It is an unfortunate fact that older adults, including residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, are vulnerable to financial exploitation. Financial abuse is among the most common forms of elder and nursing home abuse, and the National Council on Aging reports financial abuse costs older Americans anywhere from $2.6 billion to $36.5 billion annually. And when older adults are financially exploited, they are also robbed of their security, putting them at much higher risk of severe injury or death. A nursing home financial abuse lawyer in Austin, TX, can help you demand what’s right.
Contact the Loewy Law Firm immediately if your loved one has been financially abused or exploited. Attorney Adam Loewy has been fighting on behalf of injured Texans since 2005 and has handled many elder abuse cases. Our team can help your family recover the stolen money and hold the perpetrator of the abuse accountable for their actions. We are known for our dedication and compassion, as well as the results we deliver for our clients. Contact us today for a free case review and learn more about how we can demand justice for what you and your family have suffered.
What Is Elder Financial Abuse?
According to the National Institute on Aging, financial abuse is the theft of an older person’s money or belongings. Older adults, particularly those in assisted living facilities or nursing homes, are especially vulnerable to financial abuse because they are often isolated from friends and family. Elderly adults may also have degenerative neurological conditions that make it difficult to recognize that they are being exploited or communicate their concerns to those who could help. Finally, older adults are often targeted for financial exploitation because they have saved more money than younger people, meaning there is more for abusers to steal.
Examples of Elder Financial Abuse
There are many different ways in which older adults and nursing home residents can be financially exploited, including:
- Healthcare fraud – Doctors, nursing homes, or other healthcare providers might take advantage of a patient for their own financial gain. Healthcare fraud includes everything from double billing for services and ordering unnecessary treatments to billing for services that were never performed and overcharging patients for treatments.
- Identity theft – Identity theft involves caregivers or others posing as an older adult or using their personal information for their own financial gain. For example, someone at a nursing home could steal a resident’s credit card information and then use it to make unauthorized purchases.
- Theft – In some cases, caregivers or others will steal money or other items directly from an older adult. Though doing so can involve identity theft, it is often simply taking cash or other belongings from an older adult’s wallet or residence. Another common form of theft that affects nursing home residents is staff concealing or taking money that has been set aside for a resident’s care.
- Forgery – If an older adult has a neurological condition, a caregiver or someone else they know could manipulate them into signing a legal document that gives an abuser power over their finances. Another example of financial abuse in this mold is caregivers or nursing home staff convincing someone to alter their will so the abuser gets some of the victim’s estate. In some cases, older adults and nursing home residents are coerced into signing over their assets out of fear.
- Coercion of “gifts” – Sadly, people who work with or are close to older adults can manipulate them into handing out large gifts of money or valuables. In many cases, the person being abused may not even realize what is happening or that they are being exploited.
Warning Signs of Elder Financial Abuse
It can be difficult to detect elder financial abuse because there may not be obvious signs that anything is wrong. This is why older adults (and their families) should pay close attention to what is happening with their finances. Some common signs of elder financial abuse include:
- Sudden withdrawals of large sums or a series of unexplained small withdrawals
- Unexplained changes to the person’s will, power of attorney, or other legal documents
- Large assets or significant sums going missing
- Unpaid medical bills or other expenses
- Changes in ownership of homes or other significant assets
- Odd changes in investments or savings plans
Reporting Elder Financial Abuse in Texas
The Texas Attorney General’s Office says there are three main ways to report elder financial abuse. If the abuse is occurring at a nursing home or to someone who is receiving professional in-home care, contact the Texas Department of State Health Services. If someone is being financially exploited in a facility that receives Medicaid funding, you can report the abuse to the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Finally, contact Adult Protective Services if you or someone you know is being abused at home while not receiving professional care.
You should also contact an attorney as soon as you report the suspected abuse to the authorities. While the authorities may pursue a criminal case against the abuser, an attorney can hold them accountable in civil court and help you demand compensation for the harm they caused your family.
Why Work With an Austin Elder Financial Abuse Lawyer
Financial abuse cases involving older adults can be extremely difficult to prove, particularly if the person being abused has a mental health condition or is otherwise unable to communicate. You will need help from someone who knows how to closely examine a potential victim’s finances to find signs of abuse. An elder financial abuse attorney has the training, experience, and knowledge to investigate the abuse, build a compelling case on their behalf, and help them recover the money they have lost.
Contact an Austin, TX, Elder Financial Abuse Lawyer Now
When an older adult is being exploited by a nursing home or someone close to them, Austin elder abuse lawyer Adam Loewy and the team at the Loewy Law Firm are ready to help them pursue justice and recover their missing funds. Contact us today for a free consultation and tell us your story.