Elder abuse: national conference aims to tackle the rise of elder abuse

Yesterday, George Brandis addressed a national conference on elder abuse.

young lady with inheritance impatience looks enviously at her mother

Elder abuse in Australia is on the rise, with around six per cent of older Australians 65 and over suffering from some form of abuse – most often at the hands of trusted family members and friends.

The 4th National Elder Abuse Conference is currently being held in Melbourne and yesterday Senator George Brandis Attorney-General addressed the conference with an outline for combatting elder abuse in Australia.

“All of us are appalled by accounts of older people being mistreated, neglected; even physically or sexually abused. It sometimes seems that not a day goes by without a report of an assault, a scam, or some other mistreatment involving taking advantage of an older Australian,” stated Senator Brandis. “All Australians have the right to make their own decisions, to live self-determined lives, to live with dignity and free from exploitation, violence and abuse. Those rights do not diminish with age.”

He also praised Age and Disability Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan for her contributions towards protecting the rights of older Australians.

“She has vastly improved our understanding of issues faced by older Australians and I want to thank and congratulate her for that heartbreaking work,” he said.

Elder abuse can take the form of physical, sexual, emotional, mental and, most commonly, financial abuse. Although five to six per cent of older Australians are victims of elder abuse, those numbers could well be higher because of a natural reluctance to report such abuses by family members or friends.

In 2013–14, around $56.7 million was found ‘misappropriated’ from victims of elder abuse, stemming from such schemes as pension skimming, or accessing by family members of bank accounts and credit cards without consent, as well as abuse of power of attorney, where older people are denied access to their own money, or older people being coerced into changing the terms of their estate.

As our ageing population increases in number, the instances of elder abuse can be expected to soar.

In order to tackle the rising tide of elder abuse in Australia, aged care groups and welfare experts have called for the creation of a governing body to monitor and address the exploitation of older Australians. Manager of Seniors Rights Victoria Jenny Blakey also believes an organisation is needed to oversee the rights and treatment of the elderly.

"Not in a heavy-handed, police-approach way, because that would really scare and could really be detrimental in that sort of response, but a response that could come in and investigate, is this a problem or isn't it, and is this person being isolated so they can't act," she said.

To help raise Government awareness of this issue, Senator Brandis yesterday released an Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) report he commissioned last year, so that a more informed discussion can take place on how to combat these abuses in the future.

“The consequences of abuse, as the study found, are, as we all know, severe. It can destroy quality of life; it can isolate and disempower; and it can significantly increase the risk of untimely death,” he said. “We believe that financial abuse and psychological abuse are the most common forms of elder abuse. We know that abuse is most likely, I’m sorry to say, to be perpetrated by adult children taking advantage of their parents’ love and trust.”

It is to be hoped that the conference is a first step towards combatting elder abuse in Australia.

Read the AIFS report
Read the full transcript of Senator Brandis’ speech to the National Elder Abuse Conference.
Read more at www.abc.net.au

Opinion: Are you an unwitting victim?

It is often assumed that elder abuse takes the form of physical violence, but as the AIFS report shows, it more commonly involves financial abuse by trusted family members, often stemming from something called ‘inheritance impatience’.

This occurs when older Australians are encouraged, or coerced, by family members to either sell the family home or give them access to retirement savings.

According to NSW Seniors Rights Service solicitor Tom Cowen, the most common instances are known as ‘granny flat cases’.

"Elderly parents are induced to sell their home with an agreement that they can live in a granny flat at their child's property for life,” he told 720 ABC Perth. "Unfortunately the relationship between parents and children breakdown or the child and their spouse separate and the house becomes part of a financial settlement."

Often these arrangements lead to relationship breakdowns, leaving many older Australians homeless and penniless.

Besides financial abuse, other instances of elder abuse include physical, sexual and mental abuse by carers, and emotional abuse by family members, which can take the form of social isolation and psychological torment.

Elder abuse is defined by the Australian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse as:

any act occurring within a relationship where there is an implication of trust, which results in harm to an older person. Abuse may be physical, sexual, financial, psychological, social and/or neglect.

So, how do you protect yourself from what is primarily an abuse of trust?

The AIFS report suggests that the first step should be “changing the values and attitudes among the broader community and among professionals and individuals who interact with elders”, and the second step “mitigating the risk factors for elder abuse”.

