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How to thwart growing threat of elderly financial abuse

TORONTO — Elder abuse expert Lynn McDonald routinely fields calls concerning financial exploitation, but none more dramatic than a recent incident involving a woman in Saskatchewan who was nearly bankrupted by one of her own adult children as she underwent hip replacement surgery.

“The daughter convinced the mother to sign over everything to her while she was sick in hospital and then she’d get it back after she came out,” says McDonald, director of the Institute for Human Development, Life Course and Aging at the University of Toronto.

“But she sold the mother’s house right under her, and took all her possessions. When the discharge went through, the mother came out of hospital with nothing but a pension.”

McDonald says 2.6 per cent of Canada’s growing population of residents 55 years of age and older are financially abused, making it the second most common…

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