We have written other articles on how to protect nursing home residents, but how do you spot signs of nursing home financial exploitation once you have placed your loved one in a facility?
While the signs are many and varied, common warning signs of nursing home financial exploitation include:
- Sudden changes in a resident’s bank account, including large cash withdrawals
- Missing personal property and valuables (jewelry, watches, clothing and other personal items)
- Sudden liquidations of investments (CDs, mutual funds, stocks/bonds, life insurance policies and annuities)
- Abrupt changes in wills, powers of attorney, trust documents or other financial documents
- Unauthorized ATM withdrawals
- Unexplained transfer of assets to someone outside the family
- Missing mail
- Unpaid bills, despite available financial assets to pay the bills
- Unexplained, sudden changes in spending patterns
- Visits from non-family members who are selling financial products or other services
These are all important factors to consider if you suspect a loved one is the victim of nursing home financial exploitation.
If you suspect financial exploitation, there are several actions that can be taken:
- Routinely review your loved one’s bank statements and other financial documents. Immediately report any suspicious activity to the bank or financial institution.
- Take control of your loved one’s checkbook and credit cards.
- Limit the amount of cash the resident keeps at the facility. There is little reason for nursing home residents to have a large amount of cash on hand.
- Protect valuable watches and jewelry by limiting use to outings and family visits. Nursing home residents often look forward to “dressing up” for a meal or visit outside the facility, and wearing a valuable watch or piece of jewelry can often enhance these occasions.
- Notify Adult Protective Services of suspected financial exploitation
Clear communication between the resident and her family members will help prevent financial exploitation.