AUGUSTA — The Maine Council for Elder Abuse Prevention will hold a news conference Monday to announce the creation of Senior$afe, a training program designed to help bank and credit union employees identify and stop financial exploitation of older Mainers.

Maine’s financial institutions are in a unique position to identify the red flags of financial abuse, according to a news release.

Senior$afe is a three-part program designed to close gaps in the reporting system and increase interagency collaboration so seniors can get help as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Financial exploitation of elders is a growing and underreported problem that’s getting state and national attention, according to the news release. U.S. seniors lose an estimated $2.9 billion per year to financial abuse, and Maine faces a greater challenge than most states because it has a rapidly aging population.

The news conference will be held at 2:30 p.m. in the Welcome Center at the State House.

Senior$afe was developed in collaboration with the aging services and regulatory divisions of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, the Maine Bankers Association, the Maine Credit Union League and Maine Legal Services for the Elderly.

Vulnerability to financial exploitation increases with age, and Maine’s senior population is growing quickly. Maine has the oldest population by median age in the country, and by 2030, more than a quarter of the state’s population is expected to be 65 or older.

The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram is examining various impacts of Maine’s rapidly aging population in a special investigative series, “The Challenge of Our Age.” One segment of the series focused on financial exploitation by family members.

Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @KelleyBouchard