Questions and Answers
Financial Elder Abuse. What you should know…
Financial abuse is the most common form of elder abuse in Canada. Financial abuse can happen at any time, but it will often start after a health crisis or after the death of a spouse, partner or close friend. People who are alone, lonely or in poor health are more vulnerable. They may find it harder to protect themselves from demands for money or other forms of financial abuse, or from physical and emotional abuse, which may occur at the same time.
What is financial abuse?
Financial abuse is the illegal or unauthorized use of someone else’s money or property. It includes pressuring someone for money or property.
Some types of financial abuse are very clearly theft or fraud. Examples of financial abuse are harder to put a name to. These can include pressuring, forcing or tricking you into:
- Lending or giving away money, property or possessions
- Selling or moving from your home
- Making or changing your will or power of attorney
- Signing legal or financial documents that you don’t understand
- Working for little or no money, including caring for children or grandchildren
- Making a purchase you don’t want or need, or
- Providing food and shelter to others without being paid
Who are the abusers?
Abusers are usually people who have a close connection to you. They can include your spouse, son or daughter, other relative, friend, neighbour, or caregiver. They use their connection to take advantage of you and force you do what they want.
Where can I go for help?
If you think you are experiencing financial abuse, ask for help. The abuser may try to make you think that you are the one that is causing the problem, but this is not true. If you don’t have a family member or close friend who can help you, there are community resources you can use to stop the abuse.
Ask your bank or credit union, your local seniors’ centre, or even your doctor where you can go for advice and help. Or contact your local police or call Frontenac-Kingston Council on Aging at 1-855-542-1336 or 613-542-1336
Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney gives someone else the authority to act on your behalf. In ontario, the substitute decisions act sets out the law about the two types of power of attorney that can be used if you become mentally incapable: a Power of Attorneyfor personal care and a continuing Power of Attorney for property. Anyone over the age of 18, who is not being paid to provide a service to you, can be designated as your attorney. It doesn’t have to be an actual lawyer. As long as you are still mentally capable of doing so, the person appointed as your Power of Attorneycan be changed at any time.
Need help or advice?
Call Frontenac-Kingston Council on Aging at 613-542-1336.