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November 01, 2012

Elder Abuse and Exploitation

Lori A. Stiegel

In 2012, the Commission’s elder abuse accomplishments were focused in five areas.

Policy and Practice

Two Commission staff members were invited to testify at the first meeting of the federal Elder Justice Coordinating Council on the role of the federal government in addressing three topics: civil legal services, courts, and the Social Security representative payee program. Staff subsequently submitted white papers on those issues.

Staff repeatedly provided information to Government Accountability Office personnel who were conducting a study of the federal government’s role in addressing elder financial exploitation, examining the potential for overlap and duplication of federal elder justice programs, and assessing potential changes to the Social Security Administration’s current procedures for monitoring representative payees.

Staff repeatedly provided background information and ideas to employees of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regarding initiatives of that agency’s Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans (CFPB OFPOA). Staff also participated in an AARP Public Policy Institute roundtable intended to develop a set of suggested priorities for the CFPB OFPOA.

The Commission continued a collaboration with Wells Fargo Advisors by advising and participating in that company’s cutting-edge efforts to foster improvements in the ability of the financial industry, adult protective services, law enforcement, and other entities to detect and respond to elder abuse.

The Commission proposed an ABA policy resolution supporting court-focused elder abuse initiatives that was adopted by the Association’s House of Delegates.


Staff completed a multi-year research project to assess five court-focused elder abuse initiatives across the country. The project was funded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice.

Staff developed a report for AARP’s Public Policy Institute about existing state laws or ideas for state laws that aid in preventing, detecting or redressing financial exploitation of older persons. The report was informed by a national online survey of adult protective services, law enforcement, prosecutors, staff of AARP state offices, elder law practitioners, and other professionals.

Professional Education

Staff made 13 continuing legal education and other presentations on a variety of issues at national, regional, and state conferences and through webinars.

Staff published 11 articles in three publications: Generations, the journal of the American Society on Aging; Victimization of the Elderly and Disabled; and Bifocal, the Commission’s digital journal.

Staff continued to serve on the editorial boards of the field’s pre-eminent publications, the Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect and Victimization of the Elderly and Disabled.

Staff continued work on two federally funded projects to inform professionals serving elder abuse victims about legal issues and state statutes.

Consumer Education

The Commission received and commenced work on a contract from the CFPB OFPOA to develop a national and six state-specific guides for lay fiduciaries.

Media Awareness

Staff provided extensive background information to ProPublica for its story on investigation of elder deaths, part of the ProPublica/PBS Frontline/NPR series on death investigations in the U.S.

Staff provided extensive background to the Philadelphia Inquirer for its series on prosecution of elder abuse cases and reasons for disparity across the country.


Commission Expertise in Practice: Upcoming Webinar

Free Webinar For Legal Professionals: Elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation and clients with dementia

Date: Thursday, January 24, 2013
Time: 2:30 PM - 4:00 PM EST
Space is limited, reserve your Webinar seat now.

Presenter: Lori Stiegel, Senior Attorney, Commission on Law and Aging

The webinar series covers legal issues of people with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and their caregivers. Persons with AD are particularly vulnerable to financial exploitation, physical or emotional abuse, and neglect both at home and in care facilities. These webinars, as outlined in the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, will help ensure that people with AD have their dignity, safety, and rights maintained.

Join the ABA Commission on Law and Aging as part of our work in the National Legal Resource Center and the Administration on Aging to talk through what is important for your clients with Alzheimer’s and related dementias.

Additional sponsorship for this Webinar is provided by a grant from the Administration on Aging. This webinar is part of a series of National Elder Rights Training Project webinars for the National Legal Resource Center.

If you have any questions, email [email protected].

No CLE or CEU credits are provided as part of this free webinar series.


Lori A. Stiegel

Staff Contact:
Lori A. Stiegel
Senior Attorney
Phone: 202-662-8692
E-mail: [email protected]