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12/10/2018 Media Advisory: New Elderly Abuse and Financial Exploitation Task Force to convene
STATE HOUSE – A new Elderly Abuse and Financial Exploitation Task Force will meet Wednesday to begin its work studying the prevalence and impact of elder abuse and exploitation in the state.

The task force, created by legislation (2018-S 3001) sponsored this year by Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence), is to study the prevalence and impact of elder abuse and financial exploitation in Rhode Island and to make recommendations on policies and legislation to effectively address the issue impacting seniors and other vulnerable adults.

“Our senior citizens, particularly those who are no longer able to advocate for themselves, deserve safety and protection. Unfortunately, having to trust someone else to assist with health needs or everyday tasks leaves some elderly people vulnerable to abuse or fraud at the hands of their caregivers. Especially as the baby boom generation ages and our senior population expands, our state should take a look at the scope of this issue and whether our laws could do more to prevent it,” said Senator Coyne.

The nine-member panel is scheduled to have its inaugural meeting Wednesday, Dec. 12, from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Room 313 on the third floor of the State House. Members include Senator Coyne; Senator Sandra Cano (D-Dist.8, Pawtucket); Lt. Gov. Daniel J. McKee; Special Assistant Attorney General Diane Daigle, who is chief of the Elder Abuse Unit; Mary Ladd of the Division of Elderly Affairs; AARP- Rhode Island Associate State Director John DiTomasso; State Police Detective Kyle Shibley; Warwick attorney Mark Heffner; and Saint Elizabeth Haven for Elder Justice Director Jeanne Gattegno.

The meeting will include the election of a chairperson and a secretary, as well as presentations by DiTomasso of AARP-RI, Gattegno of St. Elizabeth Haven for Elder Justice and Special Assistant Attorney Daigle of the Elder Abuse Unit.

The creation of the task force was suggested by AARP Rhode Island, whose members identified it as a top issue for them. Older Americans, who make up 12 percent of the population, are disproportionately affected by financial fraud, constituting 30 percent of consumer fraud victims. Elder abuse, like many forms of domestic abuse, is often hidden and is significantly underreported. Financial abuse of seniors goes beyond money, also frequently affecting physical and emotional health.

For more information, contact:
Greg Pare, Director of Communications for the Senate
State House Room 112
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 276-5558