Awareness and prevention are the keys to stopping Financial Elder Abuse

News story
Studies suggest that up to 7% of Australians over the age of 65 will experience financial abuse from someone with whom they have a relationship of trust.

Maris is a 78 year old single mother to her son Jacob. Her story is one of heartache. Each day she lives with the fact that her only son has torn her life apart, her retirement savings gone. She describes the shame and emotional pain of her own son stealing from her, a pain that is far worse than the financial losses she has endured.

Financial Elder Abuse is a growing tragedy that is silently sweeping through our society. As our ageing population grows, unfortunately so too do stories like Maris’.

Financial Elder Abuse can be defined as illegally misusing or stealing an older person’s money, property or assets. From being fast-talked into buying products that will never be received to being coerced into signing documents that strip them of their assets, financial elder abuse is an insidious crime that can happen to any older person.

Sadly, only 4% of abuse cases are reported.

Like Maris’ situation, the financial abuse is predominantly carried out at the hands of the elderly person’s own family. Often, people do not report the crimes as they may experience feelings of shame or embarrassment that they have been abused by their own trusted son, daughter or family member.

Too often, there is a desire to protect their family rather than speak up and risk them disappearing from their lives or being punished. Tragically, in some situations, the elderly person may not be mentally capable of accessing help and reporting the abuse.

Learn more about Financial Elder Abuse - Don't ignore the red flags.

Page reviewed 31 August 2020