Elder Financial Exploitation: A Strategy for Advancing Research, Theory and Policy
26 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2014
Date Written: June 9, 2014
In 2012, Attorney General Eric Holder reported that as many as 1 in 5 elder Americans were victims of financial exploitation which is defined as the illegal use or appropriation of an elder citizen’s resources. Importantly, this 1 in 5 figure does not capture the full extent of elder financial exploitation because numerous cases go unreported. For example, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius reported that for every single report of elder abuse or financial exploitation there are 24 actual cases that were not reported. Clearly, elder financial exploitation is a serious social problem that will grow in the future as the proportion of population of elder citizens continues to expand. While research has increased in recent years, empirical and theoretical understanding of this social problem remains fragmented and inconclusive. As a result, our prevention and intervention polices are without the necessary evidence-based understanding required for effectiveness. Among the major empirical, theoretical and policy questions are: What is the prevalence of various types of elder financial exploitation? What factors contribute to victimization? How do we account theoretically for such victimization? And, what can be done to prevent and reduce it? This paper responds to these questions with a review of the relevant literature on elder financial exploitation toward the end of articulating a research strategy that would advance our theoretical and empirical knowledge of this important social problem, and notably, provide the necessary evidence-based understanding needed for more effective prevention policies and practices.
Keywords: Elder, Financial, Exploitation, Life Course, Cognition, Turning Points
JEL Classification: G18, K19, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation