Older adults may find themselves the subject of financial exploitation, as fraudsters often view over-50s as easy targets.
However, a new study could allow professionals to identify such a situation and intervene at an earlier juncture.
Researchers at Brunel University have begun to illuminate how the complex decision-making process happens when a professional is confronted with an older adult whose financial situation raises suspicion of exploitation.
Leader of the study professor Mary Gilhooly wanted to find out what information people use, how they weigh it up, and whether they decide to act or not when dealing with financial anomalies in the account of an older adult.
Professor Gilhooly explained: "First you have to notice that something is wrong, then you have to decide whether it is abuse and this is clearly not straightforward.”
Focusing on healthcare workers, social care workers and bankers, researchers found that the mental capacity of the individual in question and the nature of the problem are the only two factors taken into account when a professional decides to take action.
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