Prevention of Elder Abuse--Financial Institutions and Gatekeeper Training

We plan to produce two awareness kits: The first would be directed to the frontline employees in the banking industry and the other to other employees having direct public contact (store clerks, meter readers, etc.) The importance of informing financial business employees what to do in case they suspect abuse in an elderly customer is vital because Montana has no mandatory reporting law. If tellers and other employees were trained who to contact and what information to collect, much abuse and explotation could be stopped, elders could receive proper services and perpertrators could be charged with their crimes. We currently do have an outdated financial industry information kit but due to the more sophisticated scams and criminal operations it needs to be updated and training needs to be resumed. We would need to develop guidebooks and begin training in financial institutions, grocery stores, public utility departments and businesses.

About You

read more↑ hide↑ hide

Location

Project Street Address

Project City

Project Province/State

Project Postal/Zip Code

Project Country

n/a

Your idea

read more↑ hide↑ hide

Focus of activity

Community Involvement

Year the initiative began

0

Position your initiative on the mosaic of solutions

Which of these barriers is the primary focus of your work?

Insensitive & Unresponsive Systems

Which of the insights is the primary focus of your work?

Create Paths to Prevention or Remediation

If you believe some other barrier or insight should be included in the mosaic, please describe it and how it would affect the positioning of your initiative in the mosaic

Often our impoverished elderly rely on the help they recieve from family or neighbors for the simplest of tasks. One manner in which they become abused or exploited is by having their "helpful" family member do their grocery shopping and banking chores. Even if the elder is aware that they are being taken advantage of they may fear retribution or the loss of needed help if they confront their abuser or report them.

Name Your Project

Prevention of Elder Abuse--Financial Institutions and Gatekeeper Training

Describe Your Idea

We plan to produce two awareness kits: The first would be directed to the frontline employees in the banking industry and the other to other employees having direct public contact (store clerks, meter readers, etc.) The importance of informing financial business employees what to do in case they suspect abuse in an elderly customer is vital because Montana has no mandatory reporting law. If tellers and other employees were trained who to contact and what information to collect, much abuse and explotation could be stopped, elders could receive proper services and perpertrators could be charged with their crimes. We currently do have an outdated financial industry information kit but due to the more sophisticated scams and criminal operations it needs to be updated and training needs to be resumed. We would need to develop guidebooks and begin training in financial institutions, grocery stores, public utility departments and businesses.

Innovation

read more↑ hide↑ hide

Description of Initiative

We plan to produce two awareness kits: The first would be directed to the frontline employees in the banking industry and the other to other employees having direct public contact (store clerks, meter readers, etc.) The importance of informing financial business employees what to do in case they suspect abuse in an elderly customer is vital because Montana has no mandatory reporting law. If tellers and other employees were trained who to contact and what information to collect, much abuse and explotation could be stopped, elders could receive proper services and perpertrators could be charged with their crimes. We currently do have an outdated financial industry information kit but due to the more sophisticated scams and criminal operations it needs to be updated and training needs to be resumed. We would need to develop guidebooks and begin training in financial institutions, grocery stores, public utility departments and businesses.

Innovation

We hope that financial institutions, in particular, will pay for the kits and training we will provide their employees. It would be in their best interests to protect their customer assets as well as being good public relations.

Delivery Model

Because one component of Big Sky Senior Services is the Prevention of Elder Abuse Program we would ask to be notified of any referral to the police or to Adult Protective Services. We could then provide the services needed by abused/exploited elders if they desired. We would not ask for victim names unless they or law enforcement or APS requests our services.

Key Operational Partnerships

We have a Financial Industry Task Force comprised of members of local banks and credit unions. They will help us identify issues they recognize as priorities for their employees. We will also work managers and employees of other businesses that frequently encounter elders.

Impact

read more↑ hide↑ hide

Financial Model

When we provide social worker counseling, crisis intervention and case management services for indigent elderly through the Prevention of Elder Abuse program we recieve a small fee from Social Security, the VA and APS. Our social worker position is funding through the City of Billings CDBG program.

What percentage, if any, of the total operating costs does earned income (from products, services, or other fees) represent?

0%

How is the initiative financed? Is it financially self-sustainable or profitable? How much do beneficiaries contribute?

At this time, we do not have the funding to update our manuals or training. If we can get financial institutions to purchase manuals and receive training the project should be self-sustainable. We hope to get $500.00 per kit. Our elderly victims pay nothing unless they choose to enter our representative payee program. Then the cost of managing their finances depends on the source of the revenue but will not exceed $35.00 monthly. They will also be able to access other services from Big Sky Senior Services.

Effectiveness

Even with out receiving proper training many thoughtful public or private utility workers contact us with concerns about their elderly clients. We follow-through by checking on the well-being and situation of those elders and either provide services ourselves or make a referral to APS or law enforcement.

How many people have benefited from your program over the last year? Which element of the program proved itself most effective?

We have 20 clients in the representative payee program currently. Most of those clients were exploited or unable to handle their finances and were on the verge of homelessness. We ensure their bills are paid and they receive counseling on spending their discresionary income. 15 Clients that have not elected to be in that program receive case management and other services.

Scaling up Strategy

We hope to conduct trainings around the state of Montana and put the epidemic of elder abuse and exploitation in the forefront of people's minds; we expect this will produce many more referrals, more elders will recieve the services they require to live safely and independently and that the public's awareness of crimes against the elderly will deter those that are often overlooked as "a family matter."

Stage of the Initiative

1

Origin of the Initiative

When the Prevention of Elder Abuse Program first hired a social worker, she discovered that many clients she served needed help with their finances due to exploitation. Most of her referrals were not for physical abuse but self-neglect. Often the elder could no longer afford the upkeep of their home or appearance due to the mismanagement of their money by a family member or friend.

This Entry is about (Issues)

Sustainability

read more↑ hide↑ hide

How did you hear about this contest and what is your main incentive to participate?

I received an email announcement from RWJF. Our main incentive to participate is to get ideas from other organizations on getting initial funding and on implementing what we view as a crucial community education.

Main Obstacles to Scaling Up

Financial obstacles prevent us from hiring enough social workers to handle the client load and from creating the kits.

Main Financial Challenges

BSSS has three seperate programs and most of the clients recieve in-home healthcare or homemaking services at a very low rate or free. We primarily care for very low-income elders that are not eligible for government in-home programs. It costs Medicaid about 10 times more per year to prematurely institutionalize an elder than it does for us to help them remain independent and engaged in their community as consumers, voters and tax-payers. We would like an overhaul of government funding for elder service programs but in the meantime we rely on foundation grants, United Way, CDBG, county mill levy funds and Area Agency on Aging funds.

Main Partnership Challenges

Financial institution are happy to receive kits and training but reluctant to pay. We need to find new ways of approaching them so they understand their interests are also at stake. While we have partnered successfully with public and private utilities and retail and grocery stores in the past, we have not charged them for training.