The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), known for its regulation of products like credit cards, mortgages and student loans, is now making a foray into protection of seniors who reside in assisted living communities and nursing homes.
The agency has released a new guide to help assisted living and nursing facility staff better protect clients by preventing and addressing financial abuse and scams.
“Protecting residents from financial exploitation” helps staff recognize, record, and report financial mistreatment by family members or other trusted people handling the finances of an incapacitated adult, the CFPB said in a news release.
“Financial exploitation and scams can put seniors in danger of losing their housing and nursing care by robbing them of the money to pay for that assistance,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Today’s guide to assisted living and nursing facilities can help staff detect and protect against these troubling crimes.”
Older Americans lost at least $2.9 billion to financial exploitation by a broad spectrum of perpetrators in 2010, CFPB says. And about 5% of Americans over the age of 60 experience financial mistreatment by a family member each year, another study found.
The 40-page manual includes details how to recognize, record and report financial abuse. The CFPB’s Office for Older Americans has other guides aimed at preventing financial exploitation, as well.
“Older adults with cognitive impairments are particularly vulnerable to financial exploitation and scams, especially when seniors have memory problems or cannot keep track of finances. Even mild cognitive impairment – before full-blown Alzheimer’s disease – increases risk, and 22% of Americans over the age of 70 have mild cognitive impairment,” CFPB says.
About half of nursing facility residents, and 40% of those in assisted living facilities, have dementia, CFPB says.
Access the guide here.
Written by Cassandra Dowell