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November 14, 2011

UK Conference to Address Growing Problem of Elder Financial Abuse

By Jill Seelmeyer
November 11, 2011

Elder abuse – particularly financial abuse – is a growing problem needing greater public understanding.
To address the wide-ranging issues, the University of Kentucky Justice Center for Elders and Vulnerable Adults will hold an elder abuse conference on Monday, Nov. 14. The conference, “Broken Trust: Elder Financial Abuse” to held at UK Chandler Hospital and will focus on education and awareness.
“The greatest thing would be public awareness,” said Pamela Teaster. Another focus is “to promote the Justice Center, get people involved, get people on board,” she said.
 Teaster is the director of the Kentucky Justice Center for Elder Abuse and Vulnerable Adults and a  professor in the department of health behavior.
 Teaster established the Justice Center in 2009, along with other colleagues, to help battle the prevalence of elder abuse in Kentucky. The Justice Center is the only one of its kind in the state.
“It was something I knew we absolutely needed to do here,” she said. “Kentucky just happens to have a group of people in this state who are outstanding in doing work on this issue.”
Elder abuse has grown by 30 percent over the last 10 years. Financial elder abuse costs victims $2.9 billion annually, according to findings from a 2011 Metlife study to which Teaster’s research contributed.
 The Justice Center does research, outreach, advises on policy and is working to start a hotline to report abuse and offer assistance to elders, as well as creating a forensic center in conjunction with University of Louisville. Teaster also said the Justice Center’s work will be “ national and international in scope.” The Center has already worked on an international elder abuse study with Canada.
 “People who do the most of the financial abusing are family, which makes it just heartbreaking,” Teaster said.
 The Justice Center and the conference serves to educate “anybody who would have an interface” with the elderly population. The Justice Center plans to hold a conference every year.

The conference agenda includes a variety of speakers, including Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and Congressman Ben Chandler, as well as well as doctors, lawyers, bankers and researchers.
 “A lot of it is interfaced with what physicians and health care professionals can do about this issue, but it’s a lot about any sort of provider, professional or family member,” Teaster said.
 The Justice Center was able to schedule actor Mickey Rooney as a guest speaker, but due to health issues, he will speak to the conference attendees through a video call, Teaster said.
 “He’s been a victim of financial exploitation. He’s the next most public figure to come out and talk about it,” Teaster said.
Teaster emphasized the importance of promoting awareness about elder abuse, because it is something that people don’t often like to think about.
 “When we see people are abused it’s another way of reminding us that we are going to get older and going to get more frail,” Teaster said. “This is an issue that needs visibility and reminding.”
 The conference will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m at UK Chandler Hospital in the Pavilion A Auditorium.
 For more information or to register for the conference, visit the event’s website.


SOURCE:    KYFORWARD
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Any Charges Reported on this blog are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty.

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