Your loved one in a nursing home is vulnerable to theft and financial abuse. Elderly residents, especially those with impaired cognitive abilities or illnesses such as dementia can become targets for financial predators and thieves in nursing homes. Nursing home residents can be particularly at risk if they have large amounts of cash and items of value in the home. Valuables, cash, and checkbooks can simply “disappear” and it may be difficult to prove what happened to them. Sometimes, the abuser may convince elderly and helpless nursing home residents to gift them sums of money or even have them change their wills.Financial abuse of nursing home residents may be hard to prove and explain once it has taken its course. This is why it is important to investigate any discrepancies as soon as possible. If your loved one is suddenly missing valuables or cash, bills remain unpaid, or larger sums disappeared from bank accounts, you may wish to report it to the nursing home, contact your local law enforcement, and perhaps speak to a Forest View missing money or personal items lawyer to consider your options.Financial abuse is a crime and you may be able to hold the nursing home liable. We can help you decide your next steps and whether you may wish to file a lawsuit to recover any losses. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for a complimentary assessment of your case.
Types of Financial Abuse in Nursing HomesFinancial exploitation is the fastest growing form of elder abuse. Federal laws such as the Elder Justice Act, passed in 2010, protect nursing home residents from abuse, and neglect and exploitation, including financial exploitation. A nursing home also has to show appropriate record-keeping regarding a resident’s belongings and financials.Financial abuse and exploitation can come in many forms, including:
Theft can include taking the resident’s personal items and valuables, any cash, checkbooks, and credit cards.
A person can take advantage of a senior by convincing or threatening them to make monetary gifts or bank transfers.
Abuse of Guardianship/Power of Attorney
Someone who has power of attorney or legal guardianship of an elderly person can easily abuse this to their own financial advantage and may even convince an elderly person to change wills.
Charging for Services Fraudulently
The resident may be fraudulently charged for services never rendered, for example for personal care, medical care, or physical therapy.
Patient Discharge for Unpaid Bills
Residents may face illegal eviction against their will by a nursing home citing unpaid bills.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of financial abuse occurring in nursing homes.
Nursing home residents can also suffer greatly from the theft of everyday items. Items of value, for example, jewelry and heirlooms, may hold significant sentimental value for the elderly and their families. It can be extremely distressing for a nursing home resident to lose a treasured family item.
Sometimes, stolen or lost personal items can significantly reduce the life quality of the resident, particularly when the stolen items are eyeglasses, hearing aids, or dentures. Losing dentures is not only inconvenient but can put a resident’s life at risk due to possible malnutrition.
Signs of Financial Abuse
Your loved one might not feel comfortable to tell you about the financial abuse, yet you may have a feeling that something is not quite right when it comes to the finances of your spouse or parent in the nursing home. There are some signs to look out for that could point to financial abuse happening to your loved one:
- Bank Account Discrepancies such as missing funds, unrecognized transactions and withdrawals
- Changes in Behavior such as sudden secrecy or depression
- Personal items are missing
- Cash, credit cards and/or checkbooks are missing
- Wills are changed
If you suspect financial exploitation in your loved one’s nursing home, it is best to act immediately and inform the nursing home administration of your discovery.
Nursing Home Responsibility
Nursing home residents have rights when it comes to the handling of their finances and a nursing home has certain responsibilities. The facility has to ensure that accurate records are kept for each resident, and that funds deposited with the facility are protected. Moreover, if a nursing home did not make reasonable efforts to protect a resident’s personal property, they may have to either replace the stolen or lost property, or pay compensation. Any persons who have contact with the nursing home resident can potentially commit financial abuse. Often, it is those closest to the elderly person who commits theft or financial abuse, for example, long-term careers. The nursing home may be responsible for any abuse that happens on their property and this includes financial abuse, whether perpetrated by members of staff, third-party vendors and contractors, or other residents in the home. This responsibility even extends to visitors to the home and guests of residents. You may be able to hold the perpetrator as well as the nursing home liable.
For a free legal consultation with a Missing Money or Personal Items Lawyer serving Forest View, call (800) 794-0444
A Forest View Missing Money or Personal Items Lawyer Can Help
Proving nursing home financial exploitation and liability can be a complex process. Establishing a case and collecting evidence can seem overwhelming with many parties involved.
Depending on the type of financial abuse, you may have to go through receipts and ledgers dating back years. Proving financial abuse can be particularly challenging in cases where a perpetrator convinced the elderly person to transfer sums or change wills.
You will most likely have to take on the nursing home administration as well as deal with financial institutions. Pintas & Mullins Law Firm is here to guide you through these complex issues and determine your legal options. Our Forest View missing money or personal items lawyers can also help collect evidence to prove your case. There are no upfront attorney’s fees for you as we work on contingency. Call us today and speak to our dedicated team.