Investment News posted an article describing how the North American Securities Administrators Association has formed a new Committee on Senior Issues and Diminished Capacity, which will be headed by Montana Deputy Securities Commissioner Lynne Egan and include 13 regulators from across the country.The SEC Investor Advisory Committee has also tasked itself with what it described as an urgent need to protect retirees who are losing mental ability.
State enforcement statistics compiled by NASAA show that 34% of actions since 2008 involve senior victims.
These groups are very committed to finding out what best practices should be. The NASAA committee could develop a model rule over the next year. With over a dozen people on a committee how many of you think they’ll have rules put together anytime soon?
Admittedly, this is an urgent problem. Over $36B is stolen from elders every year, according to a recent study. You can and should be developing your own best practices right now.
The longer we wait for government or any regulatory agency to tell us what to do about elder abuse, the longer we delay acting when we see it before our eyes. It doesn’t require a government rule or a professional organization’s sanction to act with common sense on your own.
We know that the problem of elder abuse has been studied and data has been published by the National Center on Elder Abuse, part of the government’s Administration on Aging. It has also been studied extensively by private entities such as MetLife who published results in 2009. Updated data is also available from other sources.
If you are uncomfortable because you believe privacy regulations have to stop you from reporting abuse to authorities or to concerned family, you can do something about that feeling of discomfort. You can develop a privacy waiver specially designed to protect both your client and yourself.
If you are proactive, you can have every client you represent, advise or serve give you written permission to contact a third party when you see red flags of elder abuse. Crafting such a document takes time. We’ve spent hours on a model document at AgingInvestor.com and we think it will do the job. But you’ll need to create such a waiver in your office or organization too, one that is specific to your needs.
Until next time,
Carolyn Rosenblatt, R.N. Elder Law Attorney