SAINT JOHN (GNB) – The New Brunswick Securities Commission is working with the health-care sector to teach professionals about how to recognize and report financial abuse of seniors.

The commission is undertaking this collaboration in recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Saturday, June 15.

"As people age, they naturally become more dependent on others, making them more susceptible to undue influence and financial abuse," said Rick Hancox, executive director of the commission. "We are putting extra effort into getting this message out to professionals who work with or care for seniors as they are often the first to see the signs of financial abuse and exploitation."

Financial abuse is any act that involves the misuse or abuse of funds or assets belonging to a senior. The presence of any of the following warning signs should be cause for concern and action:

●    unusual fear of or sudden change in feelings about a particular person;
●    change in appearance or noticeably poor hygiene;
●    accompanied by a caregiver who is overly protective;
●    change in ability to perform activities of daily living including self-care, daily finances, and/or medication management; and
●    discrepancy between standard of living and financial assets.

"We see a great deal of vulnerable older adults and their families, and sometimes they look to us for guidance when abuse is suspected," said Dr. Elizabeth Rhynold, geriatrician with the Horizon Health Network, Saint John area department of geriatric medicine. "The commission has helped us understand the various types of financial abuse and exploitation as well as the agencies in the community that can help."

The commission's elder investment fraud and financial exploitation resources include brochures, posters and presentations. The resources provide information about what professionals as well as the general population can do to help when financial abuse is suspected, including:

●    provide information about financial abuse and the support services available;
●    how to build an alliance with the family;
●    ideas about how to empower the victim of abuse;
●    information about substance abuse counselling, rehabilitation or other support services; and
●    where to report or refer suspicions.

"We have specific resources that can help professionals recognize red flags in the patient's history and through clinical observation," said Hancox. "Our material can be used by staff or family members to pinpoint problems, gather more details about a senior's financial situation or to begin the conversation about financial concerns."

Group presentations can be booked for those working with or caring for seniors by contacting the commission at 1-866-933-2222 (toll-free).  

Hearing from New Brunswick investors about suspicious investment activity helps stop investment fraud and the harm it can do to investors. To get further information, to make a complaint or to express other investment-related concerns, contact the commission's investor services co-ordinator at 506-658-3060 or 1-866-933-2222 (toll-free).

The New Brunswick Securities Commission is an independent provincial Crown corporation responsible for regulating trading in securities within the province. It is funded by regulatory fees paid by industry.