Elder financial abuse can happen to anyone at any time. Learn how to recognise the signs and equip yourself with the knowledge to minimise the risk of it happening to you.
What is elder financial abuse?
Elder financial abuse can be defined as someone you know using your funds or assets to your detriment. This could include:
Who commits elder financial abuse?
Unfortunately, elder financial abuse may involve family members or it could also be an acquaintance or a stranger that has befriended you. Families may sometimes enter into informal agreements which can unintentionally cause risks of abuse. Family members can pressure you into giving them money for their own benefit or to make decisions which aren’t best for you.
Relatives or close friends may also believe that they will, or should inherit assets or finances, and therefore feel a sense of entitlement to access your funds in advance. They may also feel the need to protect their inheritance (or perceived right to an inheritance) from expenses incurred by you, even if these are necessary for your wellbeing, such as the cost of aged care.
Your abusers may begin with honest intentions but later engage in abuse triggered by certain events, such as financial stress, family conflict, gambling, drug, alcohol abuse or other addiction issues.
In any case, elder financial abuse is never acceptable. There are steps that you can take to help protect yourself and it’s important to be aware of the warning signs and act when you feel something may not be right.
What are the warning signs that I may be experiencing elder financial abuse?
It may not always be clear if you are the victim of elder financial abuse. Below are some warning signs to look out for:
What can I do to protect myself?
To help you protect your financial future, create a support network to help you when you may not be able to deal with your financial affairs.
Choosing people you can trust, who have your best interests at heart and the right capabilities is very important. People you can consider are:
You can also take the following steps to protect yourself:
Who can I contact if I suspect I am being taken advantage of?
There are many organisations that can support you if you think you are experiencing elder financial abuse:
|1800 ELDERHelp||Free and confidential helpline for advice and information on elder abuse.||1800 353 374|
|Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission||A free service for anyone to raise concerns about the quality of aged care services subsidised by the government.||1800 951 822|
|ASIC Moneysmart||Free advice on how to manage financial affairs to all Australians.||1300 300 630
|Council on the Ageing (COTA Australia)||Provides leadership in social policy and community information and education for all older persons in Australia.||02 6154 9740
|Dementia Australia||Advocates for people living with all types of dementia and for their families and carers.||1800 100 500
|Legal Aid ACT||Free legal support to Australians across different states.
|1300 654 314|
|Legal Aid NSW||1300 888 259|
|NT Legal Aid Commission||1800 019 343|
|Legal Aid Queensland||1300 651 188|
|Legal Aid Commission SA||1300 366 424|
|Legal Aid Commission TAS||1300 366 611|
|Victoria Legal Aid||1300 793 387|
|Legal Aid Western Australia||1300 650 579|
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