Saturday 10 December 2016

Elder financial abuse: Demands from family members for money among issues - survey

Published 15/06/2015 | 08:21

Elderly generic
Elderly generic

DEMANDS from family members for money are among the issues that arose in new research on elder financial abuse in a survey from Age Action and Ulster Bank.

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In addition, almost 50pc of bank officials have dealt with elder financial abuse.

The survey asked 493 Ulster bank customer service staff about their experience of elder financial abuse. 45pc of respondents had dealt with suspected elder financial abuse cases, almost all of whom had dealt with at least one case in the previous 12 months.

68pc of the Bank’s respondents were familiar with elder financial abuse, rising to 75pc among those with 10 years or more experience.

There were more than 13,000 cases of elder abuse referred to the HSE up to the end of 2013. Financial abuse is the second most common form of elder abuse, accounting for more than one in five cases.

Justin Moran, Head of Advocacy and Communications at Age Action, said: “Every year, hundreds of older people are facing demands for money from family members, having their income withheld from them or finding their possessions taken.

“To make it worse, in the overwhelming majority of cases of elder abuse, the perpetrators are immediate family members.”

Among the case studies detailed was the story of Sineád, who has been diagnosed with dementia. During a period when she was experiencing reduced mental capacity, her son persuaded her to set up a joint bank account.

Her son then used this account to obtain a credit card and made a number of purchases on the card for which Sineád was charged.

Afterwards, during a more lucid period, Sineád realised what had happened. With the help of her daughter, she approached her bank which recognised it as fraud and reimbursed her.

The HSE operates an information line for reporting cases of suspected elder abuse from Monday to Saturday, 8am to 8pm, at 1850 24 1850.

Age Action also runs an information line for anyone who might be concerned about elder abuse. It operates from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, at 01 475 6989.

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