An older person is extremely vulnerable to financial abuse as the abuse is often perpetrated by someone close to them such as a friend, relative or carer. So it is important to be aware of the signs.
Indications of elder financial abuse
- Unexpected creation of a Will.
- Sudden inclusion of additional names on the person’s bank accounts,
- The sudden appearance of previously uninvolved relatives claiming their rights to the person’s affairs and possessions
- The unexplained sudden transfers of assets to a family member or someone outside the family
- Numerous unpaid bills, overdue rent, care home bills, public utilities bills etc when there is someone who is supposed to be paying the bills
- Unexplained disappearance of funds or valuables such as art, silverware or jewellery
- Deliberate isolation of the person from their friends and family, resulting in the carer having total control
- Change in living conditions, lack of heating, clothing or food or inability to pay bills/unexplained shortage of money.
Signs of Physical Abuse or Neglect
In extreme situations, an older or vulnerable person may be subject to physical abuse or neglect. Some of the signs of this are:
- Cuts, lacerations, puncture wounds, open wounds, bruises, welts, discolouration, black eyes, burns, fractures, broken bones and skull fractures
- Poor skin condition or poor skin hygiene
- Dehydration and/or malnourishment without an illness – related cause, loss of weight
- Soiled clothing or bedding
- Signs of being restrained
- Inappropriate use of medication, overdosing or underdosing
- Taking the next steps
If you suspect that a loved one or you yourself, is being abused, there are various things you can do but the most important thing is to get the abuse stopped as soon as possible. It is important that you seek some advice:
- If you feel you need help (which may not necessarily be legal help, but guidance as to the appropriate organisations) contact us, and one of our experienced solicitors in abuse cases may be to help you, or you could contact your Local Authority as each county has a safeguarding policy to protect the older or vulnerable person.