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Many families can’t help but worry when their loved ones live in nursing homes. It seems like there’s constantly a story in the news about residents being abused or neglected in care facilities, in Ohio and throughout the country. Because of those stories, residents’ family members are often on high alert for bruises, dehydration, depression, and sudden illness in their loved ones.
But there’s another type of abuse that often goes undetected for years and may not be discovered until residents die. It’s called financial abuse, and it involves nursing home staff members preying on the people they’re supposed to care for. It can range from petty thefts to scams and frauds that wipe out a lifetime of savings.
In this blog, we’ll explore the different types of financial abuse and how they occur.
One of the most common types of financial abuse involves stealing cash, checks, credit cards, and valuables (such as jewelry) from residents. Residents may not have access to safes and other secure storage places for their money and valuables, and that can put them at risk of having them stolen by housekeepers, healthcare workers, and other staff members who enter their rooms or residences.
Regardless of how often they receive visitors, it’s common for nursing home residents to experience loneliness from time to time. Because of that, they may become attached to certain staff members. Unfortunately, it’s not unheard of for staff members to take advantage of these relationships by asking for financial assistance for real or made-up problems they’re facing.
In some cases, residents end up giving away large sums of money or property to staff members without realizing it. Staff members may get residents who have difficulty reading fine print or who may lack the cognitive ability to understand what they’re being presented with to sign documents that transfer money or ownership of property over to the people who are supposed to be caring for them, especially when they’re presented as documents concerning their healthcare or living arrangements.
Under the threat of violence or abandonment, some residents end up giving staff members their cash, checks, credit cards, valuables, and property. This form of financial abuse is common when residents are in poor health or isolated from family members. They may feel like they have no choice but to comply, especially if they’ve already been subject to physical or emotional abuse by their caretakers.
Unscrupulous staff members may manipulate residents into cutting people out of their wills or rewriting them entirely for their own gain. For example, they may lie to residents about their family members’ concerns and feelings for them, or they may mislead them about how estate laws work to get access to their money and property after they pass away.
Many nursing home residents have decades of credit history and upstanding reputations in their communities. Staff members may use their years of hard work against them by taking out credit cards or loans in their name or having them co-sign on leases and vehicle purchases. In some cases, their identities are outright stolen and used by other people or sold on the black market.
Although many cases of financial abuse involve dishonest and greedy staff members, some of these acts are committed by family members. And because families may visit their loved ones in their nursing homes at different times, it can be easy for certain relatives to steal, coerce, or defraud their loved ones for months or years without ever being caught.
Nursing home residents often want nothing more than to ensure their lives are comfortable; their health, dignity, and wishes are respected; and their rights to be free from abuse upheld. But when they’re victims of abuse, whether financial abuse, verbal abuse, or physical abuse, their rights have been violated and they deserve compensation for what they suffered or lost.
At Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy, our Ohio nursing home abuse lawyers know how devastating financial abuse and other forms of abuse can be when they happen to innocent residents and their families. It’s important to get in touch with a qualified law firm if you believe your loved one is being financially abused in their nursing home.
If your loved one was the victim of physical or sexual abuse or neglect while in their care facility, contact us today for a free consultation. Our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys know the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect, and how to hold the at-fault people responsible so you can protect your loved ones and get compensation for all the ways your family was harmed as a result.
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