Portland Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Explain Financial Abuse in Oregon Nursing Homes
Elders are often extraordinarily vulnerable to abuse, whether physical, sexual, financial, or in various other forms. Financial abuse in Oregon nursing homes is very akin to other forms of elder abuse, and different in other ways. Financial abuse is like physical and sexual abuse, for example, in that it can be traumatizing and have negative impacts on the victim’s family and friends as well. It is unlike other forms of abuse in that, many times, victims of elder financial abuse “consent” to the abuse. This so-called consent is so-called because the elderly in nursing homes tend to have cognitive impairments, namely Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia, making it exceedingly difficult for the elder victim to know what they are agreeing to. Financial abuse of elders is becoming increasingly prevalent, according to our team of Portland nursing home abuse attorneys.
Elder financial abuse is no nominal matter: it costs America’s elderly over $2.6 billion dollars each year, notwithstanding that elder financial abuse is highly underreported by its victims. This statistic greatly impacts the economy in turn, causing business and familial losses. Additionally, since the victim loses money, it can force the victim to rely on government programs, such as Medicaid, more. For those elders with cognitive impairments, 100% more economic losses are incurred. What is more, elders who have been abused have a 300% higher chance of death, in comparison to those who have not been abused.
What is Financial Abuse in Oregon Nursing Homes?
Financial abuse, sometimes referred to as financial exploitation, is a crime, and occurs when another illegally or improperly uses one’s money or belongings. For an elder in a nursing home, the perpetrator in this kind of case could include his or her children, other family members, spouses and partners, nursing home staff, or fellow nursing home residents.
A sign an elder has experienced financial abuse is that their financial situation shifts suddenly, with no glaringly apparent reason. Additionally, if the victim’s mood has changed for the worse, that may be a signal that something has changed. Whether financial abuse of an elder has taken place is a fact-based matter that our Portland Attorneys can help you or your loved one with.
How to Protect Yourself or a Loved One Against Elder Financial Abuse
There are rights inherent in being a resident at a nursing home, on both the federal and state levels. Examples include the following:
- Access to all personal records
- File a complaint without retaliation fear
- Protection of all residents’ deposits and place any funds greater than $50 in an interest- bearing account
- Provide quarterly statements of resident’s finances
- Not charge a resident for Medicare or Medicaid services
Potentially more importantly, preventing elder financial abuse can be prevented, or at least, mitigated, by placing the resident or resident’s legal representative in control of the situation as much as possible:
- Ensure the resident has a legal representative who will act on his or her behalf in times of cognitive impairment
- Receive any benefits via direct deposit
- Shred financial documents once they have been reviewed and utilized
- Do not share any personal information, such as SSN, bank account pins, or bank account numbers
Signs of Elder Financial Abuse
As the saying goes, “Go with your gut.” Also consider the following:
- Person demands or takes your money or buys themselves gifts
- There are unfamiliar charges on your bank accounts and statements
- You receive statements or cards for accounts that you did not open
- Person does not follow your instructions in caring for your finances
If Elder Financial Abuse is Suspected
If elder financial abuse is already suspected, there are outlets that can help you. Again, elder financial abuse is a crime that is punishable by law. You can first go to a staff member you trust at your nursing home. This can be any staff member, whether a social worker or manager. They are charged with reporting your issues to the appropriate person or agency. If that is to no avail, contact your Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. These programs exist to represent residents in nursing homes and resolve their complaints (www.ltcombudsman.org/ombudsman). Adult Protective Services should be contacted, as they investigate these exact matters (www.napsa.now.org/get-help/how-aps-helps). Finally, this type of crime can be reported to the police after financial abuse in Oregon nursing homes.
- Use direct deposit for all checks
- Do not provide personal information over the internet or telephone
- Send and open your mail by yourself
- Become educated on your rights
- Stay connected with the community, so you do not become socially isolated. Social isolation is a major factor in elder abuse cases
Learn How Our Portland Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Can Help Protect You
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect contact the Oregon Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form. We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover.
Our law firm handles cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Sisters, Madras, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, La Grande, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton, Cottage Grove, Florence, Oregon City, Springfield, Keizer, Grants Pass, McMinnville, Tualatin, West Linn, Forest Grove, Wilsonville, Newberg, Roseburg, Lake Oswego, Klamath Falls, Happy Valley, Tigard, Ashland, Milwakie, Coos Bay, The Dalles, St. Helens, Sherwood, Central Point, Canby, Troutdale, Hermiston, Silverton, Hood River, Newport, Prineville, Astoria, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Vancouver, Washington.
We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota and take Nursing Home Abuse cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.
Please act quickly, there is a limited time (Statute of Limitations) in which you can bring a claim under the law.