Bush School Capstone Project Addresses Financial Exploitation of Alzheimer’s Patients

September 21, 2016

World Alzheimers Day


Financial exploitation of the elderly results in a loss nationwide of $2.9 billion each year, with Alzheimer’s patients especially exposed to the threat of financial abuse.  A group of students at the Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University, are currently studying the problem in Texas and will identify options for policy change.

As part of a year-long capstone project for the Alzheimer’s Association of Houston and Southeast Texas, the team of seven will answer a request for research investigating the prevalence of financial elder abuse among Alzheimer’s patients living in Texas. The team will collect data that will enable them to estimate the total financial loss suffered by Alzheimer’s patients and provide analysis of current legislation on the issue. Their work will culminate in a report and presentation to representatives of the Association recommending changes to current Texas law. The report and research will serve as a basis for the organization’s 2019 legislative agenda. 

“This capstone spans many policy areas and requires us to utilize all that we have learned at the Bush School to address a serious problem affecting the elderly population,” project manager and second -year Bush School student Sarayu Sankar said. “We are eager to begin research and look forward to providing our client with a set of policy recommendations.”

Bush School capstone projects are an integral part of the School’s curriculum and educational experience, testing the knowledge and abilities students have gained during their Bush School education. Each year, students in their final year at the School participate in a group project led by a faculty member on behalf of an organization, government entity, or nonprofit client. The groups confront a range of issues in international or public affairs, working for clients such as the World Bank, the Congressional Research Service, the Texas Comptroller’s Office, or the Texas Legislature.

The Alzheimer’s Association of Houston and South Texas is part of the national Alzheimer’s Association, and provides community-based programming and services for Texas Alzheimer’s patients and their families.  The organization spans thirty-seven south Texas counties and is dedicated to creating a world without Alzheimer’s disease by supporting research, enhancing care and support for affected individuals, and reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s and related diseases.

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