National Seniors Australia is shining a light on financial elder abuse. Chief Advocate Ian Henschke said people can be at increased risk of abuse as they get older. Sadly, those closest to them are the most likely perpetrators of abuse.
“Elder abuse can take many forms, but financial abuse is the most common. 85% of elder financial abuse is committed by family, with children accounting for nearly 50%,’ Mr Henschke said.
“As opposed to scams by strangers, financial abuse can involve a person in a position of trust coercing or forcing an older person to sign over assets or to change a Will or Power of Attorney, stealing money or taking credit cards. Older people fall victim to such abuses because they might never expect a loved one to take advantage of them, can’t stop it, or are too embarrassed to go to the police.”
“Financial loss in later life is particularly devastating. Unfortunately, people don’t always seek help and identifying abuse can be hard. It can go unreported as it happens behind closed doors, by people in positions of trust,” Mr Henschke said.
Possible signs of financial elder abuse include:
• large bank withdrawals or transfers between accounts
• missing belongings or property
• new changes to a will or power of attorney
• an older person signing strange documents they didn’t understand
• bank statements that go to the perpetrator.
If you are experiencing elder or suspect any type of elder abuse please call the Elder abuse phone line 1800 353 374 – a free and confidential service.