Financial Abuse to the Vulnerable

Age UK calls for more collaboration between health, social services and financial sectors to recognise and report signs of financial abuse.

Tens of thousands of older people are at risk of financial abuse, with those with dementia or reduced cognitive function the most vulnerable, according to Age UK.

The warning comes as the latest figures show that at least 130,000 older people have suffered some form of financial abuse from someone known to them since turning 65. financial abuse2.jpg

The figures also show that women are twice as likely as men to be victims of financial abuse in later life, with the majority being women aged 80 to 89 and living on their own, single or widowed.

Disability and cognitive decline are also factors that increase the risk of financial abuse.

The charity is warning that financial abuse can have a serious impact on older people, both financially and emotionally, and loss of even a small amount can be catastrophic, especially for those on low incomes.

Abuse of this kind is also closely linked to negative health outcomes and a decline in mental health and resilience.

This issue is increasingly recognised by the banking industry, for example in the recent Citizens Advice and BBA report on financial abuse in partner relationships, but Age UK is keen to see similar approaches adapted to the older population.

financial abuse1Despite many people believing that rogue traders and scammers are the biggest threat, sadly the evidence shows that family members can often be the perpetrators – in fact half of all of this type of crime, which excludes scams, is carried out by the adult children of the victims.

Scams committed by people unrelated to the victim are also an increasing problem.

With around 300,000 older people dependent on others for help with financial transactions, the charity argues that there is a need for improved protocols and staff training to recognise the tell tale signs of financial abuse and to assist older customers.

The charity is keen for all professionals who come into contact with older people – not just in the financial sector but in others including health and social services, as well as legal and police services among others – to be given the training, guidance and support required to recognise and take action if financial abuse is suspected.

In addition to better staff training, Age UK is calling on banks to improve their detection systems and change their approach to liability.

Age UK offers a free advice service for older people who are affected by any of these issues. People can call Age UK Advice free of charge on 0800 169 6565. <img class="size-medium wp-image-168 alignright" src="" alt="financial abuse2" srcset=" 300w, 260w, https://i2 blood pressure medicine 50w, 134w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />


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