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How to prevent financial abuse of elders in nursing homes

Nursing home maltreatment comes in many forms, like violence and neglect. That said, abuse doesn’t have to be physical to damage someone, i.e., financial abuse. According to NAPSA (National Adult Protective Services Association), only one out of 44 financial abuse incidents are reported. 

Examples of elder financial abuse include Internet/telemarketing scams, identity theft and unauthorized use of debit or credit cards. Here are four ways to protect a loved one from financial exploitation:

1. Scrutinize potential care homes

When locating a place for your parent, friend or spouse, read what current and former patrons had to say about them online. If there are more negative reviews than positive reviews, that’s a red flag. 

2. Look for signs of identity theft

Common signs of identity theft in nursing homes include sudden new bank accounts opened under your loved one’s name and unauthorized withdrawals of large monetary amounts from their checking or saving accounts. You can decrease the chances of identity theft by securing or shredding documents containing private information.

3. Keep an eye out for stolen possessions

When you visit your loved one, scan their room to ensure all their personal belongings are in place. Some nurses stealthily steal patients’ possessions to keep for themselves or sell to someone else. 

4. Watch for any “friends” who get close to them

Many nursing residents befriend their caregivers. While some of these friendships are genuine, others aren’t, unfortunately. Some nurses take advantage of a resident’s kindness to gain their trust in order to steal from them later. 

Nursing homes can do their part in protecting patients from financial exploitation by training staff members to take preventive measures and respond accordingly should it occur. If you suspect a loved one or a patient is a victim of financial abuse, reach out for legal help.