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The “invisible” crime

Credit unions can play a role to help prevent elder financial abuse

It’s sometimes referred to as the “invisible” crime. It is often unreported, and committed by people known and close to the victim.

June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. The United Nations estimates that worldwide, up to six per cent of elderly people suffer some form of maltreatment in their home. In Canada, financial elder abuse is the most common form of abuse among older adults but remains hidden and in many cases unreported by seniors. In Canada, older women are more likely than men to be financially abused by a child, relative, friend, or caregiver.

Credit unions and their staff have an important role to play in raising awareness of financial abuse and becoming informed about potential signs of financial abuse among their elderly members. As this demographic increases in population – seniors will make up one quarter of Canada’s population by 2036 – being knowledgeable about their unique financial needs and risks will become more and more important.

Resources for credit unions

Cusource® has an online course that helps staff identify signs of and help prevent elder abuse in older adult members.

Central 1 Credit Union has collaborated with the Alzheimer Society of B.C. to create a guide for credit union staff to support them in their interactions with members who may be experiencing dementia, including recognizing signs of financial abuse.

To learn more about preventing elder abuse visit the Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse. ◊