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  • Assistance can be provided from a distance Can require complex knowledge and skills Operates in the context of cultural values around money in families; competing interests; and a legal/financial framework rather than a social/ health framework
  • Some are beyond public scrutiny – most of what we know about financial abuse is from reports from service providers/practitioners. Poor data from which to make gerenalisations Different aspects will be seen by different people Need to engage a range of organisations and practitioners
  • Issue of workers in rural areas. Where is independent advice

Transcript

  • 1. Older People, Financial Assets and Abuse: Developing policy and practice responses from research Cheryl Tilse Advocare Perth, June 2007
  • 2. The Team
    • Multi-disciplinary research team:
    • social work, economics, finance, law & social policy, community development
    • Professor Jill Wilson, Dr Cheryl Tilse, Professor Linda Rosenman
    • Dr Deborah Setterlund, Dr David Morrison, Anne-Louise McCawley
    • Jennie Peut and Leona Berrie in the community demonstration project
  • 3. Research Partners
    • Partners: Australian Research Council; Queensland Government – Public Trustee, Guardianship Tribunal, Adult Guardian, Public Advocate and Office for Seniors; Queensland Law Society; & Aged Care Providers, Wicking trust
    • Community partners: local banks, aged care providers, care workers, older people’s organisations & carer organisations, city council, police
  • 4. Outline
    • Brief overview of research program
    • Key findings from our research on asset management and financial abuse.
    • Implications for building knowledge for policy, practice and communities about financial abuse of older people.
    • An example – Redcliffe Community demonstration Project
  • 5. A: Research Program 2000-06
    • Asset Management
    • National survey: n = 3,466.
    • In-depth studies of 81 asset managers and 34 older people having their assets managed.
    • Financial Abuse
    • In-depth study of practitioners’ decision-making and action in relation to financial abuse: n = 20.
    • Analysis of GAAT data – patterns of financial abuse for older people with impaired capacity: n = 234.
    • State survey of aged care workers: n = 159.
  • 6. Financial abuse in context
    • Differs from other forms of elder abuse - responses should be specific to this form of abuse
    • Differs from fraud targeting older people – occurs in a relationship of trust
    • Is embedded in a family, social and cultural context that includes
      • everyday activities of managing money in families and
      • social attitudes and cultural values relating to older people, their assets, self provision and paying for care, intergenerational transfers and inheritances
  • 7. Financial abuse definition
    • Illegal or improper use and/or mismanagement of a person’s money, property or resources in a relationship of trust.
    • Includes: deliberate abuse, undue influence, misuse of EPAs, withholding of funds, failure to repay loans or recognise financial contributions, using possessions without permission.
  • 8. Asset Management Focus
    • Asset management involves some control over organising, decision-making and use of assets - income and capital assets.
    • Includes: day-to-day management of finances, management of investments and property to ensure long-term financial security, management or dispersal of major assets (e.g. home).
    • Interest is in non-professional asset managers - family, friends and neighbours.
  • 9. B: Findings: Asset Management (AM) Practices
    • Managing assets is a common task of carers - one in four Australians had helped an older person with their assets in the past year (2002).
    • Most commonly adult children assisting parents and parents-in-law for reasons of lack of confidence, disability, poor health and cognitive incapacity.
  • 10. AM practices vary
    • Complexity of tasks
    • Mechanisms used to manage
      • Informal (using ATMs etc)
      • Semiformal (bank arrangements)
      • Formal (EPA, administration)
    • Degree of involvement of older person – and the fit with OP’s expectations
  • 11. Asset Management Tasks 11 Managing investments 16 Accessing financial advice 31 Property management 37 Managing pension/superannuation 42 Accessing money / banking 54.5 Paying bills 72.5 Paperwork % receiving help with tasks Tasks n = 1,259
  • 12. Mechanisms Used to Manage Assets 49.7 Paying own money 17 Signing cheques and withdrawals 10.5 Electronic banking 9.8 ATM pin number Informal 18.7 Banking arrangement Semi-formal 1.4 Guardianship 15.4 Enduring Power of Attorney Formal % Mechanisms: n = 1,259
  • 13. AM practices
    • A range of risky practices for both asset managers and carers
    • Poor accountability processes, limited knowledge of responsibilities, decisions based on trust, co-mingling of finances
    • Underpinning attitudes of entitlement to assets and expectations of intergenerational transfers
  • 14. AM findings
    • A range of views on what constitutes convenient and appropriate practice
    • Issues of trust in families, convenience for carers and empowerment for older people.
    • Limited knowledge/mismanagement as well as intentional financial abuse. Also identified safe practices.
