Nursing home abuse is often thought of in terms of physical or emotional harm inflicted upon the elderly. Unfortunately, another form of such abuse is financial. Nursing home residents are often seen as targets by dishonest caregivers wishing to exploit them for their own gain. But the problem of financial nursing home abuse usually goes much deeper into the facility itself, and that facility can be held liable for the harm your loved one experiences. Talk to the team at Hale & Monico.
How Can Financial Nursing Home Abuse Be Prevented?
The best way for family members to prevent financial abuse of their relatives residing in nursing homes is to understand the various forms it can take. Some examples include:
- Identity theft, such as opening accounts in the victim’s name
- Financial adviser misconduct
- Stock broker fraud
- Stealing cash, checks, credit and debit cards
- Forging signatures or obtaining them in deceptive ways
- Improperly designating power of attorney to oneself
- Exploiting residents who don’t have legal capacity to make financial or estate planning decisions
- Threatening, intimidating, or manipulating older individuals to turn over property or assets
While anyone can be a victim of financial abuse, nursing home residents are especially vulnerable for a number of reasons. Nursing homes breed social isolation, especially when family members only infrequently visit. The elderly also tend to not be as technologically up-to-date as the scammers who prey upon them through email, telemarketing, and other modern means. Finally, some nursing home patients have cognitive impairments that make it much easier to exploit them.
Signs Of Financial Abuse
Some of the possible signs that a family member is being subjected to nursing home financial abuse are:
- Unexplained financial transactions, such as ATM withdrawals
- Missing personal property
- Missing checkbooks, debit cards, credit cards, and financial records
- A sudden change to a will or other legal instrument naming a stranger as a beneficiary
- A stranger suddenly showing an interest in your loved one’s finances
- Unusual signatures on checks and other documents
- Unpaid bills and other money problems
The problem is, nursing homes are well aware of their residents’ vulnerabilities. That’s why the law imposes certain obligations on nursing facilities to keep their residents from being victimized. For example, nursing homes are required to conduct thorough background checks on any staff members they hire to ensure their patients are kept safe. When they fail to take these steps, nursing home residents can be financially damaged.
And this damage can easily climb into the thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not more. Stolen money and property can quickly be transferred, conveyed, and lost. While law enforcement may be able to recover some of the misappropriated items, there’s a good chance much of the money and property will be lost forever.
Fortunately, the elderly victim and his or her family may be able to hold the nursing home liable. It starts with proving the facility was somehow negligent. An experienced attorney can help your case by investigating the circumstances surrounding the financial abuse and then determining whether the nursing home acted improperly.
Contact Hale & Monico Today
If you suspect that a loved one in an Illinois nursing home is being financially taken advantage of, contact law enforcement to report the crime. Then, reach out to Hale & Monico. A civil lawsuit can hold the nursing facility and its staff legally accountable for victimizing your relative. Call today to find out more.