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Intouch : In Touch Spring 2014
8 IN TOUCH SPRING 2014 A new discussion paper has found that there is no clear mechanism in place in NSW for people to report suspected fnancial abuse. The paper, Preventing Financial Abuse of People With Dementia, released by AlzNSW has called for the introduction of a Public Advocate to receive and investigate reports of fnancial abuse. It also called for a public education campaign by the NSW Government about fnancial abuse and for it to raise awareness of the 'planning ahead' tools in place to help protect an individual’s wishes. The paper recommends the NSW police establish Vulnerable Communities Offcer positions in each local area command to support victims of fnancial abuse and for lawyers and staff in banking and fnancial institutions to receive mandatory training in the feld. AlzNSW CEO The Hon. John Watkins said the discussion paper found that while it was diffcult to quantify the prevalence of fnancial abuse of people with dementia, any fgures were likely to be underestimates as much of it remains unreported. “Disturbingly, the research found that much of the fnancial abuse is perpetrated within families, or by people who were known to the person,” John said. “This is another reason why we believe it is under-reported as people were too ashamed to report the abuse or did not want their family member or ‘friend’ to be charged. “In a considerable proportion of the cases, the abuse was carried out by the person who had been granted the Power of Attorney who was clearly not acting in the interests of the person with dementia.” John said something needs to be done. “Agencies need to work together to ensure better reporting and investigation of these matters when they happen,” he said. “People need to be aware of the tools already in place to help prevent these instances from occurring. We encourage people to have Powers of Attorney in place but to choose wisely. Make sure they’re trustworthy and are someone who will act in their best interest. “There also needs to be better education of people appointed as Powers of Attorney so they know very clearly just what their responsibilities are,” John said. Read the full discussion paper at: http:// www.fghtdementia.org.au/new-south- wales/research-nsw.aspx. FINANCIAL MATTERS THE MAJORITY OF CASES OF FINANCIAL ABUSE OF PEOPLE WITH DEMENTIA ARE CARRIED OUT BY PEOPLE KNOWN TO THE VICTIM. NEWS DEMENTIA NEWS UNRAVEL THE SCIENCE BEHIND DEMENTIA RESEARCH SUBSCRIBE TODAY VIA OUR WEBSITE TO RECIEVE THIS FREE E-RESOURCE DEMENTIARESEARCHFOUNDATION.ORG.AU UNDERSTAND.DISCUSS.PARTICIPATE. SIGNS OF FINANCIAL ABUSE INCLUDE: • fear, stress and anxiety expressed by a person with dementia • unfamiliar or new signatures on cheques and documents of a person with dementia • the inability of a person with dementia to access bank accounts or statements • bank, credit and debit cards and accompanying Personal Identifcation Numbers (PINs) of a person with dementia handed over to another person • signifcant withdrawals from accounts of a person with dementia • the accounts of a person with dementia suddenly moved to another fnancial institution • signifcant changes to a will of a person with dementia • isolation and control of a person with dementia by their carer • evidence of undue infuence eg coercive behaviour by another person • lack of concern for the welfare of a person with dementia (signs of neglect) • no money to pay for aged care when there should be suffcient funds. If you have been a victim of fnancial abuse, AlzNSW recommends contacting the NSW Elder Abuse Helpline on 1800 628 221. This is a confdential service offering information, advice and referrals for people who experience, witness or suspect the abuse of older people living in their homes in NSW.
In Touch Summer 2014
In Touch Winter 2014