This photo of my friend and mentor, Harry, is hard for me to look at because I am still heartbroken that he was conned out of his life savings at the age of 88. Even before the pandemic, the financial exploitation of American elders was a $37 billion dollar a year industry. The nearly unthinkable reality is that the coronavirus tragedy is being used by these criminals to further their despicable "business". It's a perfect storm, financial instability, predators at home, increased senior vulnerability. Seniors receive calls on their landlines, cell phones, and computers. Some of our patients report receiving 10-20 calls per day. We must be proactive against these incessant attacks. Make very certain that the communication strategies you opt for are designed to allow ONLY family and friends to reach the older loved ones in your life. After 16 years as serving as the co-founder and director of the Elder Abuse Forensic Center, I left my faculty appointment at the university to join GrandPad. Why? Because GrandPad PREVENTS the financial exploitation before it occurs. Once the scammers con elders out of their hard-earned, needed financial resources, it is all but impossible to get the money back. Not to mention the fear and betrayal elders feel at having been tricked. I’ve spoken with countless elders who say they don’t want to tell their families about their financial losses because they feel ashamed that they were duped. My response is always, “ it is the criminals that should be ashamed, NOT you.” but my condolence is to no avail.
My 91 year old mother who is sharper cognitively than I am has been on the receiving end of scams calls. She now connects in a secure environment on her GrandPad. She calls or video calls everyone she'd like to speak to, but only those she's selected can contact her. She uses it extensively every day to effortlessly make video calls and phone calls, send emails, play games, read articles, and listen to her favorite music... all in a secure way. She’s called it a god send and it makes me proud to work for a company who is part of the solution.