Although financial abuse is the most common form of elder abuse, relatively few Canadians are taking steps to prevent it, according to a new survey.

The majority (81%) of Canadians recognize that when financial elder abuse occurs, it’s usually perpetrated by someone close to the victim, a new survey from the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) has found.

Despite this recognition, 91% of survey respondents who had an older adult in their lives said they faced barriers that prevented them from discussing financial matters with their elders.

Thirty-eight per cent of respondents said they believed their loved ones had their finances under control, while 37% said it wasn’t their place to talk finances with their elders. Another 30% said finances don’t come up in conversation.

The CSA reported that 29% of respondents said they knew a victim of financial elder abuse, but only 47% knew where to report a case of abuse. Forty-two per cent said they wouldn’t recognize signs of financial elder abuse.

To prevent elder abuse, the CSA recommended talking to older adults about their finances, learning to recognize investment scams, taking the time to investigate sales pitches about new investment opportunities and reporting investment frauds to securities regulators.

“Older Canadians are particularly susceptible to financial exploitation and fraud,” CSA chair Louis Morisset said in a statement. “Checking in regularly with the older adults in our lives about their finances – no matter their financial situation – is critical to raise awareness of financial abuse and ultimately help prevent it.”

The CSA also outlined the efforts provincial securities regulators are making to combat elder abuse. For further details, read the CSA’s release.

The CSA commissioned Edelman to conduct an online survey in collaboration with Angus Reid of 1,500 adults in Canada from May 17 to May 18, 2021. Online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.