Trainer Notes Here are some suggestions for making a presentation to an older audience. You will probably be well received; the audience will accept your authority and knowledge on the subject. You will be addressing a diverse audience in terms of age, physical condition, mental capacities, etc. You may have to adjust your presentation to account for hearing and vision problems. Be sure to speak in a loud, clear voice. Make charts in large type, and use dark ink on a light or white background. You don’t need to “dumb down” your presentation, but you may need to speak more slowly and distinctly. Recap key points clearly; write them on a flipchart if possible. Check AARP (www.aarp.org) or the U.S. Administration on Aging (www.aoa.gov) for training tips. Adding local statistics on crime and seniors will benefit your audience and enhance your presentation. Here are a few places that can provide information about local issues and statistics: Law enforcement crime data sources on crime trends in participants’ area The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports for local and state statistics (www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm) Local consumer protection office and commission or office on aging
Trainer Notes After welcoming the participants, read and review each objective. Ask if there are any questions about the material that will be covered during the presentation. You may want to write a list of expectations for the training and then review this list at the end of the presentation to ensure that participants were satisfied. Or you may want to create a “parking lot” of questions or issues that may be addressed by the presentation. You can add to the list during the presentation and then review it at the end. Participants with unanswered questions or requests can be referred to additional resources.
Trainer Notes Emphasize that seniors are an important population because they are a A strong presence More vocal and mobile; better educated Better understood as diverse and capable Technologically savvy
Trainer Notes People in this age group are sometimes called “super elders.” More of them are in better health than in the past. However, they will need more—or perhaps different—accommodation.
Trainer Notes For more information, see The Older Foreign-Born Population in the United States: 2000 , U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports, September 2002 (www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/p23-211.pdf).
Trainer Notes For more information, see Older Americans 2000: Key Indicators of Well-Being , Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics (www.agingstats.gov/chartbook2000/population.html).
Trainer Notes For more information about the Age Concern survey, visit www.ageconcern.org.uk/ageconcern/News_1009.htm. NCPC research suggests that many seniors do not see crimes as being preventable. Emphasize the importance of prevention by opening up the presentation to discussion. Use this opportunity to build on participants’ experiences. Ask participants to discuss the following questions: What makes them fearful? What do they see as the consequences of being a victim of crime? In what situations are they afraid? What would reduce their fears? What kinds of techniques and strategies do they use to enhance their sense of security?
Trainer Notes Depending on the type of audience you are addressing, you may want to do a separate workshop session on each of these types of crime.
Trainer Notes Seniors are most likely to be victims of deception in these kinds of crime. Perpetrators are most likely unknown or “invisible” although they may become very “friendly.” The technology that many seniors have eagerly adopted has no “quality control.” Seniors may be less aware of this. They need to be reminded to question things that seem too good to be true.
Trainer Notes Research suggests that seniors underestimate the skill of experienced con artists. They may see victims of these crimes as being greedy or gullible, not realizing that they have been manipulated by master criminals. Criminals generally use two techniques when they commit financial crimes: deception and stealth. A criminal uses deception when he or she steals something by tricking the victim; these crimes include general fraud, scams, and telemarketing crimes. A criminal uses stealth when he or she takes the victim’s assets or information illegally without that person’s knowledge. Identity theft is a crime that takes place by stealth. Recap these definitions as needed during the following discussions.
Trainer Notes This slide and the next two contain generalizations that may not apply to all seniors and may not apply to those in your audience.
Trainer Notes It will be useful to cite local examples of a variety of frauds. It is especially helpful to note trends or new angles these criminals employ.
Trainer Notes Emphasize that these criminals target older people for many different reasons.
Trainer Notes In pretext theft, the thief enters a home on some pretext, such as “My car broke down. May I use your phone?” Then he or she takes advantage of this opportunity to steal property or personal information from the homeowner. In computer hacking, the thief illegally accesses information on a computer.
Trainer Notes Emphasize that reporting even a suspected theft may be helpful to police. Emphasize to participants that they should never let a stranger into their home, even if refusing may seem rude. This is especially important for the frail elderly.
Trainer Notes Stress that this crime is still on the rise (while all others are declining). This is a relatively new crime, and criminals are still finding new (more creative and invisible) ways to steal information. The best prevention method is to be cautious; be careful of records, mail, and financial documents; and tear up or shred anything that has identifying information on it before throwing it away.
Trainer Notes Slides 26 to 31 examine an identity theft. Identity thieves are always looking for ways to capture and use all kinds of personal data, and they are very imaginative.
Trainer Notes Check the police department and prosecutor’s office for examples of local trends.
Trainer Notes Explain the seriousness of identity theft. It can be very difficult for the victim to repair the damage done by the thief, and it sometimes takes a great deal of time and money to restore the victim’s good name and stolen funds. It can cost an average of 80 hours and more than $500 to clear up a simple case of identity theft that is caught early. Some victims lose many thousands of dollars as well as their good credit rating and consumer reputations. Encourage participants to check with local authorities on procedures for reporting identity theft. Federal law now requires a police report in order for victims to obtain certain legal rights and protections.
Trainer Notes For information about the free credit report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com.
Trainer Notes Include information on how to get a credit report. Provide a handout with the phone numbers of the three credit bureaus. Give an example of how participants could stagger credit reports. Transunion in February Experian in July Equifax in November
Trainer Notes Check property crime rates and activity locally. Note any problem locations or neighborhoods.
