Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The impact of power of attorney abuse on the elderly: A case study
by Presto, Sylvia, D.Sc., New Jersey City University, 2015, 149; 3730744
Abstract (Summary)

Durable power of attorney has been recognized as a powerful legal document that is used to financially exploit the elderly across the United States. The existing research indicated elder financial abuse undermines the economic security of the financially exploited older adult.

Despite the findings, however, a recent review of the existing literature showed a lack of research that computed how much elder financial abuse was attributed to durable power of attorney abuse. Studies, such as the one published by the MetLife Market Institute, reported that $2.9B was stolen from the elderly nationwide in 2010. If the durable power of attorney is used to financially exploit the elderly, then the question becomes: How much money is stolen from the elderly by the misuse of a durable power of attorney? The existing research that quantified elder financial abuse did not delineate and show how much was attributed to durable power of attorney abuse. That is the missing link.

Adult Protective Services is a nationwide government agency that receives and investigates reports of suspected elder abuse, physical and financial. The elder financial abuse cases include those in which a durable power of attorney was used to gain access to the older adults’ money.

This dissertation was the first attempt to calculate in dollars how much money was taken from older persons in Bergen County, New Jersey through the misuse of a durable power of attorney, with a sole focus on durable power of attorney abuse apart from the other ways in which senior citizens are financially exploited. This researcher examined an open-source document prepared by Bergen County Adult Protective Services and estimated in dollars how much money was taken from the elderly in Bergen County, New Jersey over a specific period of time.

This researcher examined civil security, the human security paradigm, and national security. The focus was on the economic component of the human security paradigm and through a narrow lens, the study results demonstrated that durable power of attorney abuse is a critical threat to the economic security of the nation’s older population and poses a potential threat to our nation’s security.

The most significant result was that the data compiled in this study seemed to indicate that between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2013, the majority of the elder financial abuse cases reported to and investigated by Bergen County Adult Protective Services were committed by a means other than the misuse of a durable power of attorney. When it was used, however, it resulted in the older persons having their monthly social security income stolen on a regular basis, or in other cases hundreds of thousands of dollars were taken over time.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Soo Hoo, Tsung Y.
Commitee: Collins, Jr., John W., Krantz, Michael, Seiss, Dena D.
School: New Jersey City University
Department: Professional Security Studies
School Location: United States -- New Jersey
Source: DAI-A 77/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Social research, Law, Management, Public administration
Keywords: Adult protective services, Durable power of attoney abuse, Elderly abuse, Financial abuse of the elderly, Financial security, Human security
Publication Number: 3730744
ISBN: 9781339170640
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