Nursing home abuse can take many forms, but financial abuse can be difficult to identify. Cases of financial abuse involve another person illegally diverting the victim’s financial resources. If a member of your family is living in a Virginia nursing home, you can help prevent this abuse by providing hands-on assistance.
There are several steps you can take to help manage the risk of financial abuse:
- Keep important legal documents at home to minimize opportunities for identify theft.
- Make it difficult for others to access bank information or checks. You can offer to keep the resident’s checkbook at your home and to deliver checks as needed. You can also help monitor bank account activity and expenses to determine which cash outflows are legitimate and which are not.
- If your loved one expects to receive checks from time to time, have them mailed to your address so that third-parties cannot intercept and cash them.
- Help family members make a list of personal items they have brought to the nursing home. Keeping track of small items like jewelry may help minimize opportunities for caregivers or other residents to steal these items. If your family member is experiencing memory loss, you may want to leave valuable items in a safe deposit box.
- Have a candid conversation with family members about granting you a power of attorney that lets you help manage legal and financial obligations. Make it clear that they should not grant a power of attorney to a nursing home employee or other resident. Also, they should not sign contracts or other legal documents without your assistance.
Financial abuse can deplete a person’s assets before anyone realizes what is happening. When you help family members with their financial affairs, you may reduce opportunities for others to exploit the isolation that nursing home residents may feel.