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Watch for theft in assisted living facilities

Because of infirmities caused by age, many seniors cannot live on their own. Some may relocate to an assisted living facility. Ideally, an ALF provides elderly persons with care and support in their remaining years. Unfortunately, some seniors suffer abuse in ALFs, such as the theft of their belongings.

A senior in an ALF may need assistance to get around. Due to this lack of mobility, a senior cannot easily secure personal possessions. Additionally, caregivers have access to residents’ rooms. This makes it possible for a malicious employee to sneak into a resident’s room and steal money or other valuables.

Theft in Tampa

A recent report from CBS TampaBay illustrates how theft in an ALF may occur. In this case, a cleaning lady employed at a Tampa ALF had admitted to going into residents’ rooms and stealing $100,000 in jewelry. The individual then pawned much of the stolen goods. Law enforcement received word of trouble at the facility when a resident spoke up about missing personal items and named the cleaning lady as a suspect. This led to the arrest of the perpetrator.

Recognizing signs of theft

As the National Institute on Aging points out, many instances of theft from seniors may go unnoticed. Some seniors do not know it is occurring while others may feel too ashamed or scared to come forward about the theft. Also, there are seniors who suffer from dementia, allowing malicious parties to easily take advantage of them.

It is important to stop abuse of a senior as soon as possible. Families who have seniors in ALFs can check their rooms to see that their valuables are in place and to look for emotional signs of trouble in their elderly relatives. Victimized ALF residents may emotionally withdraw or display mood swings, or may fail to groom themselves, or lose weight for no apparent reason. If an ALF resident experiences theft or other kinds of abuse, the family may consider legal action.

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