One of the types of abuse that the elderly experience in Wisconsin nursing homes is that of financial exploitation. It could take the form of theft of valuables such as jewelry or cash, or fraud through forgery of checks, new loans, or credit card purchases.
Just like with any kind of elder abuse, financial exploitation in the nursing home seldom gets reported unless it becomes glaringly apparent and family members or friends take action. The victims themselves do not complain because they fear repercussion from their caregivers, who are supposed to be looking after them, or feel vulnerable because they have become dependent on their abusers for their daily needs. It is a sad fact that many nursing home residents have no one nearby to turn to in their time of need.
Financial exploitation is reported in as many as 1 in 9 of the elder population, both in and out of nursing homes, and even then it is thought to be grossly underreported. It is estimated that only 1 in 44 cases of financial exploitation is reported. In a majority of the cases, caregivers, family members, and close friends are the abusers, and the victim often has to turn to government assistance when the money runs out.
In nursing homes, residents are often subjected to coercion through physical or verbal threats to disclose financial information. To prevent this, all nursing homes including those in Wisconsin are required to account for and safeguard the personal funds of the residents, and any cash over $50 must be placed in a bank account in the name of the resident. Failure to protect residents under their care against financial exploitation may constitute negligence on the part of nursing home management.
Financial exploitation will show up in the financial records and spending behavior of the resident. If you suspect that a family member is being taken advantage of, consult an experienced Wisconsin nursing home abuse lawyer to determine if this is so, and if so, how to correct the situation and possibly get compensation.