Elder Abuse 2I recently read this article on ABC 7.30:
SABRA LANE, PRESENTER: It’s awful to hear stories where elderly people are taken advantage of by the people they trust, but it’s worse when it’s at the hands of their own family.  Elder abuse is on the rise and what’s being called “inheritance impatience” is leading to cases of multimillion-dollar theft, neglect and emotional abuse.  Now there are calls for new laws to deal with it …
This really hit home with me as one of the two cases mentioned in this article was a client of mine.  A wonderful lady – cultured, kind, generous and smart – she has been a wonderful supporter of my business and recommends me alot.  Although I would never have met her if she hadn’t had to sell her home, it breaks my heart that she had to do so.
As I work with clients and their families, I see wonderful but also sad stories:

  • Just like Arthur on “Mother & Son”, there is often one child who does it all yet is critiqued rather than supported by other members of the family
  • Families where the love is obvious and each sibling tries to help.  If one sibling has been carrying most of the burden, there is a realisation that this can no longer continue and that the parent now needs extra care.
  • Cases that destroy the family structure where one child has “stolen” and “manipulated the parent”.  A daughter discovered that her brother (now deceased) had taken advantage of the mother and their was little capital left.  The daughter had to mortgage her home so that her mother could receive the care she needed.
  • Sadly, I am often disappointed in charities who continually call our seniors for donations.  One “80 something client” did not realise she had actually agreed to a monthly donation to a charity.  Her daughter calculated that over 5 years (until she realised what was happening), nearly $10,000 had been deducted on her credit card (not including interest).  Although this lady had been wealthy, she could not afford this.
  • Cases where sons have taken title to properties, accounts, etc, with no trail for the rest of the family so they know what has happened.
  • Cases where care support workers are accused of stealing from homes – I expect this does happen but sometimes it is not intentional.  I am often offered valuable gifts from my clients and they can be quite pushy to ensure I take the gift … they enjoy the “giving”.  I thank them and return the item to it’s usual place before I leave.   However, I can understand how someone less experienced or who is struggling financially may accept the gift.  It often happens that on my next visit to my client they ask me about the item and suggest it is missing, although their cognitive functions may have deteriorated they still recall something happened regarding the item, so I am able to show them where it is (i.e. back in their jewellery box, wardrobe, etc).

So what do we do?  Maybe?  Be aware that it does happen, make sure our loved ones have quality professional financial and legal guidance, protect ourselves by attending to our financial structure and carefully assessing who we Power of Attorney to.
Read more at:  http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2015/s4355854.htm?WT.mc_id=Innovation_News-7.30%7CWhoWillStandUpForThemCallToCriminaliseFinancialAbuseOfElderly_FBP%7Cabc

Happy sorting,
Mary J Harnan BBus, Owner – founder – allsorter – 3A organiserAllsorters Logo blue rectangle ai-01
Based in Balwyn North, Vic, I have sorted 100’s of homes & helped 100’s of clients.  I am an expert member of the Australasian Association of Professional Organisers & have achieved certificates in Chronic Disorganisation, Life Transitions & Hoarding from the Institute of Challenging Disorganization (USA).  I regularly speak about smart downsizing, rightsizing & farewelling the family home