Alzheimer’s Australia NSW has added its voice today to those across the globe on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day in drawing attention to the incidence of financial abuse of older people, particularly those with dementia.
Older people living with dementia are increasingly vulnerable to financial abuse and exploitation as dementia progresses, due to the gradual loss of their ability and capacity to manage their financial affairs.
Alzheimer’s Australia NSW CEO The Hon. John Watkins AM said World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is a timely opportunity to remind the public that financial abuse of people with dementia can occur, with victims of financial abuse often knowing their perpetrator.
“Sadly, financial abuse of people with dementia is often perpetrated by those who they trust – family members, friends, neighbours or people who have been authorised to manage their money and financial affairs,” Mr Watkins said.
“Less common, people with dementia can be targeted by a person who they come into contact with and who seeks to take advantage of their vulnerability. This can include scams by strangers claiming to be representing an organisation or cause.”
Financial abuse can also include pressure to act as guarantor for a loan, to transfer or sell property or to give money away.
“There are many signs and behaviours to look out for that could indicate someone with dementia is being financially abused, most notably fear, stress and anxiety expressed by a person with dementia,” Mr Watkins said.
“People should also be alert to other forms of abuse, such as physical, sexual and psychological abuse and neglect, which can occur alongside financial abuse.”
The Alzheimer’s Australia resource Preventing Financial Abuse of People with Dementia provides information on the red flags of financial abuse, how you can protect yourself or the person you care for from being financially abused, and who to contact if you or a loved one have been a victim of it.
Preventing Financial Abuse of People with Dementia can be accessed here
If you suspect elder abuse is occurring or you would like further information, contact the NSW Elder Abuse Helpline on 1800 628 221.
For information and support on dementia, contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.