Regardless of where your elderly loved one resides—be it in a nursing home or their own home—their financial safety is vital. Unfortunately, they may fall victim to various forms of financial abuse, which are often subtle, hard to detect and, yet, quite common.
Recognizing these signs, however, is not an insurmountable task. By knowing what to watch for, you can protect your loved ones from such abuses.
Unexpected bank transactions
Keep a watchful eye on your loved one’s bank account for any unusual activities. Unexplained withdrawals, transfers, or purchases are not just anomalies – they could indicate that someone entrusted with their care, like an in-home nurse, might have unauthorized access to their funds. Your loved one may be unaware of these transactions or could be misled about their nature, leading to a significant drain on their savings.
Forgery of signatures
Mismatched signatures on checks or other documents could be a sign of forgery. In this type of financial abuse, someone might illegally mimic your loved one’s signature to gain access to their assets. This impersonation is often attempted by someone close who has obtained their personal details and has the opportunity to exploit their trust.
Inadequate personal care
If your elderly loved one lacks basic necessities such as clothing and personal care items, despite having the means to afford them, this could suggest a misuse of their funds. Such misappropriation could leave them without essentials, potentially causing a decline in their health and overall quality of life.
Unpaid bills, despite sufficient funds, could indicate financial misuse. Your loved one might be unaware of this, especially if memory issues or other health problems make it difficult for them to manage their finances. If the caregiver knows about these difficulties but still neglects to pay the bills, they may be misusing the elder’s money for other things like their personal needs.
If you notice such occurrences, it is crucial to intervene promptly to protect your loved one’s financial security.
Preventing further loss
Above all, the well-being of your elderly loved one, including their financial well-being, is what matters most. To prevent further financial damage, consider consulting with an attorney. In Missouri, financial exploitation of the elderly is a crime. An attorney can help address potential losses and suggest a course of action against the nursing home and the staff involved.