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If you suspect financial elder abuse

Do you believe that someone is stealing funds or manipulating an older adult into giving them money, access to bank accounts, or financial powers of attorney? Here are some suggestions on how to respond.

If you suspect financial elder abuse

#1: Speak with the person you are concerned about

Find a private moment and space where you can both speak freely. Try to avoid being judgmental or imposing your opinions. Instead, ask questions that convey a sense of caring.

If you suspect financial elder abuse

#2: Respect that it’s their life and their money

Adults, who are mentally capable, have the right to make decisions about their assets and money. You may disagree with their decisions, but they have the right to independence, privacy and confidentiality.

If you suspect financial elder abuse

#3: Avoid ageism

Don’t make assumptions about someone’s capabilities or intentions based purely on their age. Recognize that discriminatory thinking and stereotypes about older people may be impacting your judgment and approach.

If you suspect financial elder abuse

#4: Share stories about scams with them

If you suspect a person may be susceptible to frauds or scams, tell them about stories of scams you’ve read about on GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca or in the newspapers. This can empower them to recognize the tricks scammers use.

If you suspect financial elder abuse

#5: Ask for permission before investigating your suspicions around potential financial abuse

Get the consent of the older adult before taking any action. This includes asking for their permission to accompany them to the bank or a lawyer’s office, or helping them review contracts or financial documentation. If they do not want your help, respect their wishes but offer to provide support.

If you suspect financial elder abuse

#6: Gain a better understanding of what constitutes elder abuse

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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