Trainer Notes Seniors can play an important role in preventing property crime in their neighborhoods. Seniors who are retired and at home during the day are more likely to notice unusual events on the street such as strangers approaching a neighbor’s house while that person is on vacation. They can raise the alarm when they notice suspicious activity in the area.
Trainer Notes Be sure to let the audience know if your state or jurisdiction participates in the “Watch Your Car” program. This national program “allows owners of motor vehicles to voluntarily display a decal or device ... on their vehicles to alert police that their vehicles are not normally driven between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. Motorists may also choose to display another decal or device to signify that their vehicles are not normally driven in the proximity of international land borders or ports” (“Bureau of Justice Assistance Fact Sheet: The Watch Your Car Program”). For more information about this program, visit the National Criminal Justice Reference Service at www.ncjrs.gov (select “Property Crime” and “Motor Vehicle Theft”).
Trainer Notes Emphasize that the fears of senior should not be dismissed; these fears are realistic. Underscore that for seniors a violent crime may mean a loss of mobility and, consequently, a loss of independence. Additionally, a physical injury experienced during a crime is more likely to be serious for a senior citizen.
Trainer Notes Elder abuse is real and deserves the same attention and concern we give to child abuse. Elder abuse is a complex topic. Seniors may not report the abuse because they fear retaliation such as institutionalization, legal guardianship, or serious physical violence. Some seniors may be fearful of discussing this topic, so approach the subject with respect and understanding. Caregivers who are not family members are the second largest group of abusers after family members. Many victims believe that they are dependent on the abuser and are distrustful of the social service network.
Trainer Notes The National Center on Elder Abuse provides facts about elder abuse; laws and legislation; statistics, research, and resources; and promising practices. Visit the National Center at www.elderabusecenter.org.
Trainer Notes This is another area where a caring and observant neighbor can make a big difference. Stress that seniors can prevent or stop elder abuse by observing the person they believe is a victim, talking to him or her to assess the situation, and alerting authorities if they believe abuse has occurred. Prepare information on how to report elder abuse (slides 66 to 68 also have this information). Advise participants, “In an emergency, call 911 or the local police.” Many states have hotlines for reporting abuse. Call 800-677-1116 for the national Eldercare Locator, available weekdays, 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET. For information about reporting elder abuse at a nursing home, contact the National Citizens’ Coalition for Nursing Home Reform at www.nccnhr.org.
Trainer Notes For more information about the rights of nursing home residents, visit the website of the National Citizens’ Coalition for Nursing Home Reform at www.nccnhr.org.
Trainer Notes See slide 68 for information on reporting elder abuse.
Trainer Notes See slide 68 for information on reporting elder abuse.
Trainer Notes Before the presentation, visit these websites and print out some of the crime prevention tips relevant to seniors or specific crimes discussed in this presentation.
Trainer Notes You will need to tailor this list according to what you choose to present. Here are a few possibilities: Most up-to-date information How to report crime and get help Network of organizations helping seniors Links to other helpful websites
■ Seniors have accumulated resources. Many own their homes and have insurance, pension plans, savings, stocks and bonds, and similar assets that may not always be closely monitored.
Why Are Seniors Targets of Financial Crimes? (cont.)
Vulnerabilities based on lifestyle:
Many are accessible by telephone and mail, have time to listen, are too polite to hang up, keep assets readily available, have limited experience with investments, can no longer perform home repairs, and are deeply concerned with maintaining finances to last them through their lives.
Why Are Seniors Targets of Financial Crimes? (cont.)
Many are isolated by disability, fear of violence in the community, lack of peer friendships, or lack of transportation.
Many are trusting or complacent or forgetful of details and may be embarrassed to admit they were victims.
Fraud involves deceit in the commission of a financial crime.
Those who commit fraud offer prizes, deals, opportunities, bargains, and the like.
They may advertise with a teaser (e.g., “Earn money working at home!”) or with a phone call announcing a “golden opportunity to invest.” Or they may develop personal relationships with, and then prey on, individuals they meet in various ways.
Examples include home repairs, auto repairs, new carpet or appliances at bargain rates, work-at-home schemes, weight loss and similar health-related programs, stock and related investments, overseas investments, overseas lottery prizes, amazing deals on commodities trades, and more.
Older people are major targets – they make up about 12 percent of the population but 37 percent of telemarketing victims, according to one study. A telemarketing fraud artist told investigators, “It is an article of faith in this business to go after the old folks.”
If signs persist, call the local office on aging affairs or the local police department. If you are uncertain, check with someone at your senior center or another friend.
Start an education campaign for older people in your community. Share information, arrange talks by professionals in the field, and set up connections to helplines that can advise seniors on preventing and reporting abuse.
Plan for your own future. With a power of attorney or a living will, healthcare decisions can be addressed to avoid confusion and family problems. Seek independent advice from someone you trust before signing any documents.
Know your rights. If you engage the services of a paid or family caregiver, you have the right to voice your preferences and concerns. If you live in a nursing home, call your long-term care ombudsman. The ombudsman is your advocate and has the power to intervene.
Get involved in the Triad group in your area. Triad is a partnership between the chiefs of police, sheriffs, and older and retired leaders in a community. This group is committed to reducing victimization and enhancing police services to seniors.
If you have been the victim of abuse, exploitation, or neglect, you are not alone. Many people care and can help. Please tell your doctor, a friend, or a family member you trust, or call the Eldercare Locator helpline immediately.