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Financial Abuse Of The Elderly Essay

1626 words - 7 pages

Elder Abuse is defined as any activity performed by an individual whereby these actions cause suffering of the older adult, intentionally or not (Touhy, Jett, Boscart & McCleary, 2012, p. 378). Unfortunately, the incidents of elder abuse continue to rise with the increasing number of people entering older adulthood. It is interesting to note that although elder abuse is highly under reported its occurrence increased three fold over a ten-year period (Friese & Collopy, 2010, p. 61). Certainly, it is a nurse’s duty to provide holistic care to his or her patients, which must include protection from abuse. Elder abuse can take on many forms including physical, emotional, sexual, neglect and financial. It is important to note that for the purposes of this paper, this writer will focus solely on financial abuse. When one considers the definition of financial abuse, it is deemed to be a misuse of another individual’s finances for ones own monetary gain. Thus, this type of abuse has become the most common and fastest growing form of all. As such, it is important for all nurses to understand financial abuse and who is at risk, how it presents, and what can be done to prevent it in order to protect the elderly.
Financial Abuse and Those at Risk.
As noted by Statistics Canada (2013), the number of older adults will more than triple by 2031, thus the number of cases of elder abuse will likely increase in alignment. With this notion in mind, it seems ostensive that nurses must develop a decent understanding of what it entails, including identification of those who may be most vulnerable. Financial abuse involves the unauthorized use and or procurement of an older adults wealth (Gibson & Honn Qualls, 2012, p. 26). It is interesting to note that in most cases, trusted family members who have been charged with caring for the older adult, often commit this abuse. There is no doubt that many elderly individuals will eventually need assistance with managing their finances, which includes making purchases on their behalf. Thus the older adult may provide their caregiver with cash, cheques and in some cases they may implement a power of attorney. Essentially, powers of attorney grant considerable power to named individuals, over both finances and property. Unfortunately, over time what evolves is an over spending of the older adults money solely benefiting the caregiver, moreover, these caregivers begin to develop a sense of entitlement (Gibson & Honn Qualls, 2012, p. 27). When considering financial abuse committed by strangers, many simple scams against older adults have surfaced over the years. For example, individuals may offer handyman services, recognizing that many older adults struggle with chores such as exterior window washing. However once paid, the individuals do not return to complete the job. It is interesting to note that of all reported elder abuse cases, financial abuse makes up more than half of all complaints (Friese & Collopy, 2010, p....

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