Through Friday, Maryland is hosting Protect Week, to help protect against elder financial abuse.

That’s when someone illegally uses an older adult’s assets without permission.

Jacke Schroeder is the director of elder abuse awareness and provides services to the survivors at CHANA in Baltimore. She said sometimes scammers target seniors with reduced mental capacity.

And if they lose their small monthly Social Security checks, it can be devastating.

“They can often end up in the emergency room because they didn’t have their medicine, they didn’t have food,” said Schroeder. “We are spending billions of dollars on medical expenses for people who are ending up in those situations.”

Protect Week kicks off on Monday with a virtual event, featuring state Attorney General Brian Frosh and Comptroller Peter Franchot, along with representatives from Adult Protective Services and the Department of Labor.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is Wednesday, June 15. AARP Maryland will also host experts for a tele-town hall then on spotting and stopping problems.

AARP Maryland’s Associate State Director of Outreach Jennifer Holz said loved ones should watch for signs – like sudden defensiveness, especially when asked about who they’re speaking to on the phone.

“Another one would be an older adult going into a bank with an individual and withdrawing all of their funds from their account,” said Holz. “That’s very, very unusual. When you start seeing a lot of money missing from accounts, you should definitely be looking out for that.”

She said when older adult starts to experience cognitive decline or an inability to manage their finances, they can be much more vulnerable.

Throughout the week, AARP is hosting paper shredding, to safely dispose of sensitive documents. For more information, or to connect to the online events, go to AARP Maryland’s Facebook page.


Emily Scott/Maryland News Connection

Emily Scott is a reporter and producer in Philadelphia. She previously worked at WHYY, Philadelphia’s NPR station, and is a 2018 graduate of Temple University and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. https://twitter.com/emilyivyscott

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