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Bankwest initiative to help curb elder abuse

Bankwest (owned by the Commonwealth Bank) has produced the Safe and Savvy brochure to help senior customers stay protected online with their banking.

The vision is to identify and support customers who they believe could be victims of financial elder abuse and advocate for those who may not be heard.

COO, personal and business banking Shari Cosgriff said: “Often the abuse occurs where there’s an expectation of trust and often involves someone who is unethically exploiting a power of attorney or other legal mechanism which gives them control over the person’s assets.

“They are often vulnerable people who are no longer in the workplace, isolated or have families with busy lives who may not be readily available, so they seek assistance elsewhere.”

She said the guide was developed to help spot elder financial abuse, and show how to create a support network to make decisions about money and information.

It was developed by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia together with a range of community and academic experts like COTA Australia and National Seniors.

She said it was crucial that seniors be educated on how to detect the warning signs and get support if they’re affected.

“Beyond financial loss, elder financial abuse often has other serious impacts including anxiety and depression. This can harm an older person’s ability to look after themselves by limiting their access to a safe home, adequate food or medical care,” she said.

Cosgriff joined us to discuss the issues around financial elder abuse.

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