It is widely agreed that one of the most prevalent and growing type of elder abuse is family financial exploitation. Millions of older adults and their families will experience EFFE. Elder family financial exploitation (EFFE) occurs when a family member as the perpetrator is involved in the illegal, unauthorized, or improper use of an elder’s resources including financial assets or property. Elder Family Financial Exploitation is part of a larger emerging elder justice crises with unmeasured costs and consequences for older adults, their families, and society.
Learn about EFFE
Older adults and their families don’t have to just wait and take a chance of experiencing the all too common EFFE. Use these resources to identify and prevent against the risks of exploitation.
Learn the facts about EFFE so that you can protect yourself and others. The consequences and costs of EFFE go well beyond the older victim.
Use these six strategies that proactively address ways to prevent EFFE and the harms that it causes.
Research findings for family professionals
As part of a research project the current literature on EFFE is cited below to inform public awareness, professional education and public policy.
The research project “When it’s Family: The meaning and experience of family financial exploitation” is led by professor Marlene Stum from the University of Minnesota Extension. The need for and design of this project evolved from ongoing conversations with key Minnesota Elder Justice Center leaders. The mission of the Minnesota Elder Justice Center is to mobilize communities to prevent and alleviate abuse, neglect and financial exploitation of elders and vulnerable adults. The project priorities to inform public awareness, professional education, and public policy align with those identified in the National Elder Justice Roadmap, a joint initiative of the U.S. Departments of Justice, and Health and Human Services.
Betz-Hamilton, A. E., Stum, M. S., & Chan, A. C. Y. (2022). Elder family financial exploitation offenders: Examining the complexities of problematic behaviors. Victims & Offenders, Advanced online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/15564886.2022.2040068
This study explores the range and scope of problematic behaviors of EFFE offenders; and examines common combinations of EFFE offenders’ problematic behaviors.
Kilaberia, T. R., & Stum, M.S. (2021) Successful Family-Driven Intervention in Elder Family Financial Exploitation: A Case Study, The Gerontologist, https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnab145
The prevalence and consequences of elder family financial exploitation reinforce the need for a range of effective intervention strategies. This article describes how and why one family successfully intervened in the family-based financial exploitation, constructing, and achieving meaningful processes and outcomes for the specific family and context.
Chan, A. C. Y., & Stum, M. S. (2022). A family systems perspective of elder family financial exploitation: Examining family context profiles. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 41(4), 945-951. https://doi.org/10.1177/07334648211056927
Informed by Family Systems Theory, this study examines the interwoven nature of intergenerational family structures and roles in which elder family financial exploitation (EFFE) takes place. The findings call attention to the potential for multiple victims and multiple perpetrators working collaboratively over time. The profiles suggest EFFE may occur in any family structure (e.g., nuclear, step, extended and any family size), regardless of a family member’s gender, marital status or birth order. Specifically, the findings begin to provide empirical support that perpetrators may be intimate partners/spouses and include a range of relationship types (in-laws and grandchildren) in addition to adult children.
Chan, A, & M. Stum. (2020). The state of theory in elder family financial exploitation: A systematic review. The Journal of Family Theory and Review. https://doi.org/10.1111/jftr.12396
This systematic review addresses the current state of theory in EFFE and offers new family systems perspectives for future investigation and research.
Dive deeper with webinars
Webinars for professionals from professor of gerontology and family economics Marlene S. Stum, University of Minnesota. Professor Stum is also the primary investigator for “When it’s family: The meaning and experience of family financial exploitation.”
Watch this 1-hour webinar Elder Family Financial Exploitation: An Insiders Perspective from professor of gerontology and family economics Marlene S. Stum, University of Minnesota. This webinar is for professionals hosted by North Central Region Aging Network (NCRAN) in February, 2019.
The webinar specifically addresses:
Study purpose, sample and research methods.
The complexity and realities of elder family financial exploitation (EFFE).
The costs and consequences of EFFE on family systems.
Opportunities and gaps in EFFE prevention education.
Watch this 1-hour webinar Elder Family Financial Exploitation: The Critical Role of Concerned Family Members in the Lives of Victims from professor of gerontology and family economics Marlene S. Stum, University of Minnesota. This webinar is for professionals hosted by North Central Region Aging Network (NCRAN) in February, 2021.
The webinar specifically addresses:
Motivation and goals—what concerned family members are trying to accomplish when getting involved.
Roles and tasks involved in helping victims.
Costs and consequences of being in the helping role for concerned family members.
Prevention education needs, challenges and opportunities.