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Types of Financial Abuse in Nursing Homes

When most people think of nursing home abuse, their first thoughts turn toward violent acts or neglect. Many people do not even realize nursing home staff sometimes exploit senior citizens financially. Elderly citizens in nursing homes reportedly lose approximately $2.9 billion annually from exploitation. 

Nursing home residents may not be of sound mind. This makes them prime targets for unscrupulous staff members who see an opportunity to pocket some extra money. It is critical if you have a loved one at a nursing home you remain aware of the signs of abuse. While a majority of nursing homes are perfectly reputable, it never hurts to maintain a vigilant eye. 

Examples of financial abuse

There are numerous ways financial exploitation can take place. Some are obvious, such as a staff member forging a resident's signature onto a check. Some individuals resort to using digital technology to scam senior citizens online. There have even been cases of nursing home staff members stealing objects from a resident's room. This is why it is so vital to keep an eye on a loved one's financial statements. If there are any misgivings about a certain purchase, then you should not hesitate to bring it to the attention of your loved one. 

Signs financial exploitation occurred

Your loved one may not come to you to complain of abuse because he or she may not be aware it has taken place. Keep an eye on financial statements for checks simply made out to "Cash." You should also raise concern if your loved one has purchased any gifts for a staff member. You also need to watch out for any unpaid bills. It is not unheard of for staff members to steal checks. The resident, not remembering the first check, makes out another one to actually pay for a bill. Before placing a loved one in a nursing home, it may be best to put someone else in charge of the person's finances. Having someone else monitor a senior's bank accounts helps prevent financial abuse in the first place.