When Texas families place a loved one in a nursing home, they often stay alert for signs of physical or emotional abuse or neglect. Malnutrition, unexplained injuries, or fearful behavior stand out to family members who have known their loved one a long time. However, exploitation or abuse of an elderly person’s financial situation has become a growing problem – and its signs and symptoms can be harder to spot.
According to Eldercare.gov, as many as five million elderly Americans suffer the effects of financial abuse or exploitation each year, costing them as much as $3 billion annually. In some cases, the staff or administration of a nursing home may be involved. In other situations, at-home caregivers – either professionals or family members – may be committing exploitation.
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Eldercare.gov defines financial exploitation or abuse as any situation in which one person illegally or improperly uses an elderly person’s money or property to benefit themselves. This exploitation might be overt, as when a caregiver steals cash or valuables from an elderly person. Or it may be more subtle, as when a caregiver “overspends” on something the elderly person needs, then keeps the surplus for him- or herself.
Financial abuse reduces the resources an elderly person has to meet their own needs, which then puts the elderly person at a greater risk for injury and illness, as well as for other types of abuse. A Dallas nursing home abuse lawyer can help families uncover suspected financial abuse and fight back. By knowing the signs, you can help protect your loved ones whether they are cared for at home or enter a nursing home.