Tips on Avoiding 'Undue Influence' for Seniors & Carers
© Danielle Robertson Consulting Pty Ltd t/as DR Care Solutions
Peter’s* story does happen, and it can take place in many different ways. Fortunately for Peter’s elderly father, who is in a nursing home, a financial abuse situation was detected and ultimately prevented before the situation went too far. His father was most upset by what had occurred, but it could have been a lot worse.
One of Peter's siblings, who only visited their father once a year, convinced his father to stay with him for two weeks. During that time, the son manipulated his father into signing a Power of Attorney appointing himself as attorney.
This manipulation involved taking his father to a different lawyer to have the existing Power of Attorney that was given to another sibling, revoked. This other sibling had been efficiently and effectively helping the father with his finances for some time, and the father was actively included and involved.
The Care Solution
Financial exploitation or fraud of a senior elder person can happen in aged care or while they’re living at home with homecare arrangements. To help remove their vulnerability, it’s important to keep an eye on them, to take the time to converse, and spend time with them to ensure there is nothing troubling them.
Anne McGowan, Founder and CEO of Protecting Seniors Wealth, offers 10 tips to help keep the finances of senior elder people safe and secure:
- Be aware that financial exploitation or fraud can impact a person in aged care or at home.
- The perpetrators work out ways to manipulate vulnerable people, in order to access their finances.
- Ensure the senior elder person does not become isolated. This increases their vulnerability.
- Talk to the person about simplifying their finances, so they can clearly see what they have.
- If you have any concerns or suspicions, have the conversation with them.
- With legal instruments, check that they have appointed attorneys or executors they trust implicitly.
- Sometimes senior elder people need some help to understand and check their mail, bills and bank statements. If they appear to need help, offer to assist.
- If you are helping check bank statements, keep a look out for any unusual or out of character transactions.
- Suggest installing an answering machine to avoid scams and unwanted sales calls.
- Pay attention if they seem upset or unsettled for some reason.
Fortunately, Peter and the sibling who had been assisting the father until that point had a conversation with the father who explained how upset he was about the whole thing. They then arranged with the father’s lawyer to return the situation to the previous arrangement. The father was very happy with the re-instatement of those arrangements.
On reflection, Peter commented on how he and his sibling had finally had the conversation with their father that they should have had a long time ago. It also emphasised to him the importance of remaining in regular contact with his father.
* Names have been changed to protect the identity and privacy of subjects.
To ensure your loved one has the right care, support and assistance, at the right time and in the right place, please reach out to Danielle Robertson at DR Care Solutions for an initial discussion.