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November 16, 2011

Seniors Warned of Financial Abuse Risk (AUSTRALIA)

Seniors warned of financial abuse risk
BY RHIANA WHITSON
15 Nov, 2011

EPPING Pensioners Association has warned elderly residents to be wary of financial abuse at the hands of family.
The comments follow research released last month which found that five per cent of elderly people become victims of elder financial abuse.
Eastern Health and Monash University surveyed more than 500 people from Melbourne's north east region, including Whittlesea.
The study found that women over 65 are most at risk from elder financial abuse.
Eastern Health Associate Professor Jo Wainer said that abuse often started when family or close friends convinced the elderly person to sign over their power of attorney.
"Sometimes it's sons and daughters or grandchildren. They want to get their inheritance now. The children say: 'Look Mum, do you want to come and stay with us? In return, you sell your home, we'll pay off the mortgage at my place.' But often the child will end up relinquishing their parents to care and the elderly person is left with nothing but a pension."
She said elderly people with dementia or deteriorating vision frequently signed over powers of attorney to family members to manage their financial affairs on their behalf.
Epping Pensioners Association spokeswoman Irene Short said elder financial abuse was common in Whittlesea. Ms Short said elderly people should seek guidance from legal services before signing over power of attorney.
Seniors Rights Victoria manager Jenny Blackey said the service receives about one call a day from people seeking advice about elder financial abuse. She said the number of people who fall victim to elder financial abuse would be much higher than five per cent.
"We're an ageing population and we live longer, so we will see more of this. It's a shock to realise that someone you've trusted would do this to you. But there is help out there."
Ms Blackey said anyone seeking information about elder financial abuse should contact Seniors Rights Victoria on             1300 368 821      


SOURCE:    BanyuleAndNillumbi Weekly
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