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Friday, June 15, 2012

US targets financial abuse of elderly

The LA Times newspaper has a story about the US government cracking down on those who perpetrate financial abuse on seniors. Click here to read it. I'm very glad that the prevention of elder financial abuse has gained enough awareness to light a fire under legislators. Unfortunately so far nobody has come up with much in the way of preventing abuse by a senior's own family members, who are by far the most common perpetrators.

Here in Canada we already have laws in place that would deal with theft and fraud by family members (and others of course) but they are not widely used. This is partly because the crimes themselves are under-reported. Seniors are embarrassed by being fooled, and many hesitate to point the finger at one of their kids even when it's crystal clear that the child has stolen money.

There is also the fact that when children have been given power of attorney by their parents, and then take money for themselves, they usually defend themselves by saying their parent directed them to take the money as "thanks". It can be extremely difficult to determine whether that is true or not.

In any event, this move by the U.S. is a step in the right direction.

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