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What Can I Do if I Think Nursing Home Staff May Be Stealing My Parent’s Money? 

Posted on in Nursing Home Abuse

shutterstock_570926716.jpgThe decision to place a parent in an Illinois nursing home or assisted living center can be a difficult and heartbreaking choice, especially if your parent is unhappy about it or suffers from dementia and does not fully understand the situation. Yet many aging adults are unable to care for themselves and certain health conditions can require the constant supervision and assistance of healthcare professionals, something that few adult children are equipped to provide on their own. 

Many families, therefore, decide to put their trust in nursing home staff and carefully select a facility where their parent or loved one will feel at home. Unfortunately, although it may be difficult to contemplate such a situation, nursing home staff do not always provide residents with the appropriate standard of care and even sometimes engage in elder abuse and neglect. One common form of elder abuse is financial abuse. If you think nursing home staff - or another resident - may be stealing from your parent, read on. 

Types of Elder Financial Abuse

While many of us may picture stealing from a nursing home resident as simply reaching into their wallet and taking out a few dollars that will not be missed, financial fraud can involve much more complex and sneaky behaviors. Some common types of financial abuse include: 

  • Bank withdrawals - When a staff member or other resident can access your parent’s wallet, they may be able to find bank account numbers, passwords, and other private financial information. Most thieves are savvy enough not to write checks to themselves. Instead, they move funds in a way that they hope seems legitimate or difficult to track, using third parties or other co-conspirators to help cover their tracks. 

  • Credit card theft - People may steal a resident’s credit card information and use it to spend money or open up other credit cards or loans in the resident’s name. It may be easy to intercept a resident’s mail or run up balances on a card a resident does not know exists. 

  • ATM theft - If someone knows a nursing home resident’s debit card number, they may make small cash withdrawals and return the card back to the resident’s wallet, hoping that, over time, the small withdrawals will not be missed. Similar to credit cards, debit cards may also be used to make online purchases. 

Signs Your Parent in a Nursing Home May Be Financially Abused

While it can be difficult to detect these behaviors and even harder to recover stolen funds, there are certain signs that may suggest financial abuse is being committed against your loved one. These include: 

  • You leave cash with them and it is quickly gone without explanation

  • They frequently lose their wallet, debit and credit cards, or checkbook

  • Their bank statement, phone bill, or other information has a different address than it should

  • Small withdrawals or purchases appear on every statement

  • Junk mail offering credit cards and loans begin appearing frequently

A nursing home has an obligation to protect its residents from financial fraud. Administrators should be open and willing to discuss concerns with the family members of residents, and a reluctance to discuss your concerns may be another red flag. 

Call an Experienced Cook County Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

If you are worried your loved one has been victimized by financial abuse, it is essential to take action quickly. At Schwartz Injury Law, our skilled Cook County nursing home abuse attorneys can help you determine whether there is sufficient evidence of wrongdoing to pursue a lawsuit. Financial exploitation of vulnerable elders in residential care facilities is absolutely unacceptable and we will do whatever we can to help you pursue justice and compensation. Call us today at 312-535-4625 to schedule a free consultation. 

 

Sources: 

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=1225&ChapterID=21 

https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice/red-flags-elder-abuse-0 

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