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Elder Abuse: Signs of Financial Exploitation

Caring for an elderly loved one in Florida is often challenging, especially if she requires special assistance or medical care. A nursing home or senior care facility may meet her needs better than an in-home nurse. However, depending on the facility, it may also make her a target for exploitation.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, financial exploitation of elderly adults occurs when a person obtains the use of a vulnerable person’s assets, funds, or property and deprives the owner of its use, possession, or benefits.

Examples of elder exploitation

Elderly Florida residents often deal with diminished capacity. If an employee of the nursing home or other person in a position of trust took advantage of her financially, she might feel embarrassed. This can make it a challenge when trying to prevent it from happening again. Examples of financial exploitation include the following:

  • Pilfering of personal assets or using funds meant for your loved one’s benefit
  • Breach of a fiduciary relationship, such as the misuse of a power of attorney
  • Misuse, misappropriation, or transfer of funds in an account belonging to a vulnerable adult
  • Failing to use the assets or income of a vulnerable adult for that person’s necessary maintenance and support

State legislation establishes two separate crimes for exploitation. The specific statute the crime falls under may depend on her capacity and the identity and position of the perpetrator.

Signs of financial elder exploitation

This type of abuse often corresponds with isolation, such as a caregiver who tries to isolate your loved one from the rest of her family and friends. Warning signs may include large cash withdrawals or transfers between bank accounts. If possible, look at any canceled checks the perpetrator cashed and compare the signature with the one you know belongs to your loved one. Exploitation may also result in changes to a deed or title.

Do you have a loved one with dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other issues that affect their mental capacity? If she experienced financial exploitation, you might have grounds for a claim against the nursing home or senior facility.