Our elderly population are some of our most vulnerable. It's important to make sure they are well protected from abuse, including threats to their finances.
Why does it matter?
Financial abuse hurts people far beyond the loss of money. It also often has other serious impacts on the victim, including anxiety and depression. It can end a person's independence, because by losing access to a safe home, adequate food or medical care, they are unable to look after themselves .
As our population ages, more and more people are susceptible to elder financial abuse. It could be happening right now to you or someone you love, but it can be hard to spot until it's too late.
Top tips to protect yourself against financial abuse
- Don't automatically assume that family members have the right skills, qualities or capacity to help you.
- Check in regularly with your doctor. Ask them to inform a trusted friend or family member if your health significantly declines.
- Keep written records of family agreements you have in place. Strongly consider legal advice.
- Think carefully about what kind of access you want to give someone else, to your banking affairs and for how long.
- Let your bank know of any concerns you have regarding people's access to your accounts.
- Assess your personal and professional relationships at least every year.
Elderly financial abuse can take many forms, it can be a one off action or threat or be on-going, it can even take the form of lack of action and it may involve acts that are not illegal.
For more information on Elderly Financial Abuse you can read the Australian Banking Association's guide to help older people avoid abuse, scams and fraud or you can visit Better Place Australia at www.betterplaceaustralia.com.au or call them on 1800 639 523.