Elders are almost common victims of financial abuse. Often referred to as financial exploitation, it includes any illegal use of the elder’s property, money or other valuables. Access can be obtained using deception of the elder, coercion, undue influence or theft. It also applies to abuse of power or attorney, and the deprivation of money. Although family members most commonly commit financial abuse of elders, the staff members of the nursing home can also commit it. It is estimated that five million elderly citizens in the United States are victims of financial abuse each year, and many of these cases occur within nursing homes.
Although people most often look for signs of physical and emotional abuse in nursing home patients, financial abuse is all too common as well. There are many examples of financial abuse by staff members of nursing homes. For instance, a staff member may steal personal property from a resident or steal a resident’s identity in order to withdraw money from the resident’s bank account. In addition, a staff member could pressure a resident into modifying personal documents, such as a will or deed. Another form of financial abuse occurs if there are false fees or charges made to the resident that carry a significant cost.
There are many signs that you can look for if you suspect a loved one may be a victim of elder financial abuse in a nursing home. If there are recent and frequent withdrawals from a bank account that shouldn’t have been made, that is a common warning sign. In addition, if you notice that personal property is missing from the room and the patient is unaware of its location, this can be another sign. Any recent revisions to wills, deeds or trust as well as new loans should also be red flags.
If you find any of these signs, there are several important steps to take. First, make sure that the elder is telling the truth, and that you have the story straight. If you can, look for others who can corroborate the story including residents or staff members who may have noticed something suspicious. Next, considering moving the patient to a new nursing home. Inform local authorities of what is going on, and file any complaints with the local agencies. Finally, hire an attorney who has experience dealing with elder abuse and nursing home laws. You may be able to make a claim for financial exploitation or consumer fraud. Nursing homes are subject to many federal and state regulations, and held to a high standard of care meant to protect the vulnerable elderly population that depends on it.
Find Out if You Have a Nursing Home Abuse Case
Parker Scheer nursing home abuse lawyers have successfully represented persons injured as a result of nursing home abuse and neglect. Those interested in having their potential claim reviewed by one of our nursing home abuse attorneys are encouraged to contact us or telephone us toll free, seven days a week at 617-886-0500. There is never a charge for an initial consultation and all information supplied will be held in strict confidence.