Financial abuse occurs when an individual uses an older adult’s resources for personal benefit, profit, or gain using deception, intimidation, or threats. Many instances of financial abuse against the elderly occur between them and their caregiver, however it often occurs in nursing homes as well. Learn to recognize the signs of financial abuse so you can act on your own behalf or that of a loved one.
What form of financial abuse occur in nursing homes?
Petty theft is the most common form of financial abuse in nursing homes. It includes stealing money from the victim’s wallet or purse, or using a resident’s credit and debit cards.
Other forms of financial abuse are far more manipulative and threatening. Nursing home workers may convince a resident to sign over power of attorney to them, or change their current power of attorney from a family member to them. Other violations include enticing residents to sign contracts, changes will amendments without allowing the elder resident to review the documents, consult a family member or an attorney.
Caretakers may also charge for services they never rendered. For instance, the caregiver is given money to buy a name-brand medication but buys the generic version instead. The difference is pocketed. Also, residents may direct the caregiver to order medical or mobility equipment that never arrives because they absconded the funds.
What are the signs of financial abuse?
If your loved one faces financial abuse, you will likely see these signs:
- Lack of medical devices or needed medications
- Unexplained charges on checking, saving, or credit card accounts
- Changes to legal and financial documents, e.g., you learn you are no longer the designated agent in a power of attorney
- Fraudulent signatures on contracts, bills of purchase, and other financial or legal documents
- Missing debit or credit cards
Suspect financial abuse? Report it right away
If you suspect financial abuse, act quickly. Contact the State Ombudsman’s Office at (800) 282-1206. They may refer you to a regional long-term care ombudsman program. You may also file a police report, so the offender is more likely to face criminal charges.
Dworken & Bernstein provides legal services to victims of nursing home abuse and neglect, including financial abuse. Once you report the matter to the state, you will likely need legal representation to collect damages for missing property and redraft legal and financial documents. Our estate planning attorneys can also fix fraudulent will amendments and powers of attorney, so the interloper no longer has control of your loved one’s assets.
Call the attorneys at Dworken & Bernstein today for help with your financial abuse claim.