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Portrait of the Ideal Victim (Elder Financial Abuse)

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In my continuing crusade to protect the elderly from the clutches of those who prey upon them for a living (I'd rather rid the world of the perpetrators, but unfortunately, I don't think that's an option!), I have collected information from several reliable sources (such as state departments on aging, area agencies on aging, elder care attorneys, and so on) and compiled a list of the most common traits that perpetrators of these crimes look for when they are seeking out and stalking their next victim.

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, nor are there any hard and fast rules, but if you happen to know someone who meets even a few of these criteria, a watchful eye or some extra attention in their direction is probably in order. Maybe even more than that, such as supportive systems. One call to your local Area Agency on Aging, found in any telephone book, can do a world of good and could possibly prevent a world of hurt!

Please -- take it from me, the daughter of two such elderly victims of one of these reprehensible miscreants, better safe than sorry. MUCH better safe than sorry.

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Most Common Traits of the Vulnerable Elderly

A. The victims are predominantly female, 80 years of age or more.
B. She typically lives alone.
C. According to the Illinois Department on Aging, 75 percent of the time, she will be Caucasian
D. Quite often, she has recently lost her husband, either because he's passed away or has recently gone into a facility such as a nursing home or long-term care. Either way, the end result is the same: she's alone and lonely.
E. Moreover, her children are not readily available to her, either because she and they are estranged or simply because of geography. This is especially so in states which were viewed as the première retirement destinations, such as Florida and California.
F. With no local family and probably very few friends who are willing or able to visit her and engage her in social interaction on any sort of regular basis, she becomes more and more isolated from her community.
G. If she is unable to drive, particularly if she lives in an outlying or rural area with little or no public transportation, it becomes more and more difficult for her to get to the places she needs, such as the post office, the bank, the grocery store, or her doctors. With all normal means of transacting with the outside world out of her reach, her nutrition suffers, her health suffers, and she becomes ever more dependent and therefore ever more vulnerable.
H. If she is physically disabled or in a weakened state, this leaves her much more dependent upon the good will of others, which, in this day in age, when everyone is scrambling for extra time and extra money, is not often forthcoming.
I. If she is experiencing grief over the separation from her children or the loss of her spouse, this could cause depression or some other form of mental impairment which, in turn, could put her into a more vulnerable state.
J. If she is not accustomed to handling her own finances, if her husband always handled them, and if she lacks the knowledge or confidence to take over this responsibility, she could easily be taken in by a smiling face who offers to help.

Depression-era babies come from a different world. They expect a friendly smile to indicate an honest person and, having not grown up in the litigious world of the Baby Boomers and Generation X, seniors are less likely to take action when defrauded. Combine these two factors and you get a population less experienced with the law and the courts and therefore less knowledgeable about their rights in an increasingly complex world.

The preceding list is an excerpt from Pamela S. K. Glasner's most recently published book, "Silver and Gold -- Last Will and Embezzlement Discussion Guide." It is the companion book for the film, Last Will and Embezzlement, which examines the financial abuse and exploitation of the elderly. Glasner's goal is to increase awareness and, "God willing, to make both the film and the book obsolete."

To read more from Ms. Glasner, click here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/pamela-glasner/

Pamela S. K. Glasner is a published author and a filmmaker. You can learn more about Ms. Glasner at http://www.starjackentertainment.com/ and on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/am5mjoy

Copyright by Pamela S. K. Glasner © 2013, All Rights Reserved