When most people think of elder abuse, they initially think of physical abuse. While this certainly happens in plenty of nursing homes around the country, there is another form of fraud you need to look out for: financial. In Florida, police charged an elderly woman’s caretaker for making unauthorized charges to her account upwards of $60,000.
When you move a loved one into a nursing home, watch out for any signs of abuse, including financial abuse. Employees at nursing homes may take advantage of their positions to spend money that is not theirs. Here are the most common signs to watch for.
Money missing from bank accounts
After your parents are over a certain age, it is beneficial for you to keep an eye on their assets. Ideally, you can acquire financial power of attorney if the court finds your parent is not in the right state of mind to make critical financial decisions. In the event you do not have that power, remain vigilant and inquire whenever your parent makes a large purchase.
Sudden changes in the loved one’s mood
Take note if a parent starts acting drastically different from before. This could be a sign of either physical or financial abuse. Nursing home residents may be aware a staff member has taken advantage of them, but they feel cannot come forward. This often manifests itself in depression, anger or anxiety.
Personal items missing
Before moving a senior into a nursing home, take stock of everything he or she owns. When you notice something missing, such as a piece of jewelry, ask questions. Employees may not have access to a credit card or checkbook, but they may steal personal items to sell. Any of these are reason enough to investigate further.