by Erica Johnson, CBC News, 5 December 2016
Ms Johnson reports that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are dealing with a rising tide of financial abuse of the elderly.
Pete Stoopnikoff, 92, was a self-made millionaire, but now he says he can’t afford to put gas in his car because two of his children took nearly all of his life savings.
He alleges his two oldest children drained his funds from a shared account that was meant to cover his living expenses and duped him into signing over two other multimillion-dollar accounts as well as properties.
Stoopnikoff says he has trouble sleeping and often breaks down when he thinks about his children’s betrayal.
“We seniors learn to trust our children,” he said. “And we don’t expect anything like this to happen.”
Stoopnikoff’s story is part of a wider problem. A national report released last year estimates almost 250,000 elderly Canadians have been financially abused.
Martha Jane Lewis, executive director of the BC Centre for Elder Advocacy and Support, says last year, her office received more than 1,500 calls about possible financial elder abuse, which includes pressuring someone for money or the illegal or unauthorized use of someone’s money or property.
Lewis says that number is expected to rise as the population ages and parents live longer.
“Older sons tend to be the biggest perpetrators,” she says, “and grown children often believe they’re entitled to their parents’ money. They feel they’re going to inherit it anyway. So, why not help yourself early?”
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