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What is elder financial abuse?

The definition of financial (or material) abuse provided in No Secrets (DH, 2000) is:

"Financial or material abuse, including theft, fraud, exploitation, pressure in connection with wills, property or inheritance or financial transactions, or the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits" (DH, 2000, p. 9).

Department of Health (2000). No secrets: Guidance on developing and implementing multiagency policies and procedures to protect vulnerable adults from abuse. London: Department of Health.

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We asked professionals working in the social care, health and banking sectors to describe in their own words what they think financial abuse is.

"Whether it is somebody's coat, somebody's clock, 20 pence from their purse or a million pounds; if you haven't given that person permission to take it then it is theft or an abuse of their position of trust." (Social care sector professional)

"We're talking about individuals who take advantage of older people, not making sure that they have the best they can, for their declining years, because of some other motive. For instance, they may want to keep them at home rather than paying for residential or nursing care because they want to get the house as inheritance." (Health professional)

"Older vulnerable people can sometimes entrust someone else to help deal with their financial affairs, by going to the bank or paying bills for them, but can sometimes be a victim of that by people withdrawing money on their behalf and abusing them. Also, other people who no longer have a way to take care of their financial affairs are often taken advantage of in scams." (Banking sector professional)