People who have dementia are “sitting ducks” for financial abuse, a recent report by the International Longevity Centre (ILC) argues.

Financial abuse is defined as harm that is perpetrated intentionally on victims by others to their financial benefit[1]. The financial abuse of people lacking mental capacity can involve a wide range of victims and abusers – from those who deliberately target their victims to others who are misinformed or incompetent.

But it is frequently hidden from public scrutiny and there is often little protection for victims.

Lasting power of attorney

The ILC interviewed people with dementia and their carers for its report, with new research suggesting that a review of the Lasting Power of Attorney process might aid the longevity and independence of people with dementia.

For its research, the ILC also organised focus groups and innovation workshops with business professionals representing high street chains, financial services and the transport sector.

In addition, the report found that the UK economy would see a considerable boost if people with dementia were able to spend more easily and that spending would increase by almost £950 million a year if spending environments were more welcoming to people with cognitive impairment

‘Inflexible and inconsistent approaches’

The ILC also said that inflexible and inconsistent approaches to those with an LPA made it hard for carers to support people with dementia effectively and that the legal framework needed adjustment to support people with dementia.

It recommends the Government conducts a review of LPA legislation, which considers whether procedures could be simplified, and explores the potential for new processes that enable people with dementia and their carers to share decision making.

The ILC also says the Government and NHS should work together with dementia experts to identify effective ways to ‘nudge’ people towards setting up an LPA.

More accessible tech

With regards to technology, the ILC recommends existing technology is made more accessible and useable, for example, the UK Payments System Regulator should allow customers with dementia and other cognitive impairments to personalise contactless debit card limits with all banks, including setting their own payment limits.

Dave Lockwood, Finders International’s public sector development manager, said: “It is clear that financial institutions need to do more when dealing with customers with an LPA or Court of Protection order.

“Having personally dealt with organisations whilst managing someone’s affairs it’s obvious that staff training is sketchy at best. These organisations owe it to their customers to be prepared for these life events and it looks like they still have a long way to go.”



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