Financial abuse of older people is likely to be a much bigger
problem than people realise, Grey Power Otago president Jo
Grey Power and the New Zealand Aged Care Association have
joined forces to press the Government to appoint an aged-care
commissioner with powers to investigate financial abuse
cases, and if needed, take cases to court.
In a statement, Grey Power national president Roy Reid said
there was no one agency responsible for looking into
financial abuse, or with the power to resolve cases.
Mrs Millar said older people gave power of attorney to those
they most trusted, and were often reluctant to report
''I wonder sometimes whether we know just how bad it is.''
She would like to see changes to enduring power of attorney,
to stipulate the involvement of more people in financial
''If there's going to be a family member doing it, there
should be a second person who's outside the family.''
Age Concern Otago elder abuse and neglect prevention social
worker Marie Bennett said financial abuse was ''huge'',
accounting for half of the elder abuse cases she dealt with.
At a national level, the organisation was waiting to see if
new loan-to-value rules stipulating a 20% deposit increased
pressure on elderly parents to finance mortgage deposits, she
Partly because of pressure on the housing market, more adult
children were moving in with parents. While this could be
positive, clear financial boundaries were needed to ensure
each party knew their responsibility.
''It could be a good thing [generations living together]. But
before it happens everybody's expectations need to be very
clear about who's paying for what.''
New Zealand Aged Care Association chief executive Martin
Taylor, in a statement, said the industry was keen to work
with Grey Power to address the problem.
''With sad regularity my members come to me with situations
where they know their residents are being financially abused
by the person who holds the enduring powers of attorney.''