Now that the Government has its report on how to go about tackling this issue, a public education campaign is sorely needed, so that the instances of abuse can be recognised by the wider community and elder abuse is no longer an invisible crime.

Until effective strategies are put in place, there are actions that can be taken within the community to help safeguard older Australians against elder abuse, such as monitoring risk factors. This includes monitoring older people who are socially isolated or withdrawn, or who have poor physical health; keeping a check on people with dementia, mental health or substance abuse issues, as well as family members or carers with mental health or substance abuse issues.

We can also keep an eye out for the warning signs of elder abuse which include, but are not limited to, the following:

Financial Exploitation

  • lack of affordable amenities and comforts
  • caregivers who have access to an elder’s money but fail to provide for their needs
  • those who have signed property transfers (or power of attorney or will) but aren’t sure what the transaction means

 

Physical Abuse

  • unexplained fractures, bruises, welts, cuts, sores, burns, or sexually transmitted diseases

 

Neglect

  • lack of basic hygiene
  • lack of appropriate clothing
  • lack of food
  • lack of medical aids
  • unsupervised person with dementia
  • those confined to bed without care
  • cluttered, dirty homes
  • homes in disrepair
  • lack of adequate facilities, such as cooktop, refrigerator, heating, cooling, plumbing or electricity
  • untreated bed sores or pressure ulcers.

Emotional Abuse

  • unexplained or uncharacteristic changes in behaviour
  • withdrawal from normal activities
  • unexplained changes in alertness
  • older people isolated by caregivers
  • verbally aggressive, controlling, or uncaring caregivers

Although Senator Brandis is to be commended for his stated intention to tackle elder abuse, we all know how the wheels of Government turn – extremely slowly. This is the fourth conference focusing on the issue, and much information available online is now quite old – illustrating just how little ground we’ve made til now in dealing with elder abuse. Let’s just hope we see some actual positive action taken soon.

In the meantime, we, as a community, can all do our part to help protect the older generation, giving them the respect they deserve, and the ability to live their late years in peace and comfort.

Do you know anyone who has fallen victim to elder abuse? Have you suffered elder abuse? What sort of strategies would you like to see put in place to help combat this issue? Do you have any recommendations to help our members safeguard themselves from elder abuse?





