Why Seniors Have The Legal Right To Manage Their Own Finances

When you have a friend or relative residing in a nursing home, there are a lot of things to watch out for. The headlines are filled with horrific tales of neglect and physical and sexual abuse targeting the vulnerable nursing home population. What gets a lot less attention but is still a significant problem is nursing home abuse in the form of financial exploitation. It is important for those with loved ones in a nursing home to understand that residents in skilled nursing facilities retain their right to manage their own money and that taking that right away is against the law. Facilities are permitted to offer money management services, but these are specifically defined and require not only written consent from the resident but also the provision of reports and quarterly financial statements to ensure full transparency. Additionally, those services do not preclude a resident’s ability to access their accounts themselves.

When nursing home abuse takes the form of financial exploitation, it is often perpetrated by individual employees of the facility. That is why it is so important for family members to be aware of their loved one’s financial accounts and to immediately take action should they see any of the following signs of financial abuse:

  • Signatures being forged
  • Misuse or stealing of money or possessions
  • Cashing a resident’s checks without authorization
  • Coercing the signature of documents
  • Resident making changes to their will or other financial documents (or those changes being made without their knowledge or approval)
  • Funds being transferred into another person’s name or assets being gifted to that person
  • Checks being written to a particular individual/caretaker on a regular/frequent basis
  • Unexpected and frequent withdrawals on bank accounts or funds by another person
  • Resident being unwilling to discuss financial issues with loved ones
  • New names being added to resident’s bank signature card

According to a report conducted by the MetLife Mature Market Institute and National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, financial abuse accounts for losses of almost $3 billion per year, and there are concerns that the problem will only get worse as the population continues to age and technological advances make fraud easier and faster.

Financial exploitation is an insidious form of nursing home abuse. It leaves victims terrorized, humiliated, and without the funds that they need for continued care. If you suspect that your loved one is a victim of financial nursing home abuse, we can help. Contact us today to set up a time for a consultation.