Nursing home abuse comes in many forms. Some of these forms, like emotional abuse and financial exploitation, can go undetected for years because they do not have the same obvious symptoms as other types of abuse, like physical and sexual abuse.
Financial exploitation is the unauthorized use of an individual’s financial resources for one’s own financial gain. In nursing homes, older adults face an increased risk of being financially exploited by their caregivers because of the nature of their relationships with their caregivers and often, their reduced mental capacities. Financial exploitation is elder abuse, and when it happens, an experienced elder law attorney can help you take action to recover compensation for your loved one’s damages.
Financial Exploitation of Seniors is Abuse
There is no other way to put it – financial exploitation of seniors is abuse. When it happens, victims lose money, often the money they need to continue living in their facilities and receiving care. They can also suffer psychological trauma as a direct result of this loss.
Sometimes, financial exploitation is not the theft of cash, but the theft of assets from an older individual. A few examples of financial exploitation include:
- Using an individual’s identity to make purchases, open credit card accounts, and access his or her personal accounts;
- Directly stealing money or items from an individual;Deceiving an individual into purchasing a product, investment, or service that is inappropriate or useless for him or her; and
- Deceiving an individual into giving his or her money or assets to the perpetrator.
Signs of Financial Exploitation
Learn to recognize the signs of financial exploitation. They include:
- Sudden sums of money missing from the victim’s bank account;
- Mail from organizations, lotteries, and other senders you do not recognize;
- Changes to your loved one’s will that he or she cannot fully explain; and
- New authorized users added to his or her credit cards and other accounts.
What to do if your Loved One is Being Abused
Take any short-term actions you can to prevent any further damage. Depending on how your loved one is being exploited, this could mean canceling his or her credit cards, changing the passwords on his or her accounts, or taking his or her liquid cash for safekeeping. Your next step is to report your concerns to the nursing home’s management.
Discuss your loved one’s case with an experienced elder abuse lawyer to determine your options for pursuing compensation for his or her damages. You will likely need to file a complaint with your state’s adult protective agency to open an investigation.
Work with an Experienced Elder Law Attorney
If your loved one is facing any type of abuse in his or her nursing home, be an advocate for him or her and discuss the case with an experienced lawyer. Talk about all the details of your loved one’s case because these details matter when you are crafting an elder abuse claim. To start working with one of the elder law attorneys at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd., contact our firm to schedule your legal consultation with us.