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Monday, April 19, 2010

Most elder financial abuse is by family & caregivers

On my visit to Toronto last week, I heard an excellent seminar given by the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI). These are the people who try to resolve issues that individuals and small businesses have with banking services or investment firms.

An interesting statistic I heard is that 50 - 65% of the victims of financial scams are seniors. The most appalling part is that most frauds against seniors are done by family members and caregivers!

So, most of the frauds against the most vulnerable group of people are performed by the very people they trust the most. If that doesn't make you worry about not only your parents, but about your own golden years, I don't know what would. It tells me, in my role as a lawyer, that I have to do even more to build accountability and transparency into substitute decision-making documents. It tells me as the daughter of a senior that I have to be constantly vigilant about my parent's finances.

I'm attaching a link here to a tool called "Indicators of Abuse" on the website for National Initiative for Care of the Elderly. It's an online test or survey that you can take to help you identify whether a senior in your life is being victimized. They have other useful tools too such as a "Caregiver Abuse Screen" and are definitely worth checking out.


  1. THANK YOU for this post. There is a lot of denial and secrecy about just who is financially abusing elders.

    1. I agree with your comment. Unfortunately, a lot of the denial and secrecy come from the victims themselves, as they have a terrible time trying to reconcile the child they love so much with the behaviour they are seeing. It's one hell of a tough place for a senior to be in. I hope any senior in this position will reach out by talking to seniors' resource lines or a friendly lawyer or banker they know, to see if they can get some help. There ARE alternatives to putting the kids in charge.



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