Officials say elder abuse cases on the rise in Montana

INDEPENDENT RECORD

The number of Montanans reported as victims of elder abuse increased in 2021 by about 9% from the year before, state and local officials said at a recent news conference.

The Department of Public Health and Human Services said that about 4,900 Montanans were victims of elder abuse in 2021, making it the second year in a row when the number of reported victims has increased. In 2020, 4,500 Montanans were victim of elder abuse, an increase at the time of nearly 30% since 2018, officials said.

This statistic was highlighted Wednesday during a World Elder Awareness Day event at the Bank of Rockies that was attended by officials from the bank, Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, city of Helena, AARP, DPHHS, Montana Department of Justice, and the Montana Board of Crime Control.

Insurance Commissioner Troy Downing announced Wednesday the formation of the Financial Abuse Specialist Team, or FAST, intended to “provide a coordinated response to elder financial exploitation referrals with a time-sensitive, targeted evaluation by securities and insurance specialists,” the press release states.

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The team will review referrals within 72 hours, consider feedback, investigate, present options

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