by Deena Coster, Stuff, 28 October 2016
It is estimated that 25,000 older New Zealanders experience abuse or neglect every year: physical, financial or emotional. Ms Coster reports on one case.
When Ray Thomson lost his life savings, he also lost the daughter he thought loved him the most.
“I was led to believe she was doing everything for me. She was alright but she was doing everything for herself – with my money,” he says.
Over two years, Thomson’s daughter Helen Williams robbed her father of everything he had, cleaning $320,000 out of his bank account, leaving him with just $20.
The blind man now lives in a rest home, in a single, sparsely decorated room, a transistor radio among his meagre possessions.
In January, Williams was sentenced to 12 months’ home detention for her deceit, a crime she says was motivated by a gambling and drug addiction.
Thomson can’t talk about what his daughter did without breaking down. She was going to get half his money when he died but she couldn’t wait, Thomson says – her “plain greed” got in the way.
Thomson says even if family are involved in helping out, his advice to others is to be wary and ask questions if something is amiss.
“Be cautious, be on the alert.”
“You don’t expect those sorts of things to come from your own family.”
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