24 Hour Kent Dementia
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Financial Abuse

The Care Act 2014 describes financial abuse as ‘having money or other property stolen, being defrauded, being put under pressure in relation to money or other property, and having money or other property misused.’ This can often be hard to detect, and the perpetrators are, more often than not, people that you know or even trust.

Common examples of financial abuse include theft, withholding money from an individual, forging signatures on cheques, taking away pension payments/benefits or forcing someone to make changes to their will. These can have lasting effects and can often cause emotional trauma for those involved.

People with dementia can be at a higher risk of financial abuse than others, due to their potential cognitive difficulties. Abusers prey on the vulnerability of people living with dementia and often use manipulative tactics for momentary gain. This can leave people with dementia and their families unable to pay for the crucial support and care that they need. This was confirmed by the Financial Abuse Evidence Report, published in 2015 by Age UK, which said people living with dementia are ‘[a] subgroup of people that are most at risk of being victims of financial abuse.’

To prevent this, people with dementia are advised to appoint a lasting power of attorney that they trust with their finances. The individual does not have to be a legal professional and you can appoint more than one if you wish. The donor can appoint a property and financial affairs attorney, who should make decisions regarding the management of property, bills, pensions etc; or a welfare and health attorney, who should manage the donor’s healthcare provider, choice of care home and so on.

People living with dementia should also consider the risk of internet fraud and scamming. In order to protect your financial affairs online, make sure that email accounts block all spam/junk and utilise online banking to keep track of all expenditures and direct debits coming in and out.

If you fear that someone you know has been the victim of financial abuse, you should contact social services immediately on 0300 041 6161.

If you have any questions about how to protect a loved one with dementia, feel free to contact us on 01474 533990 or email info@alz-dem.org.

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