Sophia Ashebir Presents on Financial Fraud, Caregiving at ASA On Aging 2023 Conference

by Adam Felts

AgeLab researcher Sophia Ashebir presented research on financial exploitation among the oldest old and family caregiver perceptions of health insurers at the American Society on Aging’s “On Aging 2023” conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

Ms. Ashebir co-led a roundtable session with former AgeLab research scientist Julie Miller on risks and protective factors of financial exploitation among the “oldest old.” The presentation utilized results from focus groups and survey of members of the AgeLab’s 85+ Lifestyle Leaders panel, a panel of adults ages 85 and older.

Members of the panel discussed risk factors that they perceived as relevant to their vulnerability to financial fraud and exploitation. They highlighted a lack of exposure to or knowledge of well-known types of scams, the challenges of navigating technology as digital non-natives, and being targeted by scammers due to stereotypes of older adults being guileless. They also discussed protective factors against exploitation, including having a supportive social network and gaining knowledge about scams through personal experience and sharing stories with others.

Ms. Ashebir also presented a poster that described findings from the AgeLab’s research panel of unpaid family caregivers. The poster depicted results about family caregivers’ perceptions and use of health insurers.

Most respondents only rarely used health insurers as a source of information related to caregiving; they noted that identifying resources or benefits to support their care recipient was noted the most difficult task when interacting with health insurers.

Health insurers may be able to better position themselves as helpful and reliable sources of information for caregivers. Respondents also noted a desire for more coverage of respite care services, as well as assistance in identifying respite care providers.

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About the Author

Photo of Adam Felts
Adam Felts

Adam Felts is a researcher and writer at the MIT AgeLab. Currently he is involved in research on the experiences of family caregivers and the future of financial advice. He also manages the AgeLab blog and newsletter. He received his Master's in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Boston University in 2014 and his Master's of Theological Studies from Boston University in 2019.

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