PCA's Joe Snyder, an expert on aging, retires - and finds applying for Medicare 'maddening'

After his childhood best friend Cecil Green Jr. died in May, Joe Snyder realized he was done working.

Green’s passing at age 62 occurred “even though he ate right and worked out all the time,” said Snyder, 66, and the decades-long director of Older Adult Protective Services at Philadelphia Corporation for Aging. “He was an uncle to my son. … We talked about everything, did everything together. I was sure he would eulogize me.”

“His death definitely prompted me to retire,”  said Snyder, a Bristol, Pa. native.

Now, Snyder, who retired officially at year-end 2017, took on his next challenge as a retiree — applying for Medicare.

“Even as an expert on aging, I can’t believe how complicated this is,” said Snyder, whose former employer, the PCA, advocates for seniors in Greater Philadelphia.

...Separately, he said, he will be succeeded by Jennifer Spoeri, his assistant director. “I’m leaving this job – but not my career,” Snyder added. “I’ll still be running the Philadelphia Financial Exploitation Task Force through 2018 and doing expert consulting.”

This article was originally published on Philly.com.

Getting help for elder financial abuse

Your older relative — your mother or father, maybe an older aunt or uncle — or a neighbor has fallen victim to financial elder abuse. Whom do you contact for help?

Here’s a guide for those living in Philadelphia, starting with – believe it or not – the local police, just as you would with any crime.

Elder abuse is so rampant that disparate agencies and nonprofits have banded together to form the Philadelphia Financial Exploitation Prevention Task Force. On June 14, the task force and the Penn Memory Center marked World Elder Abuse Awareness Day with an event called “Safe Banking & Financial Management Tips for Seniors.”

This column was published on Philly.com on June 30, 2017.

Awareness Day aims to end financial abuse of the elderly

Statistics from the National Council on Aging show that 1 in 10 Americans 60 and older have experienced elder abuse, and there is broad consensus that the crime is significantly under-reported. One study estimated that only 1 in 14 cases of abuse are reported to authorities. Elder financial abuse and fraud costs older Americans $36.5 billion per year and financial exploitation is self-reported at rates higher than emotional, physical, and sexual abuse or neglect.

“Banks are on the front line for detecting signs of financial abuse, such as changes in typical banking patterns, uncharacteristic attempts to wire large sums of money and sudden insufficient funds,” said Joseph Snyder, director of Older Adult Protective Service at Philadelphia Corporation for Aging and a former president of the National Adult Protective Services Association

This article was published on HuffingtonPost.com on June 5, 2017.

Armstrong: Shame on those who cheat elderly relatives

Signs of elder financial abuse can include but aren't limited to unexplained bank withdrawals, unpaid bills, and indications that the care being provided doesn't correlate with the size of a person's estate. Outside of buying an in-home lie detector for your prospective power of attorney, what can you do?

Experts I spoke with suggest establishing a checks-and-balance system. Instead of automatically handing over power of attorney to your firstborn, you include a couple of younger siblings as well or maybe some trusted nonrelatives.

Joseph Snyder, director of older adult protective services at the Philadelphia Corp. for Aging, also advises signing up for a professional service such as EverSafe, which allows a third person to get an alert when something happens outside the norm on accounts.

"Anybody can be a victim. Anybody can be a perpetrator," said Snyder, whose agency investigates elder abuse.  

This column was published on Philly.com on May 1, 2017.

Task force, PMC jointly tackle elder abuse

As adults age, they begin to lose what is called fluid intelligence, making it more difficult to manage finances. This also makes them more susceptible to scams that might seem obvious to other people. Cardin’s mother continued to ignore warnings and gave her personal funds to a variety of foreign scammers, eventually losing her home and all savings. She has since been diagnosed with dementia and has moved in with Cardin, who began managing her finances and had taken away computer access.

“It’s still hard to talk about and believe it happened,” said Emily, who shared her mother’s story in June at a World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) educational forum organized by the Financial Exploitation Prevention Task Force.

This task force — a team of lawyers, social workers, physicians, and representatives from financial institutions, the Philadelphia police department, and the district attorney’s office — routinely holds these types of events to help prevent the financial exploitation of elders like Cardin’s mother.

“Unfortunately, the damage is already done when we hear about a case,” said Joe Snyder, who leads the task force. “We want to try to prevent this from happening altogether.”

This article was published on PennMemoryCenter.org on November 8, 2016.

FINRA Close to Filing Fraud Rule for ‘Vulnerable’ Investors

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority plans to file “imminently” with the Securities and Exchange Commission for approval its proposed Rule 4512 to help block elderly and vulnerable investors from financial exploitation, Susan Axelrod, FINRA’s head of regulatory operations, said Wednesday.

Speaking on a panel at the National Society of Compliance Professionals annual meeting in Washington, Axelrod noted along with Joseph Snyder of the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, that it’s not just about protecting “senior” investors these days, but all investors that fall into the “vulnerable” category—those with diminished capacity, disabilities, and even those in the military.

“We don’t think of it just as seniors; it’s got to be much broader,” Axelrod said. “I don’t think we define age limit” when categorizing those who face fraud.  

This article was published on ThinkAdvisor.com on October 19, 2016.

Local Experts Hold Forum To Protect Seniors From Financial Predators

As part of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on Wednesday, The Philadelphia Financial Exploitation Prevention Task Force held a forum at the Center City Free Library Branch.

A panel of experts gave seniors and caregivers some real-life cautionary tales of victimization, along with helpful tips on how to recognize financial predators and avoid being ripped off. Homeland Security’s Ken Spaide says most scam artists are based overseas and they’re becoming more and more sophisticated.

“With all the outsourcing from U.S. companies that have put their call service centers in foreign countries, these people are now being taught the art of customer service, the art of salesmanship,” he said. “They know how to talk to U.S. citizens, they know how to be nice to them, be polite and courteous.”

This article was published on CBS on June 15, 2016.

As elder abuse cases increase in Pa., state launches awareness campaign

Gov. Tom Corbett has declared June "Elder Abuse Awareness Month" in Pennsylvania.

"I often say elder abuse is America's dirty little secret. When you look at child abuse, domestic violence and other things, it really is an area that, for whatever reason, has been largely ignored," said Joe Snyder, director of older adult protective services at Philadelphia Corporation for Aging

Pennsylvanians reported more than 18,500 cases of elder abuse last year.

"The numbers are high, they continue to grow," said Brian Duke, secretary of the state Department of Aging. "Over the last five years, we've seen an increase in the growth overall."

The rising volume of claims does not mean that these numbers tell the whole story.

"We're aware there's a lot of under-reporting and non-reporting of abuse," said Duke. "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention think that as much as 20 percent of abuse is actually reported."

This story was published on Newsworks.org on June 19, 2014.

Perfect prey: Elderly, sick easy targets for abusive caregivers

In Philadelphia alone, there are more than 73,000 residents with disabilities so severe that they require someone else to manage their annual Social Security benefits - totaling almost $50 million a month, or about $600 million a year, according to the Social Security Administration.

The benefits are supposed to pay for food, shelter and personal necessities. But for those who prey on the helpless, it is a lucrative enterprise that holds little chance of getting caught.

Experts say the physical abuse, neglect and financial exploitation of the elderly and disabled is rampant and underreported.

"It's a tsunami," said Joe Snyder, director of older adult protective services at the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging.

"It's America's dirty little secret."

Published on Philly.com January 21, 2014