    COMMENTS

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    MICK
    25th Feb 2016
    10:15am
    The world we live in has changed. Both sides of the ledger.
    On the one side we have parents disinheriting their children and leaving their estates to vultures who show up to play the game and get the estate. On the other hand their are children who seem to think that they can access their parents' life time work above the grave...and feel entitled to do so.
    As I said above, what a world we have become. Seems to correlate when I look at society as a whole. Lack of genuine caring, ideas about 'rights' and privileges (mostly media driven) and greed with no bounds. And then there is the occasional ray of light.......
    nena
    25th Feb 2016
    10:39am
    I have just had a upsetting experience. A local handyman who appeared a respectable and a good working standards person to do a 2 or 3 hours work. He came the first day a did a good job and promise me to return the following week but he did not appear. I contacted him and he came to do a bit more promising to finish it the following Monday. Again he did not come so I contacted him again asking when was he going to complete the job, he said he was helping his wife in her job...I got upset and he hang up. Notice then he was doing my job in his spear time...is this a sort of elderly abuse? I´m 78!!!
    Nan Norma
    25th Feb 2016
    10:50am
    No, unless you paid him upfront. Otherwise I'd say he's a very busy man. Probabley found a bigger job elsewhere
    KSS
    25th Feb 2016
    12:22pm
    No it is not elder abuse. It is fairly typical of tradies these days. If something bigger or 'better' comes along off they go. If you have paid him for the job in full and he has not completed it, you have a case to go to the Department of Fair Trading (or Consumer Affairs) in your state. You make a formal complaint and they will take up your case and seek reparation. It is a free service. At the very least you could give them a call and seek advice.
    nena
    25th Feb 2016
    1:17pm
    Nan Norma and KSS thanks for advices, I know now for next time which probable would not be next time. I will just leave everything to disintegrate on top of me; anyway the government would sell it to get back the age pension I´m getting…perhaps for another 20 or 30 years but would get nothing LOL. However, he did not keep his words in two occasions then that is lack of decency, at least, I think
    Nan Norma
    25th Feb 2016
    10:41am
    I've been hearing this same story for years. Its all talk and no action. When abuse is reported nothing is done. I've been personally involved. A lot of money is spent to make it appear something is being done when in fact nothing has. Conferences are held, no doubt people are paid to attend. but nothing changes. All lip service.
    Up front lady
    25th Feb 2016
    11:02am
    totally agree nan, I reported financial elder abuse in NSW and got absolutely nowhere. They said they couldn't talk to me because I am only an in-law. The victim couldn't talk to them so the villan has got away with it. Useless body, just like all government
    maelcolium
    25th Feb 2016
    10:53am
    This is very complicated. When moving elderly parents to nursing homes, a move which is supported by government agencies, but often unwanted by the elderly, the children are seen as aggressors. Aging is a complex and individual process. Someone with significant health issues but with remaining mental accuity can raise a case for being forced against their will to do something simply because they don't want to deal with the realities of day to day life. So is it best to be proactive or wait until it all goes to hell in a hand basket? Individual situations are never black and white and this is just another example of governments wanting to appear to be doing something about something rather than addressing the real issues of access to affordable accomodation. The much touted assistance for the elderly to live in their own homes has degenerated into a profit making situation by care agencies whom are conflicted as they will often determine the capability of a person to remain in the home whilst benefiting from the care arrangements. In many occassions it remains the best option for a person to eneter assisted aged care accomodation while they have some ability to enjoy their declining years with appropriate care.
    Given the poor humanitarian track record of Brandis in particular, I find it amusing for him to be talking the moral high ground on this issue.
    Linda
    25th Feb 2016
    1:16pm
    I agree with you maelcolium. If we add dementia into the mix things become very cloudy indeed. I find it interesting that there is no mention of the kind of abuse handed out by nursing homes and home care management. While there may be some who do abuse their oldies, many carers work on the behalf of their loved one 24/7 with a little help form services. Often the hands on staff may have their hands tied as the company policy does not fit with the level of need. The home care packages are scarce, and being able to choose a service is simply not an option if there are no spaces available. While this article covers certainly some aspects of this issue, it is light on because it is made to sound so simple.

    My husband has dementia and serious mobility issues, and safety issues come up occasionally as he lacks the judgement to decide what is safe for him to do. We have tried respite in three different nursing homes and he took giant steps backwards by being away from his own home.

    I would like to see some government led energy put into a better program or system to ensure that old people in need of support and help are not cheated out of their money and assets by providers via the content of the contracts they are forced to sign in order to receive assistance. The salaries of some of the managers of these services are so high, you would not believe how much they are raking in.

    We are now a couple of years into a transition to a consumer centered aged care sector. There is still unresolved areas in the rules most especially around the rules for service providers. Not the hands on low paid workers but the management and boards of management.

    Imagine a 90 year old man or woman with dementia, being looked after by a 90 year old partner, who must work more than full time to care for the other. Someone comes in the door saying sign this and you will receive some help. How able and capable will they be to scrutinize that contract, to see if the provider is doing the right thing? There could be a number of very predatory policies in that contract, and the consumers might be so desperate they might sign anything for a bit of relief. Most carers end up being mentally and physically exhausted a lot of the time. Would they then be blamed if they were too tired to manage all that is needed?????
    Anonymous
    27th Feb 2016
    10:21am
    I agree, Linda. There is some appalling abuse and neglect going on in nursing homes, and the worst of it is that the abused and neglected are often paying extortionate fees to be treated badly.

    I fought a constant battle with management at the nursing home my mother was in to try to ensure she was treated with respect. I made myself quite unpopular in the process! It started with a predatory contractual process that is actually illegal, but that many would have no defence against.

    Ultimately, it was a losing battle. I'm appalled at the way that place was run, and it was actually a relief when my poor mother passed away and I didn't have to worry constantly about how to protect her or about trying (in vain!) to find better care alternatives. There were wonderfully dedicated staff there who worked tirelessly, but the management was greedy and there were staff members who should not have been employed at all, let alone let loose with the frail elderly.

