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Friday, February 22, 2019
Financial exploitation of seniors living in nursing homes is a major problem. According to a study reported by the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), “financial mistreatment [is] the most commonly reported form of abuse, followed by potential neglect, emotional mistreatment, physical mistreatment, and last sexual mistreatment.” The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) calls financial exploitation of seniors “[t]he crime of the 21st century,” and an “epidemic [that] is truly under the radar.” According to the CFPB, seniors lose billions of dollars to financial exploitation every year.
If you have an aging loved one living in a nursing home in the Chicago area and you suspect that he or she may be a victim of financial exploitation, these are important facts for you to know. In today’s world, you cannot simply dismiss your concerns; and, sadly, you cannot assume that your loved one’s nursing home has his or her best interests in mind. Financial exploitation in nursing homes is a form of elder abuse that has become alarmingly common; and, if you have concerns, you should seek professional help as soon as possible.
Financial exploitation of seniors can take many forms; and, in the nursing home context, it can involve individuals who are employed by the nursing home, other individuals, or even the nursing home itself. As explained by the CFPB, “Elder financial exploitation cases are complex. Financial exploitation often occurs in relationships where the vulnerable person has placed his/her trust and confidence in another person.” Some of the most-common forms of financial exploitation include:
The National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) breaks down financial exploitation of seniors into three categories: (i) scams by strangers, (ii) scams by “professionals,” and (iii) exploitation by “trusted others.” Some of the most-common forms of financial exploitation falling into each of these categories include:
These lists are by no means exhaustive. Financial exploitation can take many different forms, and nursing homes, scam artists, and others are constantly finding new ways to take advantage of unsuspecting seniors. Once again, if you have any reason to suspect that your aging loved one is a victim of financial exploitation in a Chicago nursing home, you should speak with someone immediately.
While some cases of financial exploitation will be obvious, it is not uncommon for residents and their family members to be unsure of whether this form of nursing home abuse has occurred. Sadly, many financial exploitation scams target nursing home residents who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia precisely because these individuals are unable to discern what is being done to them. In this scenario, family members must be especially vigilant to monitor for the signs of financial exploitation (and other forms of nursing home abuse), which may be financial, psychological, or even physical:
The CFPB has identified “four pillars of successful intervention” for preventing and putting a stop to financial exploitation of seniors living in nursing homes. While these “pillars” are designed to assist nursing homes in developing protocols and procedures for combatting financial exploitation in their facilities, they can serve as a useful roadmap for nursing home residents and their loved ones as well.
The more you know about the sources, risk factors, and warning signs of nursing home financial exploitation, the better able you will be to respond quickly, and potentially even prevent exploitation from occurring. Try to help your aging loved one understand the risks as well, and help him or her take steps to reduce the chances of theft or financial abuse.
If you spot any of the warning signs of financial exploitation, it is important to take action promptly. Like other forms of nursing home abuse, financial exploitation is rarely a one-time event. Whether you notice unusual purchases on your loved one’s account statement, valuables are missing from your loved one’s room, or your loved one is exhibiting psychological symptoms of abuse, it is important to promptly determine whether there is an alternate explanation or you need to take action against financial exploitation.
If you believe that your parent or other aging loved one may be a victim of financial exploitation in a Chicago nursing home, you need to try to document your findings. Write down what you are thinking so that you don’t forget later, take photos, print files – do whatever makes sense under the circumstances at hand. If you need to take legal action to recover your loved one’s losses, these early records could be important evidence in your claim for financial recovery.
When faced with a situation of nursing home abuse, including financial exploitation, there are three primary legal options. The first option is reporting the incident to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). IDPH has oversight of nursing homes operating in Chicago, and it has the authority to impose penalties against nursing homes that perpetrate or allow financial exploitation to occur.
The second option is to file a complaint with the local prosecutor. Financial exploitation of seniors is a criminal offense, and perpetrators can face fines and jail time if convicted in court.
The third option is to speak with a civil attorney about taking legal action against the nursing home or other perpetrator directly. This option allows you to recover your loved one’s financial losses and pursue other appropriate remedies, including extricating your loved one from an abusive nursing home. An attorney who is experienced in handling nursing home financial exploitation claims can also file complaints with IDPH and the local prosecutor on your behalf if it makes sense to do so.
Ultimately, if you have concerns about financial exploitation in a Chicago nursing home, the best thing you can do is to seek help immediately. There is no harm in being wrong, but failing to take action can have drastic consequences for your aging loved one.
Are you concerned that a loved one who is living in a Chicago nursing home may be a victim of financial exploitation? If so, we encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. To speak with a nursing home abuse lawyer at Malman Law in confidence, call 888-625-6265 or tell us about your situation online now.
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I have had an amazing experience with Malman law so far. From the start, Dan was super easy to work with, got me the medical attention I needed, and fast. Couldn’t ask for better communication. Neil Kilcoyne has been nothing but the best I could not recommend a better attorney. Malman Law is a 10 out of 10 law firm.
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Hi, I just want to acknowledge Jay McCarron, Kelly & the firm at Malman Law for representing me as they continue to work on my case. Thanks for keeping me updated & responding quickly to any of my questions or concerns. I would highly recommend you and your firm to friends & family. E. P.
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Helped me out of a big jam when my auto was hit twice when and the other drivers had no insurance. Adam Meadow is the only Lawyer I will call for helping me and my daughter.
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I cannot give enough praise to the team at Malman Law, for helping with my case. My children were involved in an auto collision and the attorney Adam along with his paralegal Michelle worked diligently until the matter was resolved and my entire family was happy. I would definitely recommend Malman Law for anybody going through legal troubles.
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Dan Petrich was the best man for my case of falling through my porch of an apartment I rented. He made sure I got what I deserved not only $ wise but medical wise and that my hospital bills and Dr bills were left at a $0 balance before closing my case. I was definitely happy and glad I choose him. Thank you. 5 stars
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Mailman Law, Excellent firm!! Tiffany Alberty and her assistant Margie Gallegos were super efficient and knowledgeable. Great communication—very quick response and great follow up! My case was resolved sooner than expected. I highly recommend them!
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2 years ago I was involved in a trucking accident involving a 14-wheeler truck that nearly disabled me for life. Steve fought to make sure that I received the most possible compensation for my injuries. I was about to take the insurance company’s lowball offer, but decided to call Steve first – it was the best decision I’ve made yet
NOAH TAFFELPersonal Injury Victim