March 1, 2012: Elder Mistreatment and Financial Exploitation
This week, we heard from Dr. Robert Wallace, Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Iowa College of Public Health. Dr. Wallace spoke about elder mistreatment and neglect. He highlighted various types of elder mistreatment as well as the complexities of efforts to track elder mistreatment. Dr. Wallace stressed the importance of research efforts to identify the people most likely to perpetrate elder mistreatment. Having demographics of likely abusers helps interested third parties better identify elder mistreatment, hopefully increasing reports of abuses.
Dr. Daniel Marson, Professor and Director of the Division of Neuropsychology in the Department of Neurology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, also spoke. Dr. Marson identified a lack of financial capacity as an early indicator of Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias. He discussed a model for determining financial capacity by studying an individual’s abilities at three levels: 1) Financial Tasks, like naming coins or prioritizing bill payment, 2) Financial Domains, like basic monetary skills and financial judgment, and 3) Global, or a person’s overall financial capacity. Since older adults hold up to $18.1 trillion dollars in wealth, Dr. Marson emphasized the issue of the financial capacity of an aging population has high stakes.