Elder abuse happens in many different ways. Physical abuse by family members, by aged care facilities and by other forms of carer for the aged. Financial abuse. Misuse of Powers of Attorney to sell of assets or spend money held in bank accounts. Duress applied to decision making by the elderly. Undue influence in making a new Will. Siphoning off a parent’s superannuation or pension entitlements. Spending or diminishing a parent’s estate while he/she is alive so that the parent has little estate left to bequeath via a Will. Influencing a parent to enter into a reverse mortgage when it may not be in his or her best interest to do so. These forms of elder abuse are widespread and under-reported and so under investigated. Some older people may not even realise they are being subjected to elder abuse. The risk of abuse is greater when an older person has diminished capacity and is dependent on another family member for care and support. An elderly person subjected to abuse may become too frightened to tell anyone. Perpetrators often develop a sense of entitlement to an elderly parent’s assets. Early reporting and intervention is the best way to protect the elderly from such abuse. Timely legal advice may highlight possible remedies that can be pursued.
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