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Safeguarding older parents from financial exploitation in nursing homes

On Behalf of | Apr 20, 2024 | Guardianship & Conservatorship |

As your parents age, the possibility of needing nursing home care can arise. While nursing homes provide essential support and services, a sad reality too often occurs in these facilities — financial exploitation of residents.

This can be a devastating blow to a  senior’s financial security and well-being. But fear not; knowledge is power. Understanding the signs and taking preventative measures can you’re your to safeguard your aging parents’ well-being.

What is financial exploitation?

Financial exploitation in nursing homes occurs when someone misuses or steals a resident’s money or assets for personal gain. This can take many forms, from stealing cash and valuables to pressuring residents to change their wills or make unauthorized withdrawals. Perpetrators can be staff members, caregivers or even distant relatives who take advantage of a senior’s vulnerability or diminished mental capacity.

Warning signs to watch out for

Financial exploitation can be subtle, but there are red flags to be aware of. Unexplained changes in bank statements, missing checks or large, frequent withdrawals are all causes for concern. Additionally, if your parent’s will or power of attorney is suddenly altered, especially benefiting someone new, investigate immediately.

Moreover, you’ll want to be wary of extravagant or unnecessary purchases, especially if your parent seems confused about them. Furthermore, a decline in the quality of care, despite your parent having sufficient funds, could be a sign of financial exploitation. If caregivers restrict your access to your parent or discourage communication, it may also be to conceal abuse.

Protecting your parents: Proactive measures

The good news is you can take steps to help prevent financial exploitation. For starters, it’s crucial to maintain regular contact with your parents and discuss their finances openly. You should also regularly review your parents’ bank statements and inquire about any unfamiliar transactions. It would also help to choose a trusted family member or friend as a power of attorney who will act in your parent’s best interests.

Don’t forget to keep valuables like jewelry in a safe deposit box and avoid large sums of cash on hand. Also, choose a nursing home with a strong reputation for resident safety and financial management practices.

Financial exploitation is a serious issue, but by being informed and vigilant, you can more effectively safeguard your aging parents’ interests. Remember, early detection is key. By keeping a watchful eye and taking preventative legal steps, you can help to ensure that your loved ones receive the care they deserve while their financial security remains intact.