New Mexico Nursing Home Financial Abuse Lawyers
Nursing Home Financial Abuse
Nursing home abuse can occur in several different ways, including financial exploitation. This can be defined as illegally or improperly using a resident’s funds, assets, or property. Elderly nursing home residents with dementia may be particularly vulnerable to financial abuse and may not be aware that it is occurring. If you suspect your loved one has been a victim of financial abuse in a nursing home, the matter should be investigated as soon as possible.
How Does Financial Abuse Occur in Nursing Homes?
Estimates of financial abuse and fraud costs to older people in the U.S. range from $2.9 billion to $36.5 billion annually, as reported by the National Council on Aging (NCOA). Financial abuse in nursing homes can occur in many different ways, including:
- Stealing or misusing a resident’s money or possessions
- Taking a resident’s credit or debit card for personal use
- Cashing a resident’s checks without authorization
- Forging a resident’s signature on a document or check
- Coercing or deceiving a resident to sign a document, such as a contract or will
- Tricking a resident into signing over power of attorney
- Improperly using of power of attorney from an elderly resident
- Charging a resident for goods or services not rendered
- Charging a resident for brand name medications while providing generic medications
- Charging for medical devices that were needed but never delivered
- Depriving a resident of rightful access to information about or use of personal belongings, benefits, resources, or assets.
Who Commits Financial Abuse in Nursing Homes?
Elderly residents in nursing homes can become victims of financial abuse committed by anyone who has contact with or control over them. This type of abuse typically occurs at the hands of individuals who have close contact with the resident, rather than strangers. It may be committed by facility caregivers, family members, close friends, or other residents of the nursing home.
What Are the Signs of Nursing Home Financial Abuse?
Financial abuse in nursing homes may occur with or without any warning signs. Stay alert to any suspicious changes to help protect your elderly loved one. Signs of nursing home financial abuse may include:
- Living conditions below your loved one’s resources
- Sudden and unexplained checks or withdrawals
- Disappearance of personal items
- Abrupt changes in the resident’s will or related documents
- Frequent checks to a particular caregiver or financial professional
- Additional signatories on the elder’s bank accounts
- Sudden changes in funds or banking
- Unexpected withdrawals by an individual other than your loved one
- Unexplained transfer of assets or money to another person
- Forging the elder’s signature on titles or financial transactions
How Can You Help Prevent Nursing Home Financial Abuse?
If your elderly loved one resides in a nursing home, you can take certain steps to help prevent financial abuse. Use direct deposit for checks and automatic bill pay. Ask banks and financial institutions to be alert to suspicious activity. Reduce isolation for your loved one and be wary of caregivers who attempt to isolate a resident.
What Should You Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Financial Abuse?
If you suspect your loved one has been a victim of financial abuse in a nursing home, speak with an experienced New Mexico nursing home abuse lawyer right away. Your suspicions should be investigated as soon as possible to help preserve evidence and protect your loved one.
If you are convinced that financial abuse has occurred, report the matter to the New Mexico Health Facility Complaints hotline at (800) 752-8649. You should also file a police report.
Call Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP at (903) 290-1774. We are tough advocates for victims of nursing home abuse.