Source: Agedcare Insite 24 September 2012
As the population gets older, there is a call to safeguard the ageing from financial abuse.
To create awareness, researchers from the University of Queensland have developed a program of research that they hope will enhance knowledge and understanding of substitute and assisted decision making in the general community and among service providers and practitioners.
Lead researchers, Associate Professor Cheryl Tilse and Professor Jill Wilson from UQ’s school of social work and human services, said the research program began with an interest in the misuse of enduring power of attorneys (EPAs).
“Many older people suffer financial abuse from family members who act as attorneys under an EPA,” they said.
The research focused on addressing this abuse by finding the most suitable systems to support older people with the management of their affairs, and give carers and attorneys support to act appropriately if managing assets for an older person.
The team, which consists of researchers from social work, social policy, law economics, neuropsychology, medicine and community development, worked with community and government organisations to explore asset management practices and the use of EPAs from the perspectives of older people, family members, practitioners and aged care providers.
Tilse believes that the research results uncovered some interesting findings. “Our research has shown that current frameworks for understanding and responding to financial elder abuse are limited, and that current forms and processes surrounding EPAs do not sufficiently alert attorneys to their obligations,” she said. more