Financial abuse of the elderly is a possibility. It occurs when somebody illegally or improperly uses a person’s money, assets, or property. The elderly get targeted and the use of their money usually goes unchecked by them. You expect that their monetary possessions will have respectful treatment. But, nursing home staff and loved ones have financially abused elderly individuals. This is a particularly sad situation. Some residents may not notice it is occurring or may not be able to mentally grasp it if they are ill. Also, if you think your loved one faces financial abuse, speak up. Get the situation investigated to protect your loved one.
There are various common types of financial abuse. For example, the most common examples include:
- Cashing checks without authorization or permission.
- Forged signatures.
- The misuse or stealing of money or possessions.
- Coercing someone into signing a document.
- Stolen identity.
- Insurance fraud.
- Investment fraud.
- Medical fraud.
These situations often involve individuals that the elderly person trusts. This is one of the reasons it may go undetected.
Also, if you suspect your loved one faces financially abused, watch out for these warning signs:
- Significant withdrawals from your account which you did not make.
- Changes in your financial condition or stability.
- Money or items missing from where they go for safekeeping.
- Changes in your will or power of the attorney.
- The addition of your loved ones name to a signature card.
- Unpaid bills.
- Phony account activity.
- Unnecessary services.
- Unfamiliar subscriptions and goods.
In more serious financial abuse cases, health insurance fraud may appear. This can affect the financial security of the elderly person. In addition, common examples of healthcare fraud include:
- Charging for healthcare but not providing it.
- Overcharging for services.
- Double billing for services.
- Kickbacks for referrals or prescribing specific drugs.
- Overmedicating, under medicating.
- The recommendation of fake remedies for health conditions and medical fraud.
Insurance fraud is a serious crime and should be treated as such. If you suspect insurance fraud of yourself or your loved one, watch out for the warning signs. They include but are not limited to:
- Duplicate billings for the same medical insurance.
- Evidence of incorrect medication.
- Evidence of inadequate care.
- Problems with care facility.
There are various reasons why the elderly are targeted for insurance fraud. Conmen often look for older individuals to scam. The elderly are known to have good credit, they were raised to be polite and trusting. They are often afraid to report the scam or they are unaware it is happening. Some elderly people do not know who to report the scam to. They may think that their relatives will believe that they are unable to take care of themselves. The elderly often make poor witnesses. They are usually unable to produce enough information to prove their case.
Avoiding Financial Abuse
There are several ways to try to avoid financial abuse in nursing homes. These are helpful when choosing a nursing home or choosing to move into a different nursing home. Be sure to check reviews of nursing homes and facilities before committing to a home. You should also use automatic bill paying methods to avoid anybody handling your loved one’s money. Communicate with banks to have them check for suspicious activities. Also, be wary of those who try to isolate an elderly person when trying to care for them.
It is important for the elderly to be careful with their money and assets. Unfortunately, it is far too common that they are financially scammed or abused. The abuse can come from anybody, including family, friends, strangers and nursing home staff. If you suspect that you or your loved one is being financially abused, it is important to put an immediate stop to it. So, making sure an investigation takes place is the first step in getting help.