It is hard to believe that anyone would take advantage of a vulnerable person, but far too many people prey on elderly residents of nursing homes. In addition to physical abuse and neglect, seniors can also experience elder financial abuse at the hands of staff charged with their care.
Because many seniors live on a fixed income, even a minimal loss of money can prove devastating. That is why families must watch for the following signs of abuse and take immediate action to remedy them.
Changes in mood and demeanor
Seniors can experience significant emotional distress when subject to mistreatment. They may also feel shame or guilt, as they may perceive themselves to be at fault. This can lead to changes in their mood, with some people exhibiting signs of depression or anxiety. They may also appear more withdrawn or closed off from others, which might be an attempt at hiding the abuse. In many cases, changes in mental health require deeper investigation.
Many older adults have the same basic expenses each month. If you notice your loved one is unable to pay bills, or they complain about new money issues, inquire about the problems further. This is especially important when people experience cognitive decline, which is more common in older adults. A caregiver could take advantage of the situation by exploiting the person’s health.
Missing money and valuables
Nursing homes often allow residents to bring along personal items to make their living spaces comfortable and homey. They may also keep money on the premises, which should be secure within their rooms or apartments. Missing valuables does not always involve theft, as it is possible the items were simply misplaced. However, when items go missing on a regular basis, it could point to financial exploitation.
If you believe staff is not treating your loved one correctly within a nursing home or assisted living facility, contact the administrator immediately to make your concerns known. You can also contact the Adult Protective Services office in your state for more assistance with the matter.