  • 15. Findings: Financial abuse
    • The context in which assets are managed or access to assets enabled.
    • Types of access (formal, informal etc) and practices associated with this.
    • Attitudes held - cultural, social and familial- that underpin practices.
    • Absence/presence of a capable guardian of the assets.
  • 16. Responses to financial abuse
    • Consider
    • Detection and reporting
    • Intervention and prevention
    • Proactive as well as reactive responses
  • 17. Reporting financial abuse
    • Most common - aged care workers, social workers, ACAT teams, family members.
    • Rarely financial institutions, lawyers and accountants.
    • Adult protection services such as Guardian, Public Trustee, Tribunals become involved when most of the assets have been lost.
    • Key issue then is early detection and response.
  • 18. Identification – what are the signs?
    • Lack of assets to pay for care/services or failure to pay bills.
    • Unusual activity in bank accounts (large withdrawals).
    • Use or removal of older person’s assets (e.g., car and home) without evidence of compensation or agreement – granny flats
    • Loans/gifts to family members without records.
    • Undue influence/pressure to gain EPA, change will, go guarantor, gift monies or property.
  • 19. Interventions: complex area of practice
    • Actions:
    • Monitor - put in community care services, involve other family members, casework with older person or abuser if amenable.
    • Referral to legal services or advocacy services (if any).
    • Referral to Guardian or GAAT to investigate or change financial administration arrangements.
    • Limited options, concerns about impact on older person and on client/worker access.
    • Concerns about privacy legislation, duty of care and legal/financial knowledge
  • 20. Findings - summary
    • Complex balance
    • to enhance monitoring, protection and prevention,
    • facilitate independence/autonomy of older people and
    • support family involvement.
    • Current systems have limited preventative focus, limited training and few early alerts
    • EPAs do not protect from abuse
  • 21. C: Policy and Practice Implications
    • Multi-level responses: individual, family, social, cultural and service delivery/legal/financial systems.
    • Multi-strategy responses: education, support, advocacy and improved systemic responses.
    • Whole of community response
  • 22. D: Redcliffe Community Demonstration project
  • 23. One Year Plan
    • Community awareness and education - issues and accountability
    • Inter-organizational protocols and referral networks
    • Staff training- for service providers, professionals, bank staff
    • Development and evaluation of materials
  • 24. Redcliffe Project – Education and support
    • Older people – workshops and information sessions - building confidence and skills to self-manage assets, and advocacy.
    • Carers/families – addressing attitudes and behaviours, assistance to develop good practices, enhancing financial literacy and accountability. Improving support.
    • Community - awareness raising, addressing ageism, attitudes towards older people’s assets and planning for older age. Improving financial literacy more generally .
  • 25. Workshops with carers and older people
  • 26. System Responses
    • Improving referral networks, agency protocols and cross-sectoral responses –Focus groups, survey and inter-sectoral meetings to develop a referral pathway.
    • Professional education and staff training – improving recognition and response. Focus on asset management as well as abuse.
  • 27. Working with networks
  • 28. Policy/Legal/Financial Responses
    • Improve the safeguards in current legal mechanisms such as Enduring Powers of Attorney.
    • Improve access to legal and financial information and advice.
    • Enhancing the role of financial institutions in education, alerts and reporting.
    • Addressing environmental barriers to self-management.
  • 29. Conclusion
    • Complex issue requiring a range of responses that address prevention as well as intervention.
    • Keeping protection and empowerment at the forefront.
    • Promoting attitudes and systems that protect older people and support families while fiercely maintaining older people’s right to make frivolous and imprudent decisions about their own assets.
  • 30. Key References
    • Tilse, et al (2007) Managing the Financial Assets of Older People: Balancing independence and protection. British Journal of Social Work. 37(3):565-72 .
    • McCawley, A. et al.(2006) Access to assets; Older people with impaired capacity and finanical abuse. Journal of Adult Protection 8(1):20-33
    • Tilse, et al. (2005) Minding the Money. Ageing and Society 25(2): 217-227.
  • 31. References
    • Tilse, et al. (2005) Older People’s Assets: A Contested Site. Australasian Journal on Ageing 24(Supplement): S51–S56.
    • Setterlund, et al. (2003) Older People and Substitute Decision Making Legislation: Limits to Informed Choice. Australasian Journal on Ageing 21(3): 128-133.
    • Tilse, et al. (2003) The Mismanagement of the Assets of Older People: The Concerns and Actions of Aged Care Workers. Australasian Journal on Ageing 22(1): 9-14.
  • 32.
    • Contact:
    • Cheryl Tilse
    • School of Social Work & Applied Human Sciences
    • [email_address]