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What Financial Abuse in Nursing Homes Looks Like

What Financial Abuse in Nursing Homes Looks Like

It’s no secret that today’s elderly population is living longer than ever before. Thanks to advances in modern medicine, it’s not unheard of for seniors to live into their 80s, 90s, and beyond. While this is wonderful news to many, it also presents new problems for families that earlier generations didn’t have to contend with.

Essentially, our seniors are living longer, but many of them get to the point where they need round-the-clock care and often, their loved ones aren’t properly equipped. As a result, families are forced to place their loved ones in nursing homes. While nursing homes can be a saving grace for families, they’re not always the safe havens they’re meant to be.

Vulnerable Adults & Financial Abuse

As with infants and toddlers, elderly adults can be extremely vulnerable. They often have physical and cognitive impairments that prevent them from being independent. Once a resident has entered a nursing home for 24-hour care, they usually need regular assistance with getting to doctors’ appointments, running errands, paying bills, and sometimes even feeding, bathing, dressing, and other everyday activities.

When the resident has Alzheimer’s or dementia, they can be especially vulnerable to physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and financial abuse, also known as “financial exploitation.” For the purposes of this article, we’re going to discuss financial abuse in the nursing home setting, what it is and what red flags to look out for.

Warning signs of financial abuse in a nursing home:

  • Cash goes missing
  • Jewelry and other valuables go missing from the resident’s room
  • Money is withdrawn from the resident’s bank account with no explanation
  • Check fraud is committed using the resident’s checks
  • Unexplained credit card purchases
  • Credit cards are taken out using the resident’s Social Security number
  • The resident adds the caregiver to estate planning documents
  • The resident makes the caregiver his or her beneficiary on bank accounts, life insurance policies, etc.
  • The resident becomes a victim of identity theft

Is your loved one complaining that the nursing home staff is stealing from him or her? If so, it’s important not to ignore these remarks, even if the caregiver says, “Oh, it’s because of dementia.” It may be 100% true! Or, have you noticed that something seems off? Perhaps your loved one’s jewelry is suddenly missing or too much money is missing from their bank account. Whatever your concern, it’s important to listen to your gut and investigate further. An unscrupulous caregiver can steal thousands from a vulnerable resident before he or she is caught.

Next: Dehydration in Nursing Homes: A Serious Threat

If you suspect your loved one is a victim of financial abuse or exploitation, contact the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC to discuss your concerns with an attorney. The problem can be bigger than you think – call us today to explore your legal options.


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