It’s a specially designated day you may not have heard of yet, but will probably be hearing more about in the future. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day or WEAAD was launched almost ten years ago, on June 15, 2006, by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations.
When World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was first introduced, elder abuse issues were only just beginning to announce themselves in our society. Within the past decade, the abuse and neglect of aging citizens the world over has become a major public health and policy issue. In the US, where millions of moneyed Baby Boomers are retiring each year, an enormous new demographic may become vulnerable to predatory or irresponsible misconduct by scam artists, bad stock brokers, or greedy nursing homes.
Elder Abuse Reaching Epidemic Proportions
Nursing home mistreatment and financial fraud are two of the fastest growing forms of elder abuse in our country. According to the World Health Organization, each year around 5 million older Americans fall victim to elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Experts also believe that for every case of elder abuse or neglect reported, as many as 23 cases go unreported.
Regulators Work to Protect Elderly Investors
Investment fraud against senior citizens has recently captured the attention of the Obama administration, the US Department of Labor, and the SEC. These agencies worry that the Baby Boomer generation which has accumulated an unprecedented level of retirement wealth offers a huge and irresistible target to fraudsters. According to a study cited by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), “older Americans lost at least $2.9 billion to financial exploitation by a broad spectrum of perpetrators in 2010.”
Fortunately, resources for those wishing to educate and protect themselves against elder abuse are growing. The CFPB has issued a resource guide called “Money Smart for Older Americans,” and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has recently launched a devoted hotline for elderly investors with questions.