What You Need to Know about Financial Abuse in Nursing Homes
Posted on behalf of Edwards Law Firm on May 31, 2017 in Nursing Home Abuse
Elder abuse is typically thought of as physical or mental abuse. However, many elderly people and residents of nursing homes are often subjected to financial abuse as well.
Nursing home abuse in Oklahoma is unfortunately very common and victims are often afraid or unable to report the situation.
If you suspect your loved one has been financially abused in a nursing home, contact the Edwards Law Firm’s nursing home abuse attorneys as soon as possible.
What is Financial Abuse?
Financial abuse occurs when a victim’s funds, property or assets are used without his or her permission or knowledge.
Unfortunately, many elderly people are victims of financial abuse because they are often susceptible to deceptive practices.
The main perpetrators of financial abuse are often relatives, immediate family members and people in a position of trust, like a caregiver.
Elderly victims of financial abuse may be unaware they are being exploited. However, acts of financial abuse are often committed by people who the victim trusts.
Examples of Financial Abuse
Elder financial abuse and exploitation can take many forms that often depend on the person committing the crime.
For instance, those who have direct access to the elderly victim’s financial accounts, like family members or caregivers, may steal directly from the victim.
Financial abuse that occurs in nursing homes and within the medical community often involves charging for unnecessary treatments or overcharging victims for standard services.
However, there are many ways financial abuse can be committed by those who have access to an elderly person’s trust and finances, such as:
- Cashing a resident’s checks or using a credit card without his or her permission
- Coercing a senior to make sudden changes to his or her will or financial documents
- Abusing the position of guardianship or power of attorney
- Stealing or misusing a nursing home resident’s finances or possessions
- Forging a resident’s signature
- Defrauding the resident to obtain access to his or her finances or bank accounts
Signs of Financial Abuse
Unfortunately, acts of financial abuse are often subtle and can take place over long periods of time. It is a deceptive practice that may be difficult to identify until significant damage has been done to the resident’s financial assets.
It is often left up to the victim’s family members and loved ones to recognize abnormal financial activity and report instances of abuse.
Financial abuse can be identified by looking for these signs:
- Bank statements are being delivered to a person or location unfamiliar to the resident.
- Unusually frequent withdrawals are being made from the victim’s financial accounts.
- Property or assets belonging to the resident disappear without an explanation.
- The resident cannot explain significant changes to his or her financial situation.
- The resident does not understand recent financial documents he or she has signed.
- Additional names have appeared on the resident’s bank card.
- Sudden withdrawals for large amounts of money are becoming more frequent.
- The resident’s living conditions are far below the standards he or she can afford.
- The resident has become reluctant to discuss his or her financial situation or recent behavior.
If you have noticed any of these signs in your loved one’s recent financial activity, you should investigate the situation and take preventative measures to stop future acts of abuse.
Preventing Financial Abuse
There are several approaches you can take to prevent your elderly loved one from financial abuse, such as:
- Researching the nursing home for past instances of reported financial abuse
- Using automatic bill paying systems and direct deposit for checks
- Communicating with the resident’s bank or financial institution to identify suspicious activity
- Employing a geriatric care manager to monitor the resident’s finances
- Frequently visiting the resident and being cautious of caregivers who attempt to isolate the resident
Another method to prevent financial abuse is utilizing a system of checks and balances among those who are involved with a resident’s finances.
This arrangement could effectively monitor a resident’s finances and ensure that one person does not gain an unfair advantage over the resident’s resources.
However, any method you choose to use to prevent the financial exploitation of your loved one should reflect his or her best interests.
Legal Help for Victims of Nursing Home Abuse
If you suspect your loved one is being financially abused or exploited by the nursing home you entrusted with his or her care, immediately contact the nursing home to report the situation.
After you have reported suspicious financial activity, you should immediately contact our nursing home abuse attorneys to discuss pursuing a claim.
We will provide you with a free, no obligation consultation to review your loved one’s financial exploitation to determine if you are able to take legal action on his or her behalf.
All of our work is provided on a contingency fee basis, which means we will not charge you any upfront fees and you only pay us if we recover damages for your claim.
Call 1-800-304-9246 if your elderly loved one has been the victim of financial abuse.