Look out for financial elder abuse

Hey there,

Did you know that this week is Elder Abuse Awareness Week? Yip, it’s crazy to think that people take advantage of those in their golden years but it happens, quite regularly.

As part of Elder Abuse Awareness Week we here at BNZ, as well as the New Zealand Bankers’ Association (NZBA) are encouraging people to look for the signs of financial elder abuse.

Financial elder abuse is the improper or illegal use of an elderly person’s finances. This includes property and other assets. Sadly, this kind of abuse is a very real risk for the older generation in New Zealand. The worst part about it is that it often involves family members or close friends taking advantage of people’s kindness and trust.

Around half of reported elder abuse cases involve financial abuse.

We all need to be vigilant about what to look out for when it comes to elder abuse so that if our family members or loved ones have fallen victim, we can assist them to get help.

Common examples of financial elder abuse include:

• Money or possessions being taken without authorisation;
• Powers of Attorney or Account Operating Authority being used inappropriately;
• Use of assets without permission;
• Non commitment to the payment of home loans;
• Use of homes without permission, along with contributing costs;
• Scams that are based on forming a relationship with an elderly person with the goal of stealing their life savings, personal information or assets.

The NZBA has provided further open source resources in case you’d like more information:

Age Concern’s Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention Service can provide assistance and advice in cases of elder abuse. Contact details are available here.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Week runs from 15 to 22 June. “Elder abuse hits close to home” is the theme for this year.

More information about Elder Abuse Awareness Week is available here.

It’s everyone’s role to keep our older generation safe so let’s do what we can to support Elder Abuse Awareness Week!