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Jilenne Gunther, MSW, JD

Senior Strategic Policy Advisor

Areas of Expertise

Age-friendly banking, elder financial exploitation


With a passion for social work and training as an attorney, Jilenne Gunther is on a mission to solve policy problems and implement solutions for people ages 50-plus. As a senior strategic policy advisor in AARP’s Public Policy Institute (PPI), she works on policy solutions to curb financial exploitation and to implement age-friendly banking practices across the country.

Before joining PPI, Jilenne served with Utah’s Division of Aging and Adult Services, where she worked with banks to institute age-friendly practices and to create one of the first banking products to help family caregivers prevent exploitation. She wrote a pioneering analysis of the economic cost of elder financial exploitation, as well as two books for seniors about legal and financial issues.

Jilenne is a well-recognized policy expert on age-friendly banking, financial exploitation, and elder rights. Her groundbreaking policy and research have been replicated in more than 30 states and have been cited in Senate hearings, US Government Accountability Office reports, and Consumer Reports. She has received numerous awards for her work, including Utah’s Woman of the Year Achievement Award.

In Her Words

“Financial exploitation is an ugly reality. Some are being exploited to such a degree they are now eligible for Medicaid. We’re not talking about pennies here. These are people’s life savings. At the end of your life to have this happen is the ultimate crime of betrayal.”

Selected Publications

J. Gunther, Navigating Your Rights: The National Legal Guide for Those 50 and Over. Washington, DC: AARP, 2014.

J. Gunther, Navigating Your Rights: The Utah Legal Guide for Those 55 and Over, Salt Lake City, UT: Utah Department of Human Services, 2011.

J. Gunther, “The 2011 Utah Economic Cost of Elder Financial Exploitation,” Utah Division of Aging and Adult Services, Salt Lake City, 2011

J. Gunther, “The 2010 Utah Cost of Financial Exploitation,” Utah Division of Aging and Adult Services, Salt Lake City, 2010.

J. Gunther, “The Legal Needs of Utah Seniors,” State of Utah, Salt Lake City, 2011.