Radio show reinforces Maine CUs leadership in fighting elder financial abuse

June 20, 2017

Prior to being a founding member of the Senior$afe program, the groundbreaking program formed by credit unions, state elder services, and others in 2014, Maine credit unions had already been a long-time leader in helping to prevent elder financial abuse of Maine seniors.  The formation of Senior$afe has only strengthened that commitment, and the recent participation by a Maine CU representative in a statewide radio show on the subject was an opportunity to again highlight the issue.

In recognition of Elder Abuse Awareness Day, MaineCalling, the popular weekday program that airs statewide on Maine Public Radio, dedicated the entire program to discussing the issue of elder abuse.  According to the National Council on Aging, approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse - and most of the cases are unreported. Elder abuse includes financial exploitation, neglect, isolation, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and domestic abuse. Sometimes, many different forms of abuse happen at the same time.  As the second oldest state in the country, Maine is at a high risk to have its most vulnerable citizens be victims of elder abuse. 

To help listeners understand the issue of financial exploitation, Vanessa Madore, AVP of Risk Management at Maine Savings FCU, was a guest on the program.  Madore, who is actively involved with a variety of agencies and others on this issue, discussed how significant an issue elder financial exploitation is in Maine.  "I receive referrals for members who have acknowledged their financial exploitation or for whom we observe may be victims of financial exploitation on an almost weekly basis."  Madore also discussed the importance of training frontline staff in identifying possible financial exploitation.  "Maine's credit unions participate in training to help employees to notice unusual behavior and comments that members may make that may be an indicator that the member has been or is being financially exploited, being taken advantage of, or being financially victimized."

Other guests on the program included Ricker Hamilton, newly named Acting Commissioner of Maine's Department of Health & Human Services, former Deputy Commissioner of Programs for DHHS; Jaye Martin, Executive Director, Legal Services for the Elderly; and Sgt. Patrick Hood, Co-Chair, Maine Council for Elder Abuse Prevention; Maine State Police.  Madore said that since the formation of the Senior$afe program, the issue of financial exploitation has grown in awareness and that "communication among financial institutions and other agencies that serve seniors has been helpful in preventing a number of cases, but there is still a lot of work to do."

To listen to the entire program, please click here.