Saturday is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and some P.E.I. seniors spent the day at a workshop learning how to avoid such exploitation.

The event at the Jack Blanchard Community Centre in Charlottetown focused on financial abuse.

Catherine Freeze, senior policy analyst with the province, said they used talks, skits and a film to help older Islanders recognize when they're being taken advantage of and how to stop it.

"It's often a crime that goes unreported because it is [often] someone they know and oftentimes love," she said.

Most people who exploit seniors are relatives, friends or caregivers.

"Older adults can feel badly that their trust in that individual has been misplaced and they may also worry about the consequences. Would they get into trouble if financial abuse was reported?"

Loaning debit cards

Olive Bryanton has been teaching seniors financial safety for years.

"It's not the stranger you have to worry about, it's your family and friends," she said. "They can take you to the cleaners big time, and it's been happening."

A common tactic is to get the senior to lend a debit or credit card. Another involves convincing seniors they need repairs on their houses and taking the cash without doing the work, or overcharging for the work.

Winnie Fraser Mackay, president of Canadian Pensioners Concerned, has heard about financial abuse all over the country. 

"It's so humiliating," she said. "Their money is gone and their property is gone and they're really too proud to report it."

She urged seniors to talk to a friend or go to the police for help if they think they're being abused. Elder abuse can be reported to police, RCMP or Adult Protection Services.

Corrections

  • Winnie Fraser Mackay is the current president of Canadian Pensioners Concerned, not former as a previous version of this story stated.
    Jun 17, 2013 3:21 PM AT