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Schimel, DOJ roll out elder abuse prevention program

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Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel has his sights set on those who target the elderly.

Schimel and the Department of Justice have rolled out a website (here) and an ad campaign meant to deal with elder abuse.

“We are working to try and raise awareness about a problem that’s pretty significant in Wisconsin,” Schimel said. “And it’s all the more significant because of the rapid pace at which our senior population is and will continue to grow.”

Schimel says over the last 12 months one in 10 seniors have experienced abuse, neglect or exploitation.

The new website, among other things, offers links to county helplines, police departments and local aging resource centers.

It is now up and running. Schimel says it’s an attempt to raise awareness and create solutions for a growing problem in the state: Vulnerable seniors becoming victims, especially through financial exploitation.

“Sometimes they’re starting to struggle with late-in-life cognitive issues,” Schimel said. “Sometimes they’re just vulnerable because the internet is kind of a new world to them or maybe they’ve never been involved in financial transactions.”

Schimel says currently only one in 44 cases of financial exploitation among seniors gets reported.

“I’ve had bankers, financial planners tell me about clients they have that got wiped out, often times by a family member,” Schimel said. “Not always but often times, they could be living in poverty when they did save the resources to have a good retirement.”

Schimel says elder abuse is a problem that will continue to grow in the state with the number of seniors increasing by 72 percent by the year 2040.

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