Examples of financial elder abuse are easier to find than you would think. Do you know someone or have a loved one that is currently living in a long-term care facility? Approximately 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 60 have experienced some form of elder abuse; ranging as high as 5 million elders who are abused each year. These examples of financial elder abuse only include abuse that has been reported. It has been estimated that only 1 in 14 cases of abuse are reported to the authorities. We hear about elderly abuse in the news, and one in particular form of devastating abuse comes in the form of financial exploitation of the elderly who are under the care of nursing homes.
Nursing homes provide a very important service for the elderly, however it is our responsibility to assure that the tenants are protected from financial abuse.
70% of the wealth in the United States is owned by people who are 50 years of age or older. This population is often targeted for financial exploitation as they have been saving their dollars for their entire lives; especially, when it comes to the elderly who can no longer care for themselves and live in long term care facilities. This population is especially in danger of being exploited, and often, they aren’t in a condition to protect their own finances.
Why is the nursing home population the most exploited? There are several reasons. The victims of financial abuse are often unable or hesitant to tell anyone that they are being exploited or to seek help. In many cases, the victim’s health may preclude them from being aware of or even reporting the abuse. In other instances, the victim of financial abuse may be dependent on the perpetrator— often times family members or care givers. The elderly may fear retaliation, or simply be unaware that they are being taken advantage of.
Who Typically Exploits the Elderly?
Many examples of financial elder abuse include people that have lost their entire life savings to fraudulent activity. Who are the perpetrators? It may often come as a surprise, when those you trust the most can easily become your worst enemy. Family members are not the only ones who commit financial abuse. People who have access to the victims’ finances who often commit financial abuse are:
- Caregivers and physicians
- Investment brokers
- Bankers and accountants
Common examples of financial elder abuse include: theft, fraud, real estate exploitation, power of attorney fraud, lottery scams, telephone marketing scams, electronic fraud, and investment and insurance scams. Many examples of exploitation and scams may be found at the National Council on Aging website.
Examples of Financial Exploitation in a Nursing Home:
Some examples of financial exploitation of the elderly living in the care of a nursing home include the misuse an elder’s personal checks, credit cards, or accounts, theft of cash or income checks, forging an elder’s signature, and identity theft. These are forms of financial abuse that may affect anyone, especially those that are dependent on others.
One of the most dangerous types of exploitation comes from the transfer of the power of attorney. Often, but not always, committed by family members, the abuser may use a recent illness or disability to convince the elderly person to transfer their power of attorney to him or her. Once the person has power of attorney, they can do anything they want with the victim’s savings accounts, assets, and property. There have been situations where a caretaker in a nursing home has convinced a tenant to sign over their power of attorney to them reassuring them that it is necessary; resulting in complete financial devastation.
A nursing home abuse attorney may help turn things around for the victim of financial abuse. They can help revoke the power of attorney as well as demand that the assets and savings be returned. The courts may assist the victim in financial abuse cases.
What to Do If You Suspect Financial Exploitation of a Nursing Home Tenant in Central Florida:
It is important to report nursing home abuse immediately once it has been detected. It is important to remember that the majority cases of elder abuse go undetected. It is never safe to assume that someone has already reported a suspicious situation. Several resources exist that can assist immediately. Just to name a few resources:
- Senior Resource Alliance
- National Adult Protective Services
- U.S. Department of Justice Elder Justice Initiative
Getting Help When Nursing Home Abuse Occurs
The most important thing to remember when confronted with elderly abuse is to contact a nursing home abuse attorney as soon as possible. They may assist in assessing the situation and help you with filing a claim to repair financial damages and to protect the elderly from further wrongdoing. A nursing home abuse attorney at David & Philpot, P.L. may be able to help. We’ve been helping victims of nursing home abuse for over 20 years. Please contact one of our nursing home abuse attorneys today at 800.360.7015 for a free, no-obligation consultation. You pay nothing until we win your case.