We often think of nursing home abuse as nursing home neglect or physical and emotional abuse of elders. However, another type of abuse also occurs, financial abuse. Financial abuse can be devastating for vulnerable elders. It takes advantage of their mental health, age, and isolation.
If you suspect your family member is a victim of financial abuse, it is essential to know the signs. This post will examine the signs of nursing home financial abuse and look at what you can do to stop it.
What is nursing home financial abuse?
Nursing home abuse involves the illegal, unauthorized, or improper use of an elder’s money, benefits, belongings, property, or assets. Often, elders are tricked into signing over their assets. Or they may allow someone to steal their money or property without understanding the consequences. Mental health, dementia, isolation, or old age can make elders particularly vulnerable to nursing home financial abuse.
Types of nursing home financial abuse include:
- Identity theft
- Opening financial accounts in the elder’s name without their permission
- Forging signatures on checks or documents
- Telemarketing scams
- Using fraud to gain control over the elder’s assets
- Using funds without permission
Who is likely to abuse someone in a nursing home?
Elder abuse is, unfortunately, very common. Approximately one in six people aged sixty or older who live in community care experience some form of nursing home abuse or nursing home neglect every year. Financial abuse is one of the most common forms of nursing home abuse and is 15% of all elder abuse cases.
Anyone with a close relationship with an elder and access to their financial records can commit nursing home financial abuse.
Family members and primary caregivers of elders make up 90% of the people who use financial abuse against elders. Most often, these people have extensive knowledge of the elder’s financial situation and have a close relationship with the elder. The elder trusts them, and they use this to take advantage of them.
In cases of nursing home financial abuse, in-home nurses or people who care for the elder on a day-to-day basis may also trick or intimidate the elder into signing over funds. Sometimes, phone scams or private companies may try to take advantage of elders. They may try to sell their intended victims overpriced goods they don’t need or charge for services they never provide.
Signs of nursing home financial abuse
Elders in long-term care facilities are often unaware they’re victims of nursing home financial abuse. Even if the resident knows what’s going on, they may be afraid to tell someone for fear of threats or retaliation.
Common signs of nursing home financial abuse include:
- Unexplained purchases or withdrawals from financial accounts
- Unexplained credit card purchases or missing credit cards
- Forged signatures on checks or contracts
- Unexpected changes in the power of attorney or wills
- Checks are written to caregivers or an unknown financial institution
- Medical devices that were paid for but not in your elder’s possession
- Your elder doesn’t want to talk about financial issues that they were happy to talk about in the past
- Missing belongings
Common tactics outside individuals use to financially abuse elders include: telling them they’ve won a prize, impersonating a bank examiner, tax official, contractor, or other business professionals, or claiming they are family members who need money.
How to Protect your loved one from nursing home financial abuse
Suppose you suspect your elder is a victim of elder abuse. In that case, asking your elder about the financial abuse is often not helpful. They may not be aware that it happened or may be afraid of retaliation if they talk about the incident. You must speak up on their behalf and put a stop to the abuse.
Here are some helpful steps for how to report a nursing home for neglect:
File a report with the nursing home
The nursing home is responsible for protecting its residents from all forms of abuse (physical, emotional, nursing home neglect, and financial abuse). They need to be aware of what’s happening regardless of whether it involves a staff member, relative, or friend taking advantage of the resident.
Contact your long-term care ombudsperson.
These programs and services protect the rights of individuals who live in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes and hospitals. An ombudsperson can help to resolve issues with nursing home abuse.
Contact Adult Protective Services (APS).
APS is there to help protect individuals in long-term care. They’re provided by the state or local governments across the country. The APS can investigate cases of nursing home abuse, nursing home neglect, or nursing home financial abuse.
Find nursing home neglect lawyers in your area.
Everyone should have the right to respectful treatment and care. Nursing home financial abuse is a crime, and it’s essential to speak up. Having a nursing home neglect attorney advise you on your case can be beneficial. A lawyer with experience in nursing home neglect and financial abuse can help gather evidence and work with your case, so you don’t have to handle everything alone.
To connect with a nursing home neglect lawyer in your area, contact LegalASAP. Our network of experienced and trustworthy attorneys can advise you on your case and find the best way forward. Contact us today for a free evaluation of your case.