If your loved one is missing money or personal items, it could be a sign of financial abuse. This type of elder abuse is widespread, affecting as many as one in 20 adults aged 60 and older, according to the National Center on Law and Elder Rights (NCLER).
Nursing home residents are vulnerable to financial exploitation and other forms of abuse. If you have reason to suspect your family member’s property and assets have been stolen or misused by their nursing home or the staff, consider working with an Austin missing money or personal items lawyer with Pintas & Mullins Law Firm. We can help you seek compensation for your loved one’s finances and more. Call our team at (800) 842-6336.
Spotting Financial Abuse
Anyone can be the victim of financial exploitation. However, many nursing home residents suffer from cognitive illnesses, like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, which make them more vulnerable to abusers. For these reasons, it is vitally important that friends and family of nursing home residents know the signs of financial exploitation and how to protect their loved ones.
Missing money and personal items are just two of the signs of financial abuse. You should also look into whether or not your family member’s bills are being paid. Missed payments of regular bills could mean someone is diverting their money for another purpose or their own financial gain.
Examine your family member’s checks and other financial documents to ensure their signature is valid and not a forgery. You should also ensure your loved one’s will, life insurance policy, bank accounts, and other financial documents have not been changed. Check your loved one’s records for suspicious bank withdrawals or purchases.
Unchecked financial exploitation can have dire long-term consequences. If your loved one is missing financial documents because of abuse, they could be denied Medicaid benefits down the road, according to NCLER. NCLER also warns that financial abuse can result in being evicted or discharged from a nursing home for non-payment or insufficient funds.
Recognizing Other Forms of Abuse
If a caregiver is not above stealing your loved one’s assets, it is possible they could also be inflicting other forms of abuse. One study, cited by the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), found that half of nursing home employees admitted to physically or emotionally harming or neglecting residents during the previous year.
Abuse can be physical violence, like hitting, pushing, or slapping. It can be sexual threats, coercion, or harassment. Abuse can be the use of chemical or physical restraints and social isolation. It can also be the use of punishment, intimidation, or humiliation to hurt or control a resident. Abuse is also an intentional or unintentional denial of essential needs like healthcare, hygiene, and nutrition.
Abuse may be occurring if you notice any of the following signs:
- Lack of bathing
- Sudden and/or rapid weight loss
- Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers
- Dirty hair and clothing
- Lack of dentures, hearing aids, or eyeglasses
- An unclean or unsafe living environment
- A violent or aggressive attitude, difficulty sleeping, or traumatic behaviors
- Lack of walkers, wheelchairs, and other mobility aids
For a free legal consultation with a Missing Money or Personal Items Lawyer serving Austin, call (800) 794-0444
Protections for Your Loved One
Texas has multiple laws guaranteeing the rights of the elderly and protecting them from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Texas Human Resources Code outlines the rights and services granted to the elderly in addition to protections offered to all Texas residents.
Among the rights guaranteed is the right to manage their own financial affairs or to appoint, in writing, someone to manage their funds. The law also specifies the elderly have the right to live free from physical and mental abuse.
Texas Health and Safety Code §242.001 governs nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. This law states that facilities are required to maintain an acceptable level of care, which includes:
- Professional caregivers
- Humane treatment
- Access to comprehensive care
- Quality of life
If the nursing home and its staff have violated your loved one’s rights, physically harmed them, or stole their money or personal items, the home could face regulatory action, including losing its license.
Austin Missing Money or Personal Items Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
What an Austin Missing Money or Personal Items Lawyer Can Do
A lawyer can represent your family member’s interests in civil court. An attorney may be able to help you win compensation for the property or money that was taken from your loved one. They can also argue for damages for the stress and mental turmoil your family member suffered. If your loved one was physically injured, an attorney can seek awards for their medical expenses.
You can get started on your case by collecting your loved one’s financial records. An attorney can assist with this. Your lawyer can also ensure records of financial abuse are documented with the bank, local law enforcement, or adult protective services.
You Can Take a Stand
Financial abuse can take a toll. It may be overlooked because it does not result in the same injuries as physical abuse, but it can leave lasting scars. Their caregivers have betrayed your loved one, and that is damaging.
It is fundamentally wrong to prey on the elderly, especially by taking advantage of those who may be easily confused because of cognitive decline. Seeking justice is about more than money. It is about sending a clear message that abuse in all forms is intolerable. Winning awards for your loved one could mean the people who hurt them will not have the opportunity to harm anyone else.
If you are ready to work with an attorney, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to locate an Austin missing money or personal items lawyer. We know this is a difficult time financially, and we can take your case without causing you any more expense. Our fee comes from any settlement we achieve for you and your family. Call our team at (800) 842-6336 to learn more.