Financial or material abuse is the most common form of elder abuse in Canada. It can include:
- stealing money, belongings, credit cards, or pension cheques;
- forcing an older adult to make or change a Power of Attorney, Enduring Power of Attorney or Will;
- forging a signature on personal cheques or legal documents;
- holding back money that the older adult needs;
- convincing an older adult to invest in a fraudulent investment scheme;
- pressuring an older adult to provide services without pay;
- forcing, convincing or tricking an older adult to sell a home or possessions, or to pay for unnecessary services; or
- abusing Power of Attorney, Guardianship, or Trusteeship responsibilities.
Signs of Financial Abuse
- confusion about their own finances;
- signing a document without being told of its consequences;
- failing to make financial choices/decisions;
- family members moving in without agreement or without sharing costs;
- experiencing unusual bank or ATM activity done on their behalf;
- starting to show a difference between income and standard of living;
- disappearing belongings;
- sudden or unexplained difficulty in paying bills; or
- refusing to spend money without the agreement of their caregiver.
NOTE: Some of these indicators may be present and the older adult is not being abused. These are only possible signs of abuse.
For more information, see CPLEA’s Let’s talk: Elder abuse resource manual.