What to do if your elderly relative is being financially abused

*contributed collaborative content

When we entrust the care of our elder relatives to professional carers, you would be right to expect them to receive the best care possible for the money you pay. Caregivers have usually gone under rigorous scrutiny with interviews, assessments, and background checks prior to starting on a job in a care home or hospital.

This type of check helps relatives to feel secure that their relatives will be treated with the care and respect that they deserve, allowing them to continue with their daily lives, worry free. 

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Unfortunately, however, elder abuse is a sad and shocking reality for those living in care homes. 

It doesn’t just mean physical abuse- which can be an obvious sign of mistreatment when visiting relatives– it can also be financial abuse, which is less obvious.

If you are concerned about an elderly relative’s financial status being taken advantage of by caregivers, here is what you should do. 

What is Financial Abuse in Elders? 

Financial abuse is a form of abuse in the elderly in which the misuse of financial resources, or enforcement of financial control– in the context of a relationship where there is the expectation of trust and respect between the elder and the abuser. 

Financial abuse is, unfortunately, more likely to occur with the elder having given consent to some of these actions, so, therefore, can be difficult to detect. It is one of the lesser detected and investigated forms of abuse. 

Types of Elder Financial Abuse 

Close associates will have access to elders and can often be in a position to abuse them financially through deception and misrepresentation, coercion, or theft. 

Types of financial abuse can include: 

  • The use of money or property used without the clear permission of the elder. This can include stealing money from their pensions, savings, or stealing cash from their homes. 
  • Signature forgery or misappropriation of elder’s identity in order to complete financial transactions. 
  • Coercion of enforcement to sign over property such as deeds or wills- forcing them to execute legal documents that they do not understand. 
  • Fraudulent obtaining of power of attorney or guardianship.
  • ‘Borrowed’ money that is never repaid to the senior

Typically, family members and caregivers who abuse elders in a financial sense will include, but are not limited to; carers, spouses, children, grandchildren, siblings, nieces and nephews. The reason for this is that they may feel as though they deserve access to the finances, or are getting an ‘advance’ on what they may inherit later on. They may also see it as payment (additional or otherwise) for taking care of them, or for the fact that they have a negative relationship with the older person.  

What Should You Do if You Suspect Financial Abuse in Elders in a Carehome? If you suspect financial abuse in elders, it can be incredibly emotional to witness, but you should not take matters into your own hands. You should always seek the advice of a nursing home abuse attorney who can help to guide you through the process of seeking justice.

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