Elder abuse comes in many forms. From physical and verbal abuse to sexual battery, seniors who depend upon caregivers every day are at risk for abuse and it is incumbent upon loved ones to be vigilant and look for the signs that someone could be taking advantage of them.

Nursing homes are rife with this kind of abuse. While there is a lot of good care taking place in nursing homes, the atmosphere allows for conditions that make predators quite comfortable in singling out their victims and causing harm. The physical and mental decline that can occur to elderly patients often makes them defenseless to abuse. Also, isolation that is commonly felt in a nursing home setting can provide a perceived measure of safety for an abuser. And, of course, the stark imbalance of power of a nursing home staff member over a patient or resident can prove quite daunting for a resident who is at risk. All of these factors contribute to a reticence to report such incidents when they occur, which adds to the sense of safety abusers feel.

One particular kind of abuse loved ones should be aware of is financial abuse. Financial abuse can range from simple theft to identity fraud to investment scams, and often when a predator finds their victim in a nursing home setting, they don’t let them out of their grip until they drain their financial resources completely.

One indicator that a loved one may be the victim of financial abuse is an overall lack of awareness of their financial situation. When a patient, for instance, cannot recall signing a specific check or withdrawing a large sum of money, it may be that someone has gained access to their bank accounts or pressured them to make transactions and hand over cash.

If bank or credit card notices start appearing in high frequency and the resident has previously shown to have a good solid handle on their finances, it may be a sign that someone else is in control of their credit cards.

As with their physical state, it is also important to be aware of an elderly loved one’s financial health when they are a nursing home resident. Keep track of bank records and credit card statements.  Verify with them directly any large or u usual purchases you find and ensure all checks and bank cards are always accounted for.

Nursing home staff and caregivers are often the first line of defense for a resident’s safety, but with such close proximity to residents’ personal records, access to financial information, they can also become the key individuals that ultimately abuse those in their care.

If you have a loved one in a nursing home facility you suspect is the victim of elder abuse, express your concerns to facility administrators and report any impropriety to the Illinois Department of Human Services. If you believe them to be in imminent danger, contact the police and take steps to remove them from that facility as soon as possible. It is also important to seek the counsel of a licensed personal injury attorney experienced in the field of nursing home elder abuse. 

The attorneys of Bizzieri Law Offices in Chicago have a wealth of experience fighting for the rights of clients who have been the victims of abuse and neglect. Call our offices at 773.881.9000 and speak with an attorney today.