Elder Abuse Changes Effective Sept. 29

A change in law impacting the way OBL members report suspected instances of elder abuse will become effective on Sept. 29. In addition to increasing the criminal fines and penalties for taking advantage of older adults, the definition for exploitation was expanded and bankers were added to the list of mandatory reporters in Ohio.

The definition of "exploitation" was expanded to include:


“Using  in one or more transactions an older adult’s resources for monetary or personal benefit, profit or gain, when the person…exerted control over the older adult or resources without the older adult’s consent, beyond the older adult’s consent, or by deception, threat or intimidation.”

Consistent with prior law, an older adult is defined as any person 60 or older that is handicapped by the infirmities of aging or has a physical or mental impairment that prevents the person from providing for his or her own care or protection and who resides in an independent living arrangement.

Most importantly for OBL members, employees of banks, savings and loan institutions, savings banks and credit unions have been added to the long list of mandatory reporters that are required to report suspect abuse to the county department of job and family services.

"The topic of elder abuse is important to policymakers so we have not heard the last of this issue," commented OBL General Counsel Jeff Quayle. "Still pending in the Ohio General Assembly is SB 158 that puts a greater burden on the Director of Aging, the Director of Commerce, the Director of Job and Family Services, and the Attorney General to develop best practices and standards for preventing elder fraud and financial exploitation, as opposed to the banking industry. The OBL will be actively involved in advocating for that bill"s passage before the end of the year. "

"We are aware the vast majority of our members are already in compliance on this issue," Quayle added.