    ''Consumer-centered'' age care means ''outrageously expensive'' and ''totally profit driven''. from what I can see. $500,000 bonds + 80% of an old person's income for a tiny, sparsely furnished room with a toilet, shower and washbasin adjoining. And when they die, the bond is retained for months, with no interest, until probate is granted. It's not good enough!
    Up front lady
    25th Feb 2016
    10:59am
    My mother in law was completely ripped off by her younger son. He got her to write a cheque for $200 as a gift for his mistress. They then changed the amount to $200,000.00! She wouldn't let us go to the police as she didn't want her darling boy to get into trouble! The bank and even a solicitor didn't want to know about it and neither did the elder abuse people in NSW. So he has got away with fraud, elder abuse, theft and anything else you can think of. She now manages with very little spare cash as her pension covers her care in a village.
    Nan Norma
    25th Feb 2016
    11:06am
    A familiar story. No one can do anything if the elderly person won't complain. Also, if a parent is living with their child they may fear reprisals.
    LiveItUp
    25th Feb 2016
    12:26pm
    A similar thing happened to my mother in law by her own daughter. No one wanted to know and my mother in law couldn't let her daughter get into trouble. Since her death her daughter has wrote to me asking forgiveness and said she earned the money. I'm still wondering how she did earn it.
    KSS
    25th Feb 2016
    12:35pm
    Bonny if someone broke into your house and stole your possessions and any money or credit cards they found, your neighbour reported it to the police and you refused to give them a statement, just what exactly do you expect the police to do? In their eyes no crime has been committed so nothing to investigate.

    Its the same thing with financial abuse of the elderly. Given that most financial abuse if perpetrated by family members, the reluctance of the victim to report them is understandable. But if they don't, no one can do anything. Its not a case of "not wanting to know" its the fact that without a complaint from the victim, there is nothing TO do!
    gilstamp
    26th Feb 2016
    7:27pm
    This is a social issue, not a specifically a criminal issue, and should be treated as such with welfare as the justification and without the need for the formalities of the law.
    Anonymous
    28th Feb 2016
    11:21am
    If it involves fraud, theft, extortion, physical abuse, or blatant bullying, then it's very much a criminal issue, gilstamp, and should be dealt with as such, with the harshest possible criminal penalties.
    Anonymous
    28th Feb 2016
    3:34pm
    Upfront I know of a similar case. My sis in law was raised by an aunt from the age of 9 when her mum died from cancer.

    The aunt had one son. In her Will she was going to leave a certain sum to her niece of whom she was very fond. The son got wind of this and eventually got Power of Attorney for his mother and the first thing he did was go into the bank and transfer all into his name.

    When his mother, in company with niece, went in to see the bank manager (he called her in) she was informed by him that all her assets had been changed into her son 's name.

    The shock was so much she had to be virtually carried out to the car. This lady could not accept that her own son would do this and switched her mind off to it and eventually died. He got away with it and the niece got nothing.

    Karma got him...not long after he died from cancer and his wife got the lot.
    gillham
    25th Feb 2016
    11:18am
    Yes I'm elderly and the subject of abuse from my wife. But Society says abuse by women is OK. So I guess it must be.
    CindyLou
    25th Feb 2016
    12:16pm
    Bit puzzled by your post Gilliam...if you experience abuse from a partner it's domestic violence. If separated and were 'skinned' by family court legal people then that's most unfortunate for the individual (I'm aware it does occur - truly sucks).

    Neither of above is elder abuse...not great but not relevant to topic.
    gillham
    25th Feb 2016
    1:25pm
    I'm an elder and I'm abused. So Cindy-Lou, you are another one who does not want to hear about it.

    I didn't mention the Family Court, but you recognise that's a stitch up for men as well.
    CindyLou
    26th Feb 2016
    12:38am
    The issues surrounding elder abuse are complex...in relation to alleged abuse from spouse as noted in my previous post this is really a domestic abuse issue, again most complex but different dynamics to the topic article.

    Unfortunately I think elder abuse is so complex with family dynamics etc that it's almost impossible to halt.

