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Elder financial abuse won’t go away

Elder financial abuse won’t go away

Ann Martin, Age Concern New Zealand Chief Executive

22 September 200

Age Concern New Zealand is saddened to see another case of elder financial abuse uncovered, this time in Auckland.

The Geerkins family have successfully sued to recover the $51,000 their late mother was persuaded to give to her neighbours.

“Age Concern councils are working to help older people and their families facing similar – and worse – abuse,” Ann Martin says.

Abuse of older people is never okay and Age Concern says it has to stop.

“Of the elder abuse reported to Age Concern New Zealand, 42% involves financial abuse. Sadly, we have found that most abusers are family members (67% of cases) – most often sons or daughters,” Ann Martin says.

Elder financial abuse involves the misuse of funds or other resources of older people by people they trust.

“Any older person who lets others make financial decisions for them is potentially at risk.

“If you’re an older person facing financial abuse, the first step is to tell someone you trust.

“The Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention Service provided by many Age Concern councils is equipped to deal with elder financial abuse and is ready to help.”

“We’re also calling on the community to help older people. Be aware of signs of financial abuse.

“Indicators include older people who appear worse-off financially than they should be, older people who appear confused about transactions or surprised at account balances, and people who appear fearful discussing finances, especially if accompanied by others who speak for them.”

Ann Martin warns that the issue needs to be handled sensitively. Many people experiencing abuse feel shame and guilt, especially if family members are involved, and it’s the older person’s decision how they deal with financial abuse.

“We must all respect older people’s right to control their money and resources,” Ann Martin says.


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