Nursing home abuse comes in many forms. Some kinds of physical abuse are obvious, and some kinds of neglect may be easier for a facility to hide from family members when they visit to check in on loved ones.
Many people focus so much on the risk of physical abuse that they overlook the risks of financial abuse. People working in nursing homes often don’t make competitive wages and may try to leverage their position as a caregiver for personal gain.
If you suspect any of the three behaviors below, you may need to act quickly to protect your loved one from insidious financial abuse by those who should take care of them.
Trying to use pity for personal gain
The people working in the nursing home with your loved one are in a position to manipulate and take advantage of vulnerable older adults. They might exaggerate their personal history or omit all the details of the story that make their personal situation their own fault.
By making the people in their care feel sorry for them, these manipulative individuals may then try to elicit financial support. They might even try to insinuate themselves into a person’s estate plan, thus depriving their family members of inheritance and irrevocably altering the legacy of the older adults involved.
Stealing from the people in their care
Not everyone engaged in financial abuse will be subtle and slow about it. Plenty of them will just steal from those living in the nursing home. If jewelry or other valuable items come up missing, that could be a warning sign of financial abuse by caregivers.
The same could be true of checks written to people working at the nursing home, which could be forged, or questionable charges on credit and debit cards. Staff members might write checks to themselves or take a credit or debit card without permission and then return it after using it for personal reasons.
Using their position to extort money from those in their care
Some nursing home employees will try to leverage their position for financial gain. They may operate an extortion racket not dissimilar to what the mafia notoriously does in cities. They essentially sell their “protective services” to the people who already pay to be in the nursing home. They might even demand gratuities or tips in order to come quickly when a nursing home resident needs something, like a trip to the bathroom.
Uncovering signs of financial abuse will likely mean that you need to advocate for your loved one in that nursing home. Identifying the warning signs of financial manipulation and abuse can help you fight back against the mistreatment of your loved one in a nursing home.