Tag: retirement planning

01 May

Financial Abuse of the Elderly

Ian Hull Elder Law, Estate & Trust, Ethical Issues, In the News, News & Events, Uncategorized Tags: , , , , , , , 1 Comment

The Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority was established in 2010 by the Ontario government under the Retirement Homes Act, 2010, S.O. 2010 Chapter 11 (the “Act”), and acts as a licensing body for retirement homes in Ontario.

The fundamental principle of the Act is to ensure that a retirement home is “operated so that it is a place where residents live with dignity, respect, privacy and autonomy, in security, safety and comfort and can make informed choices about their care options.”

Section 67 of the Act states:

  1. (1) Every licensee of a retirement home shall protect residents of the home from abuse by anyone.

(2) Every licensee of a retirement home shall ensure that the licensee and the staff of the home do not neglect the residents

Section 67 encompasses financial abuse as well. According to Regulation 166/11 of the Act, financial abuse is defined as “any misappropriation or misuse of a resident’s money or property.” Pursuant to the Act, a licensee must establish a trust fund if they are in charge of money from a resident; however, the Act is silent with respect to loans between a resident and the licensee.

Due to the normal process of aging, financial decision-making ability naturally declines and, as such, it is important that places of trust, such as retirement homes, avoid situations that may lead to financial abuse. Residents of a retirement home are dependent on the operator of the home for housing, safety and care. This dependency creates an expectation of trust between the staff and the residents. Moreover, many elderly individuals may lack mobility, suffer from visual impairment, or may not have family that comes and visits them, resulting in more of an increased attachment or trusting relationship with individuals at the residence.

Where a retirement home resident is competent, the issue of whether financial abuse exists will depend on the circumstances surrounding the home. For example, it is a possibility that a perfectly competent retirement home resident may have a friendship with a staff member of the residence, and desire to give them a monetary loan or gift as a sign of friendship.

It is important not to assume that every case of an elderly person in a residence providing a loan to staff is financial abuse, as assuming vulnerability in adults may lead to paternalism. Furthermore, pursuant to the Quebec case of Quebec (Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse) v. N. (R.), 2016 CarswellQue 13351, there is a “need to balance the protection of aged persons against exploitation, on the one hand, and the scrupulous need to respect their autonomy in exercising their legal rights on the other hand.”

Thanks for reading,

Ian M. Hull

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07 Oct

How Long Will You Live? Plan for Longer Life Expectancy

Natalia R. Angelini General Interest, Health / Medical, In the News Tags: , , , , , , 0 Comments

Life expectancy has unsurprisingly been on the rise over the course of the last several decades.  You would think with the superior quality of life many currently experience that there is hope for more people to live up to 100 and beyond.  After all, the Guinness World Record for the longest living person is held by Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 at age 122!

Photo of an old woman, Life expectancy is increasing, the longest living person died at 122.
“…the Guinness World Record for the longest living person is held by Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 at age 122!”

However, Ms. Calment’s status as a supercentenarian is a rarity.  Even more exceptional is her living into her 120s.  No one else has been verified as doing so.  Further, it was recently reported that researchers calculate 115 to likely be the maximum life-span.  Without a breakthrough that fixes age-related problems, the new research apparently indicates that living beyond this age is not probable.

Some geneticists disagree, taking the view that as there has been success in extending the life and health of certain laboratory animals, the same may be achievable for humans.  With technological advances may come innovations that will meaningfully impact longevity.

The debate about whether this is achievable is expected to continue.  Nonetheless, we know that people are generally living longer and, coupled with this, will have more pressure on their financial resources, as well as the increased likelihood of mental decline.  So I believe it to be prudent to encourage our clients to seek the appropriate professional advice on how to plan for a longer retirement or an extended work-life, as well as for coping with cognitive impairment.  Some suggestions with respect to the latter include:

  • appoint your Powers of Attorney(s);
  • make a Will;
  • designate beneficiaries on your bank and investment accounts;
  • have life insurance in place;
  • simplifying your finances (e.g. consolidate accounts);
  • create an inventory of assets; and
  • perhaps most important, communicate with your family.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend,

Natalia Angelini

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