Indicators of potential financial abuse

Content Summary

It is common for close family and friends to be well intentioned in planning the care of an older person. Their intentions may stem from over protectiveness or a sense of obligation.

The range of acts or omissions that constitute abuse occur along a continuum: at one end, harm results from a poor understanding of an older person’s needs; at the other, harm results from aggression and serious physical assault. In different circumstances, different sorts of interventions are required.

Abuse may occur as a result of an inability to cope, frustration, ignorance or negligence. Abuse can be unintentional or deliberate. Some forms of abuse are criminal acts, for example, physical and sexual abuse. Other types, such as financial misappropriation, may not reach the level of criminality but may require redress through guardianship or civil proceedings. Other situations might be best regarded as forms of domestic violence, with interventions shaped accordingly. Economic abuse is included in the Australian Government’s Services Australia definition of family and domestic violence.

Remember, in most cases you will be looking at potential elder abuse and your objective will be to ensure that the older person is making an independent and informed decision and has considered the full implications of any transactions and possible changes in their circumstances into the future.

Info and resources to help understand the indicators of abuse

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