Philly groups will host financial education workshops to help prevent elder abuse

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Pictured at the 2016 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day event in Philadelphia (from left) are panelists Ken Spaide, then-supervisory special agent for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Emily Cardin, caregiver; and Joseph Snyder, director of Older Adult Protective Services at Philadelphia Corporation for Aging. Speaking at the podium is Krista McKay, director of programs and services for the Alzheimer’s Association Delaware Valley Chapter. (Photo by Evangelina Iavarone)

The Philadelphia Financial Exploitation Prevention Task Force will sponsor “Safe Banking and Financial Management Tips for Seniors,” a free forum for older adults and caregivers, on Wednesday, June 14, in recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

The event, which is open to the public, will be held at the Ralston Wellness Center, 3615 Chestnut St., from 9-11 a.m.

The workshop’s focus is on keeping seniors’ money and assets safe, making good financial decisions as one ages, and identifying and gaining access to available resources to prevent and report elder financial abuse.

Registration is required. For information, call the Alzheimer’s Association’s 24/7 helpline at 800-272-3900.

The theme of this year’s World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, officially observed on Thursday, June 15, is “Understand and End Financial Abuse of Older People: A Human Rights Issue.” Elder abuse includes physical, emotional and sexual abuse; financial exploitation; and neglect or abandonment. According to the National Adult Protective Services Association, one in nine seniors reported being abused, neglected or exploited in the last 12 months.

Founded in 2010, the Philadelphia Financial Exploitation Prevention Task Force aims to prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute elder financial abuse; recover assets; train law enforcement, social workers, banks and community agencies about elder financial abuse; and raise awareness of elder financial abuse and how to prevent it among seniors and the broader community.

The task force includes representatives from the Alzheimer’s Association Delaware Valley Chapter, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, the mayor’s office and the police department, the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, the University of Pennsylvania, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and representatives from social service and legal agencies in Philadelphia.

Collaboration among law enforcement, social workers, banks and community agencies is essential to prevent senior financial exploitation, said Joseph Snyder, director of PCA’s Older Adult Protective Services and a former president of the National Adult Protective Services Association. A 91-year-old victim named Raymond White will discuss his experience with elder finance abuse, Snyder said. “He was groomed by someone who stole everything, and he testified in court to send the perpetrator to prison.”

“The banks are on the front line for detecting signs of financial abuse, and the good banks take note of changes in typical banking patterns, uncharacteristic attempts to wire large sums of money, and sudden insufficient funds,” Snyder said. Still, there’s no federal statute requiring banks to report suspected elder financial abuse.

In Philadelphia, all forms of elder abuse can be reported to PCA’s Older Adult Protective Services 24/7 hotline by calling 215-765-9040, 1-888-482-9060 (toll-free outside Philadelphia), or TDD 215-765-9041.

For more information about elder abuse, visit the PCA’s website, www.pcacares.org, or www.napsa-now.org.

Promoting financial education

One of the best ways for seniors to avoid becoming victims of scams or elder financial abuse is through financial education.

For the last several years, Germantown’s Center in the Park has hosted a daylong forum each spring focusing on topics related to housing, budgeting, legal planning and money management for older adults. Co-hosted with Mount Airy USA, the 2017 event, “Balancing Dollars and $en$e,” will dig into these important issues.

This year’s event will take place at Center in the Park on Friday, June 23 and also is being sponsored by the LGBT Elder Initiative, Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, and the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority’s Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter.

State Sen. Art Haywood addressing a Center in the Park workshop in Germantown in 2015. (Center in the Park)

Expect a series of workshops designed to provide individuals 55 and older, and their caregivers, with expert advice, resources and tools critical to maintaining finances and housing in later life. The day’s activities begin with breakfast and a keynote address, with registration starting at 8:30 a.m. Lunch is set for 12:30–1:15 p.m., and an afternoon resource fair will take place from 1:30-4:30 p.m.

Workshop topics will include “Understanding Benefits of Reverse Mortgages”; “Aging Mastery – Financial Fitness”; “Planning for the Future; Money Management”; “CyberSecurity”; “Lien the Right Way”; and “Health, Homes and Resources.”

Also planned is an opportunity for participants to engage in an investor education-and-protection program from the Investor Protection Institute.

Center in the Park director Lynn Fields Harris said continental breakfast and lunch will be available free of charge but will be limited to those who have pre-registered. Sign up by calling Center in the Park’s program office at 215-848-7722, ext. 225, or at www.centerinthepark.org.