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Has Your Loved One Experienced Elder Financial Abuse?

Posted on in Nursing Home Abuse

Chicago nursing home abuse attorneysAccording to the National Center on Elder Abuse, financial abuse is the most pervasive type of elder abuse. Older individuals or those with mental or physical disabilities are often easily taken advantage of when it comes to finances. Unscrupulous caretakers, nursing home staff, or family members may steal or misuse an elder’s funds because they know the elderly person will not be able to report the abuse. Elder financial abuse should be a serious concern for those with loved ones in a nursing home.

Cognitive Impairment Due to Dementia or Alzheimer’s Puts Residents at Higher Risk of Being Exploited

Nursing home residents suffering from cognitive impairment are especially vulnerable to elder financial abuse. The abuser is usually someone the elderly or disabled person trusts such as a spouse, child, grandchild, or caretaker. Even professionals like financial planners, fiduciaries, and nursing home staff member have been caught defrauding or stealing from vulnerable residents in the past. In the majority of these types of cases, the victim of financial abuse does not even know he or she is being exploited.

Examples of Financial Abuse That Can Occur in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities

Institutional financial abuse occurs when an institution such as a nursing home, assisted living facility, rehabilitation facility, or other healthcare organization purposely steals funds from a resident. Some nursing homes have been found guilty of overcharging residents for services in order to bring in more profit. Other examples of nursing home financial abuse include:

  • Charging residents for services such as physical therapy sessions or medical tests that they never actually received;
  • Duplicating bills or claiming that paid bills are still due;
  • Prescribing unreasonably expensive or unnecessary medications; and
  • Denying residents access to required medical care and charging them for it anyway.

Signs Your Loved One Has Been a Victim of Financial Abuse

Recognizing and stopping elder financial abuse at the first signs of trouble can help minimize the damage caused. Some clues that a nursing home is taking advantage of its residents through financial exploitation include:

  • Financial transactions that the resident does not remember;
  • A new name appears on the resident’s bank account as an authorized signer;
  • Frequent cash transactions or ATM withdrawals;
  • Property or assets go missing with no explanation;
  • Charges for medical services that were not provided;
  • Sudden or inexplicable changes to estate plans;
  • Personal checks from the resident made out to staff members or strangers; and
  • The resident lives in unsatisfactory conditions for his or her income level.
  • Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

If you have reason to believe that your loved one is being financially abused in a nursing home, do not hesitate to contact an experienced Chicago nursing home abuse and neglect attorney. Contact Schwartz Injury Law at 312-535-4625 today.

 

Sources:

https://ncea.acl.gov/whatwedo/research/statistics.html

http://www.napsa-now.org/policy-advocacy/exploitation/

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