There are a number of ways in which elder abuse can occur, and elder financial abuse is a growing problem across the country. This type of abuse involves fraud, the misuse of assets belonging to another person, and theft from vulnerable individuals. Due to their diminished mental as well as physical capabilities, nursing home residents are at elevated risk of being harmed by financial abuse.
If you believe that a loved one has been abused in any way at a nursing home, you should not hesitate to retain the assistance of a nursing home attorney. It can also help to learn some of the basic details about how financial abuse at nursing homes occurs and how to recognize it.
Types of Elder Financial Abuse
Financial abuse of the elderly can occur in a number of ways, which include the following:
- Charging nursing home residents for services they never received
- Coercing a nursing home resident to transfer assets to someone else
- Deceptively convincing a nursing home resident to sign over power of attorney
- Denying a nursing home resident access to his or her financial assets
- Establishing credit card accounts in a resident’s name without permission
- Forging someone’s signature so a financial transaction can be completed
- Providing a nursing home resident with medication but charging for a more expensive version of the drug
- Stealing assets from a nursing home resident
- Taking a credit or debit card from someone’s belongings and using it
Parties Who Commonly Commit Financial Abuse
Financial abuse is frequently committed by members of the senior citizen’s family. This can include an elderly person’s children, grandchildren, and even spouse.
There are a number of reasons why family members may commit this type of abuse:
- The abuser has financial problems and is relying on the family member’s assets to resolve these issues
- The loved one’s assets are being used to fuel addictions, which often take the form of either gambling or substance abuse
- The person who commits the abuse will eventually inherit the money and as a result believes that he or she is taking something that is already his or hers
- The abuser and the abused have a poor relationship
- The abuser is trying to prevent other family members from acquiring the victim’s assets
In addition to family members, financial abuse is also sometimes committed by staff members at nursing homes as well as hired caregivers.
Signs a Loved One Has Been a Victim of Financial Abuse
There are a number of indicators that a loved one has been harmed by financial abuse. Some of the signs that you should look out for include:
- Bills not being paid by a loved one who is normally prompt about bill payment
- Loved ones who are not aware of changes in financial arrangements
- Loved ones who suddenly have new best friends
- The care that a loved one receives is much more expensive than he or she can afford
- Unexplained transfers or withdrawals from the loved one’s bank account
Ways to Prevent Financial Abuse of the Elderly
There is not one surefire strategy that you can take to make sure that your loved one is never subject to financial abuse. Instead, it is helpful to follow several tips:
- Keep a close eye on bank accounts for any suspicious activity or transactions that were likely not made by your loved one.
- Avoid ever leaving all financial decisions for a loved one to just one person. Instead, it is a much better idea to involve multiple individuals because this increases transparency and the chances that if abuse does occur, it will be caught. If one person is granted financial power, it easier for this individual to misuse a person’s assets.
- Be aware that a tactic frequently used by abusers is to isolate the loved one. This makes it much easier to abuse the victims because others are not watching. You should strongly consider retaining the services of a new caregiver if the current caregiver is isolating your loved one.
- Powers of attorney allow someone to act on behalf of another individual. This is why you should make sure to appoint a trustworthy individual to carry out this responsibility.
Speak with an Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
If your loved one has been subject to financial abuse in a nursing home, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer. Contact Kruger & Hodges today to schedule a free initial consultation.