuse." Consequently, the work done at the WHCoA has resulted in numerous proposed measures for identifying and dealing with this problem, including the following:

  • Expanding Adult Protective Services (APS) funding to ensure adequate case managers to investigate and prosecute elder abuse and to train workers;
  • Increasing penalties for those prosecuted for crimes against the elderly; and,
  • Developing a national adult protective office within the Department of Justice to oversee training for judges, prosecutors and law enforcement in detecting and prosecuting crimes against the elderly.

Other suggestions included enacting legislation and policy changes that will help educate the public and strengthen the justice system. In addition, WHCoA delegates also recommended that the U.S. Government provide funding for research on all aspects of the mistreatment of seniors, including financial exploitation – one of the most common forms of elder abuse.2

Unfortunately, Home Instead Franchise Owners, staff members and CAREGiversSM all too often witness this type of fraud firsthand when it is perpetrated against their clients by unscrupulous individuals who call these seniors on the telephone, knock on their doors or otherwise solicit them for fraudulent purposes.

Our mission to help keep seniors living safely and independently in their homes for as long as possible includes helping protect older adults from those trying to take advantage of them.

So the Home Instead franchise network is proud to serve as a second set of eyes to help deter tricksters and scammers. With the legacy they leave all of us, our nation's seniors are treasured commodities that deserve to be shielded from criminals and thieves – a mission we can all feel good about embracing.

1-2. 2005 White House Conference on Aging: Report to the President and the
Congress; Online at

NOTE: Paul Hogan was named the International Franchise Association's 2007 "Entrepreneur of the Year." As a Nebraska state delegate to the 2005 White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA), Hogan led a session which addressed the issue of elder abuse, helping to establish important future priorities for U.S. senior-care policies.

Last revised: March 14, 2011

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