According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), financial exploitation of the elderly is one of the most prevalent kinds of elder abuse, with losses to older Americans topping $3 billion in 2010. This loss of personal financial stability often places an elderly individual in need of public assistance programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid. In order to avoid overburdening these programs that already are stretched thin, American society should take all steps necessary to protect its elderly members from this type of abuse.
The reality is that most financial exploitation of the elderly is perpetrated by individuals who are close to the victims, such as caregivers, healthcare providers, neighbors, friends, and family members. The most common types of financial exploitation include:
- Forging signatures on financial documents
- Coercing elderly victims to sign or accept financial documents
- Stealing money and other assets from victims
- Abusing the use of a power of attorney or financial authorization
The best way to combat financial exploitation of the elderly is to be vigilant in looking for signs of abuse. CFPB lists the following signs that you should be aware of in order to best protect your elderly family members:
- Missing financial documents, such as bank account statements and credit card statements
- Unpaid bills
- Missing cash and assets
- Distress and agitation when a particular person comes near your loved one
- Sudden changes in behavior, such as hiding or hoarding money
- Lack of medication, personal care items, and other personal possessions
- Sudden purchasing of “gifts” for other residents or caretakers
At Boller & Vaughan, we know firsthand just how prevalent financial abuse of residents in healthcare facilities and nursing homes can be, particularly with respect to the most vulnerable patients. If your family member has suffered any type of abuse, whether financial or otherwise, we are here to protect your rights and represent your interests, no matter what the case may involve. Our law firm has the experience that you need in a case such as this, so that you can explore all of the options that are available to you, and decide what legal avenue to pursue. Call the Wisconsin nursing home abuse attorneys today at (608) 268-0268 and schedule a free appointment.