Placing a family member in a nursing home can be a difficult and overwhelming experience. All families want the very best for their loved one. If you believe that a loved one or elderly person in your life has experienced financial abuse in their nursing home, our experienced attorneys at Tyroler Leonard Injury Law can help. Contact our offices today at 651-259-1113 for a free consultation.
Understanding Financial Elder Abuse
Unfortunately, different types of elder abuse are common in nursing homes. The World Health Organization recently reported that 1 in 6 people who are 60 years or older experienced some type of abuse in “community settings” in the last year. While many people think of elder abuse or neglect, financial abuse in nursing homes is a serious type of elder abuse. This type of abuse is often hidden as it can happen without being easily noticed. Shockingly, the World Health Organization reports that two out of three nursing home staff members say that they have committed abuse in the last year.
What Is Financial Abuse in Nursing Homes?
According to the National Institute on Aging, financial abuse in nursing homes happens when financial assets are taken from an elderly resident within that care facility.
Ways Financial Abuse Can Occur
Because elderly residents are often left in the care of others but are not supervised at all times, financial abuse can often occur slowly and over time. Some ways that financial abuse can occur include:
- Items being removed one by one from their place of residence.
- Theft of wallets, purses, or checkbooks.
- Forging checks from the elder’s name.
- Improperly using bank or credit cards.
- Pressure to change important financial documents, including wills.
- Making a change to an asset like a title to a house without permission.
- Identify theft of an elderly person.
- Improper influence or pressure to gift assets or financial valuables.
Signs of Financial Abuse
Each situation will be different when it comes to showing signs of financial abuse in nursing homes. Our experienced attorneys at Tyroler Leonard Injury Law can help you determine if you believe your loved one was financially taken advantage of in a nursing home. Often, when an elderly person is aware that someone has taken advantage of them, they may be too embarrassed to admit what has happened. You may want to consider the following questions in the process of determining whether abuse has occurred:
- Have you noticed anything missing in your family member’s nursing home room?
- Have any unusual checks that have been cashed in your family member’s name to people you do not recognize?
- Has money recently been withdrawn from their bank account, but they do not recall making the withdrawal?
- Have their spending habits recently changed?
- Have financial assets disappeared without explanation?
- Have they given financial control of their estate to someone in an unusual manner?
- Have they received any recent letters from collection agencies?
- Are they concerned or scared about their finances?
- Have there been any abrupt or recent changes to important financial documents?
- Has an elder reported potentially being financially exploited?
Preventing Financial Abuse of the Elderly in Nursing Homes
Financial abuse can be hard to detect and prevent because in many cases it is not overt or obvious. For example, someone can call an elderly person and coerce them to give information via the telephone that would allow them access into their financial accounts or other digital assets where financial abuse can occur. Therefore, it is important to educate yourself and any others who are regularly around elderly persons to actively monitor the financial activities of these elderly nursing home residents.
There are many ways that you can actively monitor and prevent financial abuse of your loved one in nursing homes. One primary way to prevent financial abuse is to have an active presence in your loved one’s life and to put as many preventative measures as possible in place before a financial abuse issue arises. These may include:
- Regular visits to their nursing home to ensure that nothing has been removed from their room against their wishes.
- Active monitoring of their financial accounts with their permission.
- Setting up alerts so that banks or other financial institutions can let you know if there has been any unusual activity.
- Get to know the people who are actively in your elderly loved one’s life – especially anyone that may be in a caretaker capacity.
- Asking questions and being aware of how the elder is spending their money and who is managing their finances in order to determine if anything has recently changed.
What To Do If You Suspect Financial Abuse
Even with preventative measures in place, many elderly residents of a nursing home might find themselves victims of financial abuse. If this happens there are certain measures that you can take to resolve the situation:
- Talk to your family member: You may want to speak directly with your elderly family member or your loved one if you think that will prevent any future abuse from occurring.
- Talk with the nursing home: You can alert the administrators of the nursing home of any suspected financial abuse so that they can directly deal with any bad actors.
- Consider obtaining a power of attorney over your loved one’s finances: If you are in a capacity to oversee their financial affairs you may want to consider securing a power of attorney.
- Contact the police: If you feel strongly that a financial crime has occurred be sure to report it to your local police department.
- Consult an experienced elder law attorney: If the issue is not resolved, you may want to consider consulting an attorney who can help pursue your claim of financial abuse in a nursing home. Our experienced attorneys can help you build a strong case if there has been any type of suspected abuse.
Speak With An Experienced Trial Attorney Today
Determining that a loved one may be a victim of elder abuse can be a very emotional and trying time for your entire family. Speaking with a compassionate and experienced nursing home abuse attorney can help guide you through the process of pursuing a claim of financial abuse against your loved one from a nursing home. Contact Tyroler Leonard Injury Law today at (651) 259-1113 to learn more.