Many older adults choose to retain control over personal finances to secure their sense of autonomy and control when moving to a nursing home. Even those who have no qualms about moving to a long-term care residence may choose to maintain individual accounts and manage their own estate planning. Elders may also wish to take sentimental or valuable items with them to their new home.
Most long-term care facilities strive to provide older adults with a safe, secure, and supportive environment where they can thrive while receiving the assistance they need to live safely and comfortably. Staff and facility administrators have an obligation, known as a duty of care, to look after residents, treat them with dignity and respect, and administer personal and medical assistance as needed.
Sadly, not all long-term care facilities uphold their responsibility to residents and their families. Some merely lack resources or staff to provide the expected quality of care. While this is inexcusable, those facilities or staff members who actively mistreat elders are even more unconscionable.
If your loved one is in long-term care and lost personal items, a Kansas City missing money or personal items lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help. Victims of abuse are often among the most vulnerable in society. A lawyer can help you prove your loved one was financially abused and seek fair compensation for their losses, which may include the value of the stolen items or funds, as well as emotional pain and suffering. Call the office at (800) 842-6336 to speak with a team member to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
Financial Abuse Facts
Elder abuse is a pervasive, widespread issue throughout the United States and the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that at least one in six people ages 60 and over have experienced abuse in community settings within the past year. The WHO and other elder care and advocacy organizations state that this number is likely a vast underrepresentation as many victims do not or cannot speak up. Abuse can take many forms, including physical, emotional, sexual, and financial.
Financial abuse may not directly cause physical harm, but it can nonetheless be devastating for victims and their families. Financial abuse is also different from other forms in part because it often occurs with the elderly person’s tacit consent. Because of this, it can also be more difficult to bring perpetrators to justice. This is why it is crucial to enlist professional help.
Know the Signs of Financial Abuse
Physical abuse and neglect are often visible. An elder may, for example, have dirty clothing and hair, bruises, or bedsores. Financial abuse, however, is usually more challenging to spot. The victim and their family may not even be aware it is happening until it is too late. For this reason, it is essential to be mindful of the warning signs associated with financial exploitation.
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), red flags include, but are not limited to:
- The disappearance of money or personal items, such as jewelry or valuable keepsakes.
- Third-party withdrawals from a bank account.
- Sudden and unexplained or suspicious changes in bank account habits, including large withdrawals.
- Unexpected changes to wills or other financial or estate planning documents, titles, power of attorney, or policies.
- Identity theft or forging an elder’s signature.
- Unusual subscriptions, purchases, and orders of online goods.
- Family members or acquaintances abruptly appear to claim rights to a person’s property, including money or other assets.
- Substandard care or bills are going unpaid despite funds being available.
- Inclusion of additional names on a person’s bank card.
Sometimes, elders report incidents, such as missing cash or valuables. However, they may not always realize financial abuse is occurring. Sometimes, they are coerced into giving funds, property, or control of assets to caretakers or other third-parties. Abusers may persuade the victim that they have their best interest in mind, making the victim believe nothing untoward is occurring.
For a free legal consultation with a City Missing Money or Personal Items Lawyer serving Kansas, call (800) 794-0444
Effects of Financial Abuse
In addition to the financial toll, this type of abuse can cause, victims may experience a range of effects. These can include:
- Loss of trust
- Loss of security
- Feelings of guilt, remorse, fear, shame, and anger
- Financial insecurity or poverty and inability to replace assets through employment
- Inability to provide for oneself in the long-term
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What to Do if You Suspect Financial Abuse
If you suspect any type of abuse or misconduct, it is essential to take action. If your loved one is missing money or personal items and you believe a caretaker or other third-party may be responsible, alert the facility management right away.
If you do not feel your complaint is being taken seriously, contact Adult Protective Services or law enforcement. Financial exploitation and other forms of elder abuse are criminal acts. It is also likely that your loved one is not the only victim of the abuser. Alerting the appropriate parties to this criminal behavior can safeguard would-be future victims and help those who have already been affected.
Even if the abuser is another third party and not a member of the nursing home staff, the care facility has a responsibility to look after their residents. It should cooperate with bringing perpetrators to justice.
Your loved one could also file a personal injury lawsuit. Missouri gives victims five years to file, according to the Revised Statutes of Missouri (RSMo) §516.120. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to learn more about how a Kansas City missing money or personal items lawyer can help you meet the statute of limitations.
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Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm for Legal Support
Besides notifying management and the authorities, you may wish to consult with a Kansas City missing money or personal items lawyer. The team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can investigate the situation and determine what happened.
If so, they can assist you in pursuing just compensation for your loved one’s losses and making the abuser answer for their crime. Call (800) 842-6336 to speak with a staff member to schedule a consultation to determine if your case qualifies.