Elder fraud and abuse has become a growing concern and with the changing demographics in Canada it is expected to intensify in the coming years. It is anticipated that by 2031, one in four people living in Canada will be over 65 years of age. Elder fraud and abuse can take many forms and may involve any act or gesture that harms or threatens to harm an elder including, physical, sexual, financial and psychological abuse, as well as neglect.
The financial side of elder fraud and abuse involves the misuse of an elders funds and assets, obtaining funds without the knowledge and consent of the elder and using those funds not in the best interest of the elder. This is also referred to as material abuse. It is estimated that 10% of elder people in B.C. have been victims of financial abuse with an average amount over $20,000.
- A relative or caregiver has no visible means of support and overly interested in the elders financial affairs.
- The utility bills are not being paid.
- There are suspicious signatures on the elder’s cheques.
- There is unusual baking activity.
- The elder is concerned about “missing money.”
Most victims of elder fraud and abuse don’t realize they are being victimized which may be due for several reasons including frailty, dementia and even isolation. If you suspect that someone is a victim of elder fraud or abuse, help them by contacting their local police agency to file a report.