    Gillham you suggest that I am another "that doesn't want to hear about it" - huge sweeping statement/assumption of another individuals (mine) mindset.
    LadyLover62
    26th Feb 2016
    1:20am
    I was once a taxi driver and many of my passengers were elderly and mostly kind & gentle. I heard some horrific financial abuse stories. I could not believe that ones own flesh & blood could do such crimes. It's out there and way more common than the general public would assume.
    Gill I am also well aware of abuse by woman to a male spouse. A very sad and sickening thought in either circumstances and very little support thus far. Please contact some help lines to get some advice.
    disillusioned
    25th Feb 2016
    11:40am
    It starts right at the top - if the government doesn't value us "oldies" then why should anyone else? I see it so subtly enacted in the government gradually withdrawing older persons' rights and entitlements, and actually blaming them for "hoarding" their money (NB "THEIR money") by wanting to stay in the family home, putting THEIR money into super, etc.
    As Pearl S. Buck so eloquently put it, "Our society must make it right and possible for old people not to fear the young or be deserted by them, for the test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members".
    Fiona
    25th Feb 2016
    1:07pm
    Yes you are right about the govt. My friend's mother was put in a nursing home so her home had to be sold and $300,000 bond paid to the nursing home.
    Friend noticed extra money taken from her mother's account. That money is now considered an asset so pension has been cut and extra money from her savings goes to the nursing home.
    Charlie
    25th Feb 2016
    12:45pm
    I got banned from a McDonalds store last year for putting complaints on their website register. Which is where they are supposed to be put isn't it.
    Well that's what they said was the problem anyway.

    There seems to be a Queensland Law where the proprietor of a store can ban anybody for any reason and they don't have to disclose the reason.

    Its so ridiculous that there has to be more to it, like discrimination against the aged who are supposedly demented and don't know anything. Perhaps when they ask for feedback they only mean positive feedback and you are not allowed to say anything negative, oops I've done it again.

    I wrote two letters to their head office asking for an explanation. That was last year and I am still waiting.
    Anonymous
    25th Feb 2016
    6:18pm
    "The burgers are better at Hungry Jack's".
    Pamiea
    25th Feb 2016
    12:46pm
    My son who is almost 40 hasn't spoken to me for the past two years. I have no explanation for this behaviour and find it quite heartbreaking and difficult to deal with. I didn't realise its classed as elder abuse but after reading this article I now realise it is. I wait for birthday and Christmas cards but they are not forthcoming.
    Anonymous
    25th Feb 2016
    10:48pm
    Pamiea

    Stop waiting mate.... consider that you are elderly and need to enjoy every bit of what life has to offer, whilst you can.

    Take what money you can and if necessary use up all the equity in your home. At least have the last laugh!
    Jennie
    25th Feb 2016
    1:15pm
    I live in a retirement apartment complex and in the eyes of the owners it is "living the dream" and equivalent to a 5 star hotel accommodation. Great, except the village manager is untrained, uncaring, has favourites among staff and residents (those who don't "rock the boat") and is spiteful to those who ask for appropriate help (eg, can I keep a gopher in the basement carpark; can you let another (named) Resident know which hospital I am in...)
    Re the warning signs above, this behaviour falls under the category, "verbally aggressive, controlling, or uncaring caregivers." As this manager is not a caregiver per se but is abusive to many Residents, we have a dilemma on our hands, especially for myself and my husband as we being younger Residents will fight on behalf of those Residents who are older/infirm/frail/fearful of speaking out. A formal complaint to a higher up manager is not helpful due to nepotism...
    Sweet pea
    27th Feb 2016
    9:31pm
    Jennifer. I read with interest your article. Until the powers to be take action against the so-called professionals they put in charge to run these Retirement Villages nothing will be done because no-one wants to rock the boat. It's a completely different story as you say if you are one of the 'favourite tennants'.
    I am hoping that the good man sitting upstairs gives me enough time to get my life organised and allow me to expose these so-called caring establishments.
    Jennie
    28th Feb 2016
    11:21am
    Thank you Sweet pea for your response. I would be most interested to know how you might intend to expose these horrors. The State's Retirement Village Association can arbitrate if requested but can't sack the village manager and, involving an external agency (with too little teeth...) can cause said manager to become more vindictive..
    kinkakuji
    25th Feb 2016
    4:32pm
    Part G - Nursing Home Plan
    Say you are an older senior citizen and can no longer take care of yourself and the government says there is no Nursing Home care available for you. So, what do you do? You opt for Medicare Part G.
    The plan gives anyone 75 or older a gun (Part G) and one bullet. You are allowed to shoot one worthless politician. This means you will be sent to prison for the rest of your life where you will receive three meals a day, a roof over your head, central heating and air conditioning, cable TV, a library, and all the Health Care you need. Need new teeth? No problem. Need glasses? That's great. Need a hearing aid, new hip, knees, kidney, lungs, sex change, or heart? They are all covered!
    As an added bonus, your kids can come and visit you at least as often as they do now! And, who will be paying for all of this? The same government that just told you they can't afford for you to go into a nursing home. And now, because you are a prisoner, you don't have to pay any more income taxes and the funeral is taken care of .
    Is this a great country or what? Now that you have solved your senior financial plan, enjoy the rest of your week!
    Sparkles
    25th Feb 2016
    9:27pm
    Love it!
    ANONYMOUS
    25th Feb 2016
    6:49pm
    You know I have just saved My own Mother from Financial, Emotional and Mental Abuse at the hands of a family member. BUT NOW the form has changed to Abusing ME!!!

