Throughout Australia older people are losing their savings, property and homes through financial abuse, usually at the hands of persons close to them such as an adult child or grandchild.
A sense of entitlement, ‘Inheritance impatience’ or opportunism can encourage people to ‘help themselves’ to an older person’s assets.
Elder abuse is not a new problem. It has been occurring in Australia and elsewhere for generations – but its only now that serious steps are being taken to address it.
While the extent of elder abuse in Australia is unknown, conservative estimates suggest at least 9% of older Australians suffer from financial abuse. However, we know that because of the hidden nature of the problem, the majority of cases go unreported.
Sadly, a majority of elder financial abuse occurs within families, and is defined as the illegal or improper use of a person’s finances or property by another person with whom they have a relationship implying trust.