The Government of Canada reports that financial abuse of seniors is the most common form of elder abuse that occurs. In many cases, an elder is not aware of the fact that financial abuse is occurring or is too embarrassed to seek help, so it often falls upon family members and other loved ones of seniors to be on the lookout for the signs of this kind of abuse. The information below is designed to help people recognize the signs of abuse and take steps to address it. For information or advice regarding a specific case of elder abuse, contact a lawyer at McLarty Wolf today.
What Makes a Person Vulnerable to Financial Elder Abuse?
Awareness of why a person may be vulnerable to financial elder abuse is the first step in preventing it from occurring. Canadians aged 55 and older constitute one of the fastest growing populations in the country. In the coming decades, it is projected that Canada’s population will continue to age considerably, with the proportion of Canadians aged 55 and older rising from 27% in 2011 to 35% in 2031. With a growing aging population in mind, it is important to understand why financial elder abuse can happen as it is likely to become an increasing problem. The victims of financial elder abuse may be socially isolated, physically impaired, widowed, living alone, have health or cognitive problems or may not appear to be vulnerable in any way. Financial elder abuse can arise out of an existing relationship of trust, relationships where there is an element of reliance, or from someone within a circle of closeness. Often times there is also a relationship of dependency between the abuser and the victim.
What are some Signs that Financial Elder Abuse may be Occurring and Examples of Financial Abuse?
Some signs that financial elder abuse may be occurring include:
- entering into legal arrangements that they do not understand, such as a new will or mortgage
- a sudden decrease in funds or financial holdings
- bills are unpaid or utilities are disconnected
For a helpful description of what to look for when you are concerned a family member or friend may be a victim of elder abuse please refer to our previous blog “What are the Signs of Financial Elder Abus