The sad reality of elder abuse is that it is usually is family members who are the cause, often with limited insight into the fact that their behaviour amounts to actual abuse.
I just finished reading a recent case from New South Wales that was concerned with the financial abuse of a father by a son. It was interesting in that neither the son nor the father considered that abuse was occurring. The sister/daughter thought otherwise.
What she saw happening was dad’s handing over of money to the son, and the son continuing to accept dad’s money, in circumstances where dad was continually leaving himself short.
The son couldn’t seem to see that this was a problem, even though the sister had to give her father money for his regular expenses as a result of his generosity towards the son.
The daughter’s concerns were shared by a social worker, and they applied together for orders that the NSW Trustee and Guardian be appointed to administer the dad’s affairs.
The dad had some dementia problems and this may have contributed to his inability to protect himself from his own generosity. The tribunal hearing the application found that financial abuse was occurring and accordingly made the orders sought.
But dementia is just on form of disability that can lead to vulnerability particularly among the frail and elderly. I recently saw a lovely old client who was being bullied by her son in similar circumstances. Her disability is not dementia, but grief following the death of her adored husband of more than 50 years. She is so flattened by the loss of the love of her life that she seems unable to protect herself from her son. Fortunately there are other siblings who are taking steps to protect their lovely mum.