Decreasing independence is not something that anyone likes to think about, but needing help making legal and financial decisions can happen at any time and for a wide range of reasons. If you’re a senior citizen, you should begin planning ahead for your future. If you get ill, have an accident or even if you are just away for a period of time, having someone you trust who is ready and able to help you can save time and trouble.
In other words, plan ahead, appoint a power of attorney and sign a power of attorney document. This is a legal document in which you name one or more people to be your attorney (decision-maker) to manage your financial affairs.
This is an important plan because you need someone you can trust to look after your affairs if you can no longer look after them yourself.
Taking precautions to avoid scams and frauds is another way to protect your assets against financial abuse. Hustlers are constantly coming up with new scams to deceive elderly people. It is important to never respond to e-mail, phone or door-to-door offers from people or groups you do not know. Most often, if an offer seems too good to be true, one can assume it is. Protect your personal information–reputable organizations will not e-mail, write or call and ask you to confirm information about your bank account or financial affairs. Financial abuse is illegal and/or unauthorized use of your money or property, or pressure on you for use of your money or property.
Unfortunately and sadly, abusers are often people in positions of power in your life, such as a family member, caregiver or someone you live with. If you think you may be the victim of financial abuse, a fraud or a scam, do not feel ashamed and you are not at fault–many people are in the same situation and it is important you do not stay silent. Tell someone you trust about what is going on and how you are being treated and take precautions. If you do not feel you can trust anyone or do not feel comfortable talking to someone you know, you can report financial abuse and/or fraud to the police.
The federal government has several benefit programs for individuals over 65 who have lived in Canada for over 10 years. However, you must apply for Old Age Security (OAS), Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), Spouse’s Allowance, Canada’s Pension Plan (CPP) and other federal programs. You will not receive them automatically! Because many programs use your income tax return to decide if you are eligible, you should file a tax return by April 30 each year. This will also allow you to claim a GST rebate and other refundable tax credits. Remember to notify Service Canada if anything changes in your life. For example, if you are receiving OAS, GIS, the Allowance or CPP and you move or your situation changes, for example, if your spouse passes away.
It’s time to quit gambling for your health and happiness. The Internet has opened up countless new ways to lose your money and the incidence of problem gambling has risen dramatically. Gambling is a very lonely condition and provides you with no genuine pleasure. Gamblers often experience a life of anxiety, fear, panic and mental and physical anguish. The delusion that gambling is pleasurable is a delusion—salvation does not lie in gambling—it is causing the misery. Research states that the divorce rate among problem gamblers is twice the rate and suicide rate is twenty times higher. If we continue to gamble, our chemical levels in the brain have been reset and we no longer derive pleasure from normal everyday experiences-it gives the illusion of a high.
Stop believing that gambling is some sort of reward you deserve for all your hard work. It is a misguided belief that it gives you genuine pleasure. Recognize the trap for what it is and do something else with your money. Remember, addiction causes us to seek relief from stress in the very thing that’s causing us stress—vicious circle. No gambler is in control and they never show a sign of happiness or having a good time. You will enjoy your life so much more as a non-gambler. In sum, there are a multitude of reasons why you should quit gambling but here are an important few: more self-respect, able to enjoy genuine pleasures again, greater ability to cope with stress, more confidence and more money.