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AARP Praises Bill by Senator Serino, Assemblywoman Lupardo; Also Urges Elected Leaders, Stakeholders to Develop Legislation to Fight Elder Financial Abuse

ALBANY, N.Y. – A round-the-clock toll-free telephone hotline to report elder abuse would be established under a bill that has passed the New York State Legislature, and AARP applauded the move as a step toward combating a growing problem.

The group praised the legislative Aging Committee Chairs, Senator Sue Serino and Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, for pushing the bill, which would also add information about the hotline to an existing state public awareness campaign. AARP urged the Governor to sign the legislation as a positive step toward fighting elder abuse.

AARP is also urging elected leaders to convene stakeholders before the state legislative session ends June 21 to develop and pass legislation aimed at combating elder financial exploitation by training train and empowering banks to recognize and suspend suspicious transactions.

For every reported incident of elder abuse in New York, over 23 go unreported – yet New York is one of just four states that does not require reporting when someone suspects adult abuse. The hotline would make reporting easier – helping fight a crime whose targets are increasing as the population ages, with 10,000 Americans turning 65 every day.

The most common form of elder abuse – financial exploitation – costs victims and the state $1.5 billion a year in New York, and the problem grew by over 35 percent between 2010 and 2014, the state Office of Children and Family Services’ Bureau of Adult Services reported last year.

“The bill by Senator Serino and Assemblywoman Lupardo to create a round-the-clock hotline for reporting would help fight the growing problem of elder abuse in our aging society,” said AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel. “We also need to target elder financial exploitation – the most common form of elder abuse. Older New Yorkers are literally being defrauded out of billions of dollars. Our elected leaders should bring stakeholders to the table and pass anti-elder financial exploitation legislation before this year’s legislative session ends.”

“While elder abuse is one of the most pervasive issues facing seniors in our state and across the country, it continues to fly under the radar, leaving a substantial portion of our population vulnerable,” said Senator Sue Serino. “The hotline would streamline the means for reporting abuse, helping to bring the issue out of the shadows and ensure that our seniors receive the help they need to live free from harm and safe from abuse. New York has an opportunity to set the standard and be a leader in combatting elder abuse.”

“Since being appointed as Chair of the Assembly Committee on Aging, elder abuse has been at the forefront of the conversation on aging issues,” said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo. “Creating a 24/7 statewide hotline to report suspected elder abuse is an important step to ensure these cases no longer go underreported. Given the limited resources of county Adult Protective Services, it seemed appropriate to build on the existing state infrastructure to create this new hotline.”

Elder abuse takes a tremendous emotional and physical toll. The National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life cites reports that show that “an older victim may experience acute isolation due to the aging or death of friends, family, and other support systems. If an abuser is an adult child or grandchild, the older victim may experience any number of negative emotions about being abused by a family member.”

Other studies indicate that older people who experience abuse, even moderate in severity, have a 300% higher risk of death when compared to those who have not been abused.

The hotline bill would help the state collect and centralize valuable information to combat elder abuse.

Contact: Erik Kriss, ekriss@aarp.org

Follow us on Twitter:  @AARPNY and Facebook: AARP New York

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million that helps people turn their goals and dreams into ‘Real Possibilities’ by changing the way America defines aging. With staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and promote the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare security, financial security and personal fulfillment. AARP also advocates for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name.  As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world’s largest circulation magazine, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and our CEO @JoAnn_Jenkins on Twitter.

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