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Financial elder abuse is family violence. Research shows that women over the age of 80 are most at risk of financial elder abuse, with adult sons being the most common perpetrators.  It is often a silent crime – unreported and unacknowledged. Like all silent crimes perpetrated mostly against women, financial abuse will be difficult to police.

Claudia Castle’s examples demonstrate that the opportunities for children to act inappropriately are enormous. There are no formal mechanisms to ensure that financial powers of attorney act in an older person’s best interest.

Boomers with early inheritance syndrome feel a sense of entitlement to their parents’ assets. They make ageist and sexist assumptions that devalue the rights of their elderly parents. They often justify their actions by saying: ”Mum doesn’t need money now, and it’s going to be mine anyway.”

For financial elder abuse to become a criminal offence, attitudes towards older people, particularly older women, need to change.

Sarah Russell

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