    Where is the help for Children being ABUSED by their demanding Parents ................ who may be losing their marbles ................. BUT remember only too well how to weild the sword of Power, Misery and Abuse on YOU :( :( :(
    cyclonesally
    25th Feb 2016
    8:44pm
    I know of a lady who has come in to her husbands life insurance after he passed away. Her grown up kids are constantly asking her for money and even asking her to purchase property for them. When she refuses they deny her access to the grandchildren and/or ignore her and don't visit for months at a time. Is this elder abuse & if so what could be done about it?
    KSS
    25th Feb 2016
    9:08pm
    At the very least I'd say this is emotional blackmail, greed and bullying. But the definition given:

    "Elder abuse is defined by the Australian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse as:
    any act occurring within a relationship where there is an implication of trust, which results in harm to an older person. Abuse may be physical, sexual, financial, psychological, social and/or neglect."

    And from the little you say the 'implication of trust' bit seems to be missing i.e. your lady's welfare does not depend on her children. So maybe not exactly elder abuse per se, but definitely reprehensible behaviour.
    Anonymous
    28th Feb 2016
    3:06pm
    Tell her not to submit to the blackmail, wipe all of the money grabbers from her life, make new friends, even move away to a new location and to hell with them all. She should enjoy herself spend all the money and leave nothing for the vultures!

    26th Feb 2016
    6:02pm
    My father was the victim of elder abuse. He chose not to do anything because it was his favourite youngest daughter. Prior to his death he wiped his hands of her and said he did not care if he never laid eyes on her again. Financial, emotional blackmail was done to him...never, ever think it will not happen in your family. I never thought it would...how wrong I was. When it comes to money all feelings for elderly parents appear to go right out the window, for some! My advise is be very, very wary.
    Nan Norma
    26th Feb 2016
    6:19pm
    Radish. Your story is a bit like mine. My youngest sister 'grannynapped" my mother.
    She then decided whom my mother could see. It was as if my mother was her prisoner. There were lots of dirty tricks played but nobody was interested. She financially abused her. I had the public trustee appointed but they were useless.
    Even the Adult guardian did nothing. As you say when it comes to money some people have no conscience at all.
    I was then abused by my sister because I tried to do something about it. But as I said nobody was interested.

    27th Feb 2016
    10:10am
    I've had a lot of bad luck in my life, but luck was on my side when it came to dealing with my mother's decline. She was the victim of abuse and theft by another family member, which triggered rapid decline due to depression and anxiety. Fortunately, she was a very strong and independent lady and quite resourceful. While the abuse knocked her badly, and she refused to report it because she didn't want to get a relative into trouble, she did have it all documented in a legal declaration that was to be kept private unless certain problems arose later.
    I was accused of all kinds of things when I helped my mother sell her home and arrange transfer to a nursing home. Thankfully, my mother was sufficiently mentally alert to understand her situation correctly and make her own decisions. Not only that, but she wrote to friends (who have passed on her letters to me) telling them she had made her own decisions and was grateful that my partner and I had ''been wonderful to her, helping her with everything and making sure she was looked after properly, and visiting often and seeing to all her needs''.

    I say that was lucky because I've since faced vicious accusations of elder abuse and abusing a Power of Attorney for personal gain. Fortunately, my mother's sensible precautions (together with my meticulous record keeping) have afforded me protection, but I can see how easy it would be for some who do the right thing by frail elderly relatives to have their actions misjudged and to be wrongfully accused.

