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7 signs of financial elder abuse

Everyone has a role to play in identifying and preventing financial elder abuse. The following are signs to watch for, that it could be happening to an older person you know.

7 signs of financial elder abuse

#1: The person tells you someone is taking advantage of them

If someone tells you they are being abused, pressured or coerced, it is best to believe them, take their claims seriously, ask questions and offer support.

7 signs of financial elder abuse

#2: They are having trouble paying their bills

Despite a history of being financially responsible, bills are not being paid on time. You may notice unpaid bills piling up, collection notices or unopened mail accumulating.

7 signs of financial elder abuse

#3: They are no longer buying things they need, like clothes, personal hygiene products, groceries or medications

You notice a decline in their standard of living that is not in keeping with their income or usual habits.

7 signs of financial elder abuse

#4: Sudden or large amounts of cash are being withdrawn from their accounts

Unusual changes to a person’s financial behavior, especially cash withdrawals or transfers of money are occurring. This is particularly questionable if they do not appear to be spending this money on themselves.

7 signs of financial elder abuse

#5: Unexplained disappearances of their possessions, jewelry or art

Precious and valuable items appear to be missing from their homes. This could be a result of theft, pawning or pressured gifting.

7 signs of financial elder abuse

#6: Surprising changes to their living arrangements

This can include someone unexpectedly moving in with them (potentially rent-free) or the sudden sale of the person’s home.

7 signs of financial elder abuse

#7: Misuse of Power of Attorney (PoA)

The PoA makes decisions or takes actions, which are not in the best interests of the older adult. Examples of abuse include theft or misuse of funds or going against the older adult’s wishes.

7 signs of financial elder abuse

Additional resources

Visit the Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (CNPEA) and Elder Abuse Ontario (EAO) for more resources and tips. You may also wish to contact local law enforcement agencies (police) for further guidance.

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