Discussions of nursing home abuse often focus primarily on physical abuse, including the sexual abuse of vulnerable older adults. However, interpersonal abuse comes in many different forms. Emotional or psychological abuse is also a common issue at nursing home facilities with overworked professionals. Underpaid staff members may have an incentive to engage in financial abuse of nursing home residents as well.
The financial abuse of older adults is a common but often overlooked issue at many nursing home facilities. Families that understand the risk of elder financial abuse will be in a better position to protect a loved one from the misconduct of those who have been paid to take care of an older adult.
Accessing financial resources without permission
Nursing home staff members might write checks to pay their bills using a resident’s checkbook or take someone’s credit or debit card to make personal purchases without permission. If they provide personal shopping assistance for residents, they might buy personal items while ostensibly conducting a transaction for the benefit of a resident. Unless there is someone carefully reviewing an older adult’s monthly finances, such forms of abuse could easily go undetected.
Taking physical property
The theft of an individual’s assets is a common form of financial abuse. The workers at nursing homes might take jewelry and other personal property. Those with an addiction or a desire for a secondary stream of income might also steal medication from the residents in the nursing home where they work.
Coercion or undue influence
Sometimes financial abuse involves the direct manipulation of an older adult. Some nursing home workers might try to befriend residents, only to interfere in their relationship with their family members and the hopes of someone disinheriting their loved ones and leaving assets to the nursing homework. Other times, they are less subtle in their approach and will threaten someone, possibly by withholding care or medication, to convince them to either hand over resources or add them to their estate plan.
When families uncover the warning signs of financial abuse in a nursing home, they will need to speak up on behalf of their loved one who is being subjected to that mistreatment. Pursuing a nursing home abuse lawsuit is sometimes necessary when the people entrusted with an older adult’s care mistreat them and abuse their position of authority.