Elder abuse in Ohio, or anywhere else for that matter, isn’t limited to physical and emotional harm. Elder financial abuse is another form of elder abuse that takes place all too often, and it could be happening in your family member’s nursing home. A National Institute of Health survey revealed that five percent of older people reported they were being taken advantage of financially by a caregiver or nursing home staff member.
A lot of older people, including your loved ones, may be unaware that they are victims of elder abuse in an Ohio nursing home. Dyer, Garofalo, Mann & Schultz want to protect your parents or other loved ones from suffering financial abuse. Takes these tips into consideration if you suspect financial abuse is taking place in the Ohio nursing home of your family member.
What is Elder Financial Abuse and How Does it Become Elder Abuse?
The United States Centers for Disease Control defines “elder financial abuse” as “the illegal, unauthorized, or improper use of an older individual’s resources by a caregiver or other person in a trusting relationship, for the benefit of someone other than the older individual.” This usage of an older person’s resources is being used for personal gain rather than trying to afford the best possible care for the older individual. As a result, an older person is being deceived and denied valuable personal benefits, resources, belongings, or assets.
Elder financial abuse becomes elder abuse when a senior’s personal resources are being used unlawfully, without his or her knowledge. The National Center on Elder Abuse reports that 41 out of every 1,000 elders report financial abuse, a rate higher than for emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. As many as five million elderly people are exploited financially in the U.S. each year, costing them three billion dollars annually.
Elder financial abuse is all too common, and the most staggering part is that family members are often the ones who are most guilty of committing this type of elder abuse. There are many forms and signs of financial abuse that you can detect if your suspect a caregiver or staff member is using your loved one’s resources for personal gain.
Forms of Financial Abuse
There are many forms of elder financial abuse–some more subtle than others–that take place involving Ohio nursing home residents and other elderly persons.
One common type of elder financial abuse is petty theft, where someone steals money from a wallet, purse, or otherwise accessible area holding money. Someone could steal a debit or credit card from a nursing home resident and use it for personal gain. You can recognize potential financial abuse if there are unexplained or sudden withdrawals and transfers from accounts.
Regularly review your loved one’s statements with them to check for discrepancies. In this process, you might also discover petty theft because your loved one may not be able to access or control their own finances. If your loved one’s mailed, paper statements are missing or have unusual charges, then it may be necessary for you to confront caregivers in their life.
Changes to Wills & Contracts
In other cases, a nursing home resident could be coerced to sign over power of attorney or other contracts, sales papers, or changes to their will. This means your parent or elderly loved one may be pressured into signing over assets. Look out for any fraudulent signatures on documents or bills of purchase. If your loved one is struggling to make financial, legal, or medical decisions on their own, contact a reputable lawyer to speak with them about getting a power of attorney they can trust.
Elder financial abuse involves taking advantage of their vulnerability or diminishing mental capacity. But like other forms of abuse, elder abuse often involves threats. So, be aware of changes in your loved one’s behavior. Fearfulness and sudden decisions concerning money may be the result of coercion or threats. Family members and caregivers may threaten an elderly that they’ll withhold needed care unless they receive a sum of money.
Poor Living Conditions
Elder abuse can present itself in the living conditions that your loved one is subjected to. If you notice their room, meals, activities, or other aspects are below what was agreed to in the nursing home contract, you should suspect financial abuse. Your loved one is paying for care that they aren’t getting, which may be occurring on the corporate level—the nursing home is swindling its residents.
Another way to suspect elder financial abuse is if your loved one is being given cheap medication. If the brand-name medication is what they are charged for, yet they receive generic medication, that’s financial abuse.
Your loved one may also not be receiving sufficient medical or mobility devices despite having paid for those devices. This also applies to equipment like CPAP machines for sleep apnea and other health devices.
If you notice or even suspect any of these forms of elder financial abuse are happening to your loved one in a nursing home, you should alert the nursing home supervisor or Ohio authorities. Ohio has adult protective service agencies and a long-term care ombudsman who you can help you file an elder abuse report.
It is also important to note that, as of September 2018, certified public accountants, bank employees, and financial planners are designated mandatory reporters of elder abuse in Ohio. So, if they notice suspicious activity or you bring instances up with a loved one’s financial service agents, they are required to help you and to report abuse.
Contacting a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you believe your loved one residing in an Ohio nursing home is a target of elder financial abuse or any other type of elder abuse, Dyer, Garofalo, Mann & Schultz can help you put a stop to it. Dyer, Garofalo, Mann & Schultz have been helping victims of financial abuse in Ohio for decades and can do the same for your loved one.
Your legal team will help you gather the best evidence to support your financial abuse claim against the Ohio nursing home in question, including financial records, testimony, and more. Your claim will help your loved recover from elder abuse by claiming damages for their suffering.
If you are in Ohio and want to make an elder abuse claim on behalf of your parent or family member, call right away for your free consultation.
What are the 4 Signs of Elder Financial Abuse?
Petty Theft, Changes to Wills, Threats, and Poor Living Conditions
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Prior to forming Dyer, Garofalo, Mann & Schultz, Doug worked as a bodily injury claims adjuster for a large insurance company. This unique experience has been a tremendous asset to Doug in his fight to achieve maximum cash settlements for his clients in minimum time. Since departing from the insurance company, Doug has dedicated his entire legal career to helping injured clients when they need it the most.