Caring for elderly members of the family can be hard. Finding the right living situation with the proper care for older people who need daily assistance can be a huge source of stress for loved ones who just want the best for their parents or grandparents.

Nursing homes in the US house around 1.4 million people and many of them are 95 years of age or older. People are living longer than ever, and it can be a real struggle to find the right living situation for your elderly loved one when local nursing homes are overburdened and busy. One of the most troubling factors related to picking the right nursing home for your loved one is the high rate of financial abuse in nursing homes across the US. New York City and Long Island seniors are living longer than ever.  With a life expectancy that is 2.5 years longer than the national average.

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If you are concerned that your loved one might be a victim of financial abuse perpetrated against them by the nursing home staff in Long Island or New York City, you should read on for more information.

Who Commits Nursing Home Abuse?

You might be wondering who is responsible for the financial abuse of your loved one at their nursing home. There are many people who could be harming your family member in this way. Friends who visit consistently can be the culprit, but more often, caregivers, financial professionals inside the nursing home, and even spiritual advisors who visit the nursing home are the people who are harming your family member.

It is a sad truth that many elderly people are victims of nursing home abuse because their family is too busy to come to visit them frequently. Predators always victimize nursing home residents who are clearly on their own without any direct help from their families.

Types of Financial Abuse in Nursing Homes

Elderly people are often no longer able to be attentive to putting all of their valuables into a safe or other locked area, and they might not even notice that money that was given to them is missing. More sophisticated attacks are perpetrated with their consent for causes and purposes that they are led to believe are necessary or charitable.

Theft From Their Room

The most common kind of nursing home abuse in Long Island and New York City is caused by staff members or caregivers taking cash that has been left sitting out on a table or in plain sight in another location. Due to the nature of many elderly people’s health, there are caregivers and other staff coming in and out of their rooms all the time.

This exposed living situation can lead to theft of readily available money or valuables that are sitting in plain sight in the room. This kind of theft can be hard to prove as well because there are so many people involved in the care of someone in a nursing home on a day-to-day basis.

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Theft of Checks or Credit Cards

If your loved one has access to a credit card or a checkbook, these are common avenues of financial theft. Elderly people do not often have the awareness to realize that a credit card has vanished from their wallet, or that their checkbook has gone missing until weeks later.

The other problem with credit card theft in a nursing home environment is that elderly people are not often aware of the charges to their card until they find out the card is maxed out. The bank may have been emailing or calling them, but it is common for older people to ignore these warnings or to be unavailable most of the day due to their health.

Tricks Related to Charity

Many elderly people are taken in by con artists who promise them that the money they are taking from them is for homeless children, the church, or even a friend who is in need. These kinds of scams are easy to use against someone in a nursing home because they probably do not know anyone who is involved in the situation, and they do not know how to fact-check the story they are being told.

Preying on the kindness of the elderly in nursing homes is a terrible, but all too common way that money is taken from them annually.

Identity Theft

Many seniors are not aware of just how easy it is to have their identity stolen. This is especially true when so many people have access to your living space and can take your driver’s license or other forms of ID as well as your credit cards and checkbook.

While not all these cases lead to the sale of the person’s identity to others, the thief can act like the person that they have taken ID from and make purchases, apply for loans, and do a lot of other financial harm before they are caught.

Transfer of Assets

Sometimes a caregiver in a nursing home will strike up a friendship with a resident and convince them that they are uniquely qualified to inherit their money or their assets. Elderly people are often lonely, and they are sometimes all too eager to leave their money or their home to someone who cares for them every day. In some situations, this transfer of assets is done through threats and fear as well.

Misuse of Funds or Credit

A less obvious method of financial abuse happens when a caregiver has access to the elderly person’s credit card or checkbook to run errands for them or help them pay bills. This person will take twenty dollars here and one hundred dollars there for years to help themselves pay bills or buy things they want.

This can be easier to prove if the person has been placed in charge of an elderly person’s spending through an agreement, but it is very tough to prove if the elderly person in your life has just been letting employees help them cash checks and pay bills.

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Preventing Financial Abuse

The best way to prevent these kinds of nursing home abuses from happening to your loved one is to be involved in their daily care as much as possible. You should handle their finances yourself and make sure that they do not have access to checks or credit cards that can be stolen. You should also vet the nursing home that you choose very carefully and go visit frequently.

What to Do if You or a Loved One Has been Harmed by Nursing Home Financial Abuse

If you or a loved one has been harmed by nursing home financial abuse, you will need to work with a skilled nursing home negligence lawyer. At Duffy & Duffy, we can help you or your loved one to seek compensation for financial abuse which occurred on Long Island, New York City or beyond. Visit us online or contact us today at (516) 394-4200 to set up a free consultation.