Thanks to Stockman Bank and the Montana Attorney General for speaking to this issue today at a press conference at Stockman Bank.
Elder Abuse is a public health issue. It is a public health issue that impacts our grandmothers, and our grandfathers, our mothers and our dads. It steals their livelihood and hard work and diminishes their quality of life causing untold health problems and mental health issues in our communities.
Elder Abuse takes away from so many people that which with they have worked their lives for. In some cases this is verbal, emotional, neglect or other forms of abuse that we can see having a physical and emotional toll on our seniors. These issues can be tackled through continued work in our community through education and direct intervention supports that can support our senior community members.
Montana Adult Protective Services has 32 investigators that cover all 56 counties in Montana.
APS has 5 Central Intake workers processing reports received by our agency and 5 Social Services Workers that monitor State appointed guardianship cases and provide follow up on investigations closed with referrals for services. 7 of these last 10 positions are grant funded.
In 2022, APS completed 5,374 investigations of adult maltreatment. APS served over 4,300 later in life adults that were reported victims of alleged maltreatment. APS provided information and referrals to over 2,700 individuals, and provided guardianship oversight to over
Adult Maltreatment is widespread. It is estimated that
approximately 1 out of every 10 elders has experienced abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Elder abuse is significantly under-identified and underreported.
One of the main areas that seniors are taken advantage of is through financial exploitation.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported this for 2022 related to fraud and financial exploitation:
Scammers took a LOT of money. The latest FTC data book says people reported losing $8.8 billion to scams. That’s $2.6 billion more than 2021. Except the number of reports are down by half a million.
We take this exploitation seriously, and unfortunately our law enforcement and prosecution divisions are outpaced by a multi-billion dollar fraud industry. We will need to increase our efforts tenfold in prosecution and enforcement in order to even keep up with this fraud industry. We likely will have to get incredibly creative with our prosecutions and have much more public cases to make a dent in their profits.
It takes a community and a village to care for our seniors and the population is growing rapidly. To keep Montana a safe and loving place for them to live we have work to do.
On behalf of Big Sky Senior Services and our partners in this work, thank you for taking time today to recognize world elder abuse awareness day. Especially on behalf of our grandparents and our parents who we are protecting.
Executive Director, Big Sky Senior Services
Big Sky Senior Services' program the Prevention of Elder Abuse seeks to provide information to prevent fraud and abuse for Seniors in our community. It is our belief that preventing abuse and fraud leads to independence and better health.