Financial Abuse: The Non-Physical Abuse of Seniors
Our elderly loved ones are often left in our care and for some, it can become too much with the bustle of everyday life, children, tasks, and more. As such, many children often make the decision to look for a care facility for their loved one.
We trust these elderly care facilities to provide our loved ones with the respect they deserve and ensure their health is properly cared for at all times. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen and there are a number of ways these nursing home facilities—and other caregivers—breach this trust.
There’s a long history of nursing home abuse occurring, many instances of which involve physical abuse to the seniors. However, there’s another form of elderly abuse that does exist and can have long-lasting impacts on the individual affected and his or her family.
One of the biggest problems with nursing home facilities and caregivers: financial abuse.
What Is Financial Elder Abuse?
Financial elder abuse is the non-physical form of elderly abuse that doesn’t get discussed often. It’s something that occurs with a large number of individuals and doesn’t get reported simply because people don’t know that they’re victims, or what to look for as a family member of someone affected.
Financial abuse of the elderly occurs when the wrongdoer directly steals from the resident or the person receiving care. This can include taking cash from their possession, accessing credit or bank cards, or even convincing the elderly to sign away funds to them without correct knowledge of what’s happening.
Unfortunately, this puts the elderly individual in a difficult position of which they may be completely unaware. The elderly individual may end up losing a large amount of money. This makes it important for those in nursing home facilities, in-home care, and family members to recognize who is at risk, who could be an abuser, and what signs may exist of financial elder abuse.
Who Is Most Commonly an Abuser?
The abuser in a financial elder abuse matter is often dependent on the situation and the living quarters of the elderly. For instance, if the elderly individual is a resident of a nursing home, there can be multiple people with whom they come into contact. This can include nurses, staff members, visiting doctors, other residents, and families.
These are trusted individuals who could break that trust and steal from the elderly individual. Even in situations where your loved one is isolated at home. Friends, family, and in-home caregivers can be the ones who are the abusers.
Who Is At Risk?
Typically, the most at risk elderly individuals include the following:
- Those who live alone and require in-home care with not much family
- Those who live in nursing homes
- Those with need for assistance in daily tasks (such as shopping)
- Those with declining physical and/or mental health
A 2011 study showed that women are more likely to be victims of financial elder abuse than men and that this exploitation most commonly occurs with those aged 80 to 89.
Common Signs to Look For
As the family member of an elderly individual in someone else’s care, it’s important for you to recognize what potential signs exist that could signify the presence of financial elder abuse. Here are some of the most common signs that you should look out for and what to do if you recognize any of them.
- Checks are canceled and end up at the abuser’s home or they have access to bank statements
- A change in spending patterns, including larger withdrawals, transfers, or purchases that can’t be explained
- Notices of other bills or late payments because the money is spent on other items by the abuser
- The potential abuser is closer to your elderly loved one than other residents or others in his or her care
- There are withdrawals that your loved one could not have made on their own
- Your elderly loved one signs over rights to a caregiver—such as powers of attorney
- Your elderly loved one is missing property or cash that you provided
If your loved one has been a victim of financial elder abuse by a nursing home or caregiver, it’s important to report the incident as quickly as possible. You should also seek legal representation to help build a case against the abuser to seek compensation for the losses experienced.
Trusted Financial Elder Abuse Attorneys In Baltimore
When it comes to financial elder abuse, only 1 in every 44 cases is ever reported to the proper authorities. When you entrust someone else with the care of your loved one, you should not have to worry about them getting taken advantage of due to their physical and mental state.
If your loved one was a victim of financial elder abuse, our team at Brown & Barron is here to help. We believe in helping those affected seek the compensation they deserve for the losses they have experienced as a result of the abuse.
Our Baltimore financial elder abuse lawyers work hard to help you and your family take action. We understand the different complexities that can arise in these types of cases and we aim to stand by your side at all times. Trust that our firm goes the extra mile to see to it that your family feels confidence throughout the entire case, knowing that you can obtain justice.
Call our firm at (410) 698-1717 today if you believe your elderly loved one has been the victim of financial elder abuse and needs help seeking compensation. We’re ready to fight for you.