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Can You Recognize Financial Abuse of Elderly Patients?

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How adept are America's doctors and nurses when it comes to identifying investment fraud and financial exploitation of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairments?

Senior citizens have long been the target of unscrupulous investment scam artists or financial abuse from relatives; however, just one-fifth of nurses and doctors are aware they are often dealing with elderly victims of investment fraud or financial exploitation.

The results from the Investor Protection Trust’s survey of 600 physicians and nurses revealed that while they are willing to help victims of elderly financial abuse, they need more training since just 21% were aware of dealing with patients who were victims of financial exploitation.

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“Doctors and nurses must play an important front line role if we are going to do a better job of spotting older Americans who have been or are being victimized by investment fraud and other financial exploitation,” Don Blandin, president and chief executive officer of the Investor Protection Trust, said in a statement.

While nearly all doctors and nurses (92%) think that mild cognitive impairments can make seniors more vulnerable to financial abuse and 84% are

willing to refer these patients to people who could help, only 61% said they would be interested in continuing medical education credits to learn more about spotting the signs of elderly financial abuse.

“Doctors know that older Americans are not to blame if they suffer from mild cognitive impairment,” Robert Roush, MD, director of the Texas Consortium Geriatric Education Center and the Huffington Center on Aging at Baylor College of Medicine, said in a statement. “It is a medical condition that can have very serious consequences when it comes to how susceptible older Americans are to con artists and others seeking to exploit them financially.”

According to Blandin, it is imperative that state securities regulators continue working with physicians to make them aware of the symptoms of elder financial abuse and coach them on how to help. Nearly one in every five citizens over the age of 65 already have been victimized by a financial swindle.

“In a way, this is just another medical issue involving symptoms, those who suffer from it, and recommended courses of treatment,” Roush said.


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