Nursing home abuse is a common occurrence. The mistreatment of elderly people in care facilities is a very real problem, according to statistics reported by the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA). There are many types of abuse and neglect that may occur to older individuals. Our elderly relatives are often susceptible to one of the most overlooked forms of abuse – financial abuse. It is estimated that as many as 1 in 5 nursing home residents have been victims of financial abuse. It is important to make sure that the finances of our loved ones in nursing homes are protected.
There is legal recourse for those who have been taken advantage of financially. Contact the experienced legal team at Levin & Perconti to discuss your situation.
Types of Financial Abuse
Financial abuse can happen over time, making it one of the most difficult crimes to detect. Some of the most common examples of financial abuse include:
· Cashing Resident’s Checks without Authorization · Forging Resident’s Signature · Taking Money or Property · Using a Resident’s Bank Card or Checks · Deceit or Forcing Resident to Sign Over Money or Possessions · Improper Power of Attorney
Growing technology creates more ways to defraud nursing home patients without going detected. The elderly are more vulnerable to this type of abuse for a number of reasons. Those living in nursing homes may be less capable, both physically and mentally, to take care of their finances properly. They may rely on others to assist them with their money and bank accounts. Residents may be very trusting, even of those who are not dishonest.
Warning Signs of Financial Abuse
Financial abuse may be difficult to spot so it is important to understand some of the common signs of this type of incidence. Relatives of nursing home residents need to be aware of these signs so that they can take action should they happen.
· Changes in Financial Status · Unexplained Withdrawals · Missing Money from Wallet or Room · Resident Unable to Make Regular Purchases · Personal Belongings That Go Missing · Unauthorized Names Added to Bank Account · Reluctance to Discuss Finances · Request For Additional Funds
Financial abuse may be rather minor, such as stealing a piece of jewelry, to major, such as siphoning money out of a bank account. Any type of stealing or misappropriation is not only immoral, it is criminal. Anyone who comes into contact with a nursing home resident could be responsible for financial exploitation.
Preventing Financial Abuse
There are several things that can be done to help protect the finances of an elderly relative. Make sure that the resident is signed up for direct deposit of checks and automatic withdrawal of bill payments. Take away temptation by removing any expensive items from the room. Help your relative avoid bank theft by assisting them with their banking needs. Contact the bank immediately if there is any suspicious activity noticed.
What to Do If You Suspect Financial Abuse
If you think your loved one may be the victim of financial abuse it is necessary to report it right away. A knowledgeable attorney will be able to assist in researching the alleged abuse and determining exactly what happened. Whether another resident is responsible or if the abuse was done by staff, the nursing home is responsible. The facility must provide a safe environment for everyone. Contact the legal team at Levin & Perconti to learn more about how to resolve the problem.
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