Improper care of nursing home residents can take many forms. Sometimes, it looks like a messy facility or a lack of adequate staff. Other times, nursing home abuse can look like inappropriate financial pressure placed on residents by staff.
While many family members who have loved ones in nursing homes will likely be on the lookout for warning signs of significant neglect or ongoing abuse, they may not stop to think about the potential for financial abuse.
The financial abuse of elders is surprisingly common at nursing home facilities and among those who provide residential care for the aging. There will always likely be some people who are happy to take advantage of others for their own financial gain. That may include nursing home workers who have access to your loved one.
Financial abuse can take many different forms
Like elder abuse, financial abuse comes in many varieties. One of the most common involves threatening or coercing the people who depend on someone to compensate them for the work beyond their pay with checks or gifts. Older adults may not feel like they can reasonably refuse those requests without compromising the quality of care they receive or even endangering themselves.
Financial abuse can also look like a combination of theft and gaslighting. Staff may intentionally steal items that they know have value or that they want for themselves and then deny doing so or that the resident ever owned the items. They could even take checks or cash from a resident's wallet. Don't ever assume that your loved one is lying or exaggerating if they report theft of their possessions while in a nursing home facility.
Finally, financial abuse can look like manipulating someone slowly over time to induce them to change their last will or make a large financial gift to a caregiver. Most of the time, individuals who utilize this tactic pray on someone's sympathies by making their life story seem unfairly difficult.
Hold people accountable for financial mistreatment of older adults
Sometimes, family members discover financial abuse after placing a loved one in a nursing home. They must then demand that the staff take appropriate actions to remedy the situation or move their loved one to another facility. A lawsuit related to financial abuse can help resolve the issue and prevent it from happening to others.
In some cases, you won't realize that your loved ones suffered weeks or months of financial abuse and manipulation until they pass on and you read the last will. If your loved one adjusted their last will to include a nursing home worker or a caregiver who is not part of the family, chances are good that financial abuse or manipulation played a role in that change.
Talking to an attorney can help you figure out what options you have for pushing back against unscrupulous behavior by those whom you entrusted with the care of your loved one.