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Theft is surprisingly common in nursing homes

Nursing homes are supposed to provide a safe, secure place for residents to live when they need assistance. As you may expect, these residents are dependent on the staff and therefore very vulnerable. Not only do they have physical ailments, but mental issues -- like memory problems -- can make it hard for them to even realize what's happening around them.

In some cases, workers in nursing homes try to take advantage of this situation for their own gain. This can lead to all types of abuse. One study, done by the American Society on Aging, found that theft was surprisingly common.

The report that the ASA put out was called "Heartbreak of Theft in Nursing Homes." It claimed that a full 25.4 percent of workers said they thought their co-workers were stealing or had actively seen them do it.

Some workers even admitted that they'd robbed patients themselves. Naturally, though, these admissions were reported as a "small minority," indicating that people may be more likely to lie to avoid implicating themselves, whereas they would still report on their co-workers.

When family members of the residents were asked if they though employees had robbed their loved ones, about 20 percent said they believed it had happened.

To show how this theft took place, the ASA report even gave specific examples, such as claiming that workers would steal wedding rings from residents while they slept by putting lotion or Vaseline on their fingers.

Theft is a very serious and criminal type of abuse. As noted, residents may not even know what has happened, perhaps assuming they lost items that were actually stolen. That's why it's so important for family members to look for signs of any kind of abuse and to know what legal options they have when they suspect an elderly resident is being wronged.

Source: American Society on Aging, "Targets for Theft - Alzheimer's Nursing Home Residents," Stanton O. Berg, accessed Jan. 13, 2017

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