Financial abuse is a growing problem among the elderly. It involves theft, fraud or misuse of another person’s assets, including things like cash, bank accounts and credit cards.
Nursing home residents are particularly susceptible to this form of abuse because they often have diminished physical and mental capacity.
If you have a loved one staying in a nursing home, you should learn about the different types of financial abuse, signs it is happening and what you can do to help prevent it. If your loved one suffers this form of abuse, contact our nursing home abuse attorneys in Cincinnati for a free, no obligation legal consultation.
Forms Of Elder Abuse
Your loved one could be a victim of many different types of financial abuse, including:
- Stealing cash
- Coercing a resident into transferring property or assets to someone else
- Forging a resident’s signature to sell or obtain property
- Using a resident’s money or other assets without permission
- Using deception or coercion to make a resident sign over power of attorney to someone
- Denying a resident access to possessions or financial assets, like bank accounts
- Setting up credit card accounts in a resident’s name without permission
- Taking a debit card for personal use
- Stealing a resident’s money to pay bills for someone else
- Charging residents for services that were never performed
- Giving a resident a generic version of a medication but charging for the more expensive brand name
- Not paying for necessary medical care
Who Commits Elder Financial Abuse?
Sadly, financial abuse is often committed by members of the victim’s own family, including children, grandchildren or spouses. There are many reasons why a family member is more likely to financially abuse a nursing home resident:
- They have financial problems and are using the resident’s assets to deal with those problems
- They are using the resident’s assets to fund a gambling or substance abuse problem
- They are going to inherit money from the resident and feel they are taking what is rightfully theirs
- They have a bad relationship with the victim
- They are trying to prevent other family members who they do not trust from acquiring the victim’s assets
Financial abuse can also be committed by staff members at the nursing home, including caregivers, nurses and others.
Signs Your Loved One Has Been Victimized
There are numerous signs that your loved one may have suffered some form of financial abuse. If you notice any of them, be sure to report the abuse immediately to the proper authorities:
- Bills are not being paid
- There are withdrawals or transfers from bank accounts that your loved one cannot explain
- Your loved one claims to have a new best friend
- The care your loved one is receiving is much more expensive than he or she can afford
- Your loved one has lost assets or other property
- Your loved one is unaware of changes in financial arrangements, including wills and power of attorney
- One person has cashed numerous checks from your loved one’s bank account
- Your loved one was charged for a medical service or device that he or she never received
- ATM withdrawals even though your loved one is bedridden
- Your loved one is depressed
- Checks have notes on them labeling them loans or gifts
- Closing bank accounts
How Can I Prevent Abuse?
Unfortunately, there is no way to ensure that your loved one will never suffer financial abuse. However, there are several steps you can take to minimize the risk:
Keep A Close Eye On Bank Accounts
You should monitor bank accounts on a regular basis and watch for any suspicious or uncharacteristic transactions.
Include Several People In Financial Decisions
You should never leave all financial decisions in one person’s hands. Keeping multiple people in the loop is a good way to lessen the risk of abuse. If one person has all the power, it will be much easier for him or her to steal or misuse your loved one’s assets.
Change Caregivers If Your Loved One Is Often Isolated
One of the things abusers like to do is isolate their victims. This makes it much easier to abuse the victim as others will be unaware of it. That is why you should strongly consider getting a new caregiver for your loved one if the current caregiver is keeping your loved one isolated.
Ensure A Trustworthy Individual Holds Power Of Attorney
Power of attorney allows someone to act on another person’s behalf. That is why it is such as huge responsibility and should only be left with someone who can be trusted to not abuse it.
Contact A Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer In Cincinnati
If you believe your loved one has suffered any form of nursing home abuse, contact our attorneys right now to determine your legal options. We may be able to pursue a legal claim to obtain compensation for the damages your loved one has suffered.
Your initial consultation with our experienced lawyers is 100 percent free and comes with no obligation to pursue a claim. If you have a viable case, and we take it, you will not be charged for legal fees unless we obtain the compensation you deserve.