    There are no simple answers when old people lose their capacity. Abuse is inexcusable, but our society doesn't provide enough valid options for ensuring the old are properly cared for and protected.

    I fear old age, and can only hope one of my daughters is positioned to be able to support me somehow (not financially, but by arranging appropriate care) because I've already been badly abused by my son and I know he would make my life hell if I couldn't look after my own interests. And he wouldn't hesitate to rob me if he had half an opportunity.
    Nan Norma
    27th Feb 2016
    10:21am
    Rainey, It is terrible when you can't trust your own children. I think I'd prefer to go in an aged care home rather than live with any of them. They have their own problems, their own partners. I'd not want to be in the middle of all that.
    It is very complex I know.
    Anonymous
    27th Feb 2016
    9:17pm
    Yes, Nan Norma. My mother insisted on a home. She flatly refused to consider living with anyone. She didn't, however, know how bad the home would be, and neither did I. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Don't know what I'll do. I sure don't want to impose on my kids. My daughters would look after me if necessary. My son would abuse me and rob me blind.
    Nan Norma
    28th Feb 2016
    12:36am
    Rainey, I know there are some bad places out there but I know there some good ones too. Same goes for child are centres.
    Lily
    28th Feb 2016
    2:32pm
    My story is such a long one I can not tell it. Yes inheritance is involved. My mother inherited from her parents and she died in her late 70's years wanting her children and grandchildren to inherit from her just as I expect my children to inherit from me.

    But I would also like any reader to know that it is impossible to do a lot about financial abuse. It usually accompanies social, psychological and physical abuse too.

    My 95 year old father suffered dementia (not Alzheimer's type) and did not need any assessment to get married, and could do so without his family's knowledge.

    It subsequently cost my family $100,000( and many pages of documentation, and stat decs ) to take my father's case of spousal abuse , to the Guardianship board. I was always concerned that my father would die prematurely in the circumstances but as a daughter and general practitioner I had absolutely no power.

    An emergency order was denied. Six months later his wife was allowed to keep guardianship but 2 months later he was put into administration. His bank account at this time were overdrawn for the first time in his life.

    The bank which he had been with for fifty years with a saving history and no previous credit cards, was never interested that he had an overseas bank account set up and he had had 13 credit cards in what was to be the last year of is life. Some credit cards with unusual purchases were opened and closed within just three days.

    My father presented to the bank, at 4 doctor's surgeries and I imagine to the 5 lawyers involved, without working hearing aids and his new wife did all the money transfers and organised the credit cards and talked for him. Ultimately he was abused by them all.

    I said to my family's lawyer, "f you can not win a case like ours, three professional people with access to a lot of information, then they should advise future potential clients to give up at the beginning.

    Privacy laws did not help my father but they protected the abusers who would appear to others to be model citizens.

    My father "died " just four weeks after the adminstrator took over his finances. His wife said he was "perfectly well" when he died after his dinner.

    I wrote to a Helpline three times. In my last letter I said "elder abuse is too hard to fight and in reality no one really cares."
    Bijou
    28th Feb 2016
    7:05pm
    There are so many sad stories on this page. If anyone lives in Western Australia, there's a number you can ring:

    Advocare
    Address: 1/190 Abernethy Rd, Belmont WA 6104
    Phone:(08) 9479 7566
    Pamiea
    15th Jun 2016
    11:59am
    My wealthy brother and sister tried to divvy up my mum's house money when she went into a nursing home. My brother held an Enduring Power of Attorney. I had to take him and my sister to the State Administrative Tribunal in Perth to have his EPA removed. My brother and I are joint administrators now but he refuses to do any of the work involved in accounting to the Public Trustee!! Fortunately my mother has one honest child. ME!
    Oars
    12th Dec 2016
    3:10pm
    Why give such power to Lawyers, when their "hidden agenda" is to gouge fees and some less subtle ones defraud their clients. There should be a Royal Commision into Lawyers, who are a far cry from the Trusted Professionals of yesteryear. I speak from recent experience. The Chinese have large rusty boats for their norty lawyers. Maybe that is what is floating off our shores now ?
    We should spend our money now and let these bludgers servive like we have had to.