If you are faced with the difficult decision to place your elder loved one in a nursing home, or even to arrange for an in-home caregiver, there are many concerns that you will naturally have. You will want to educate yourself on the rights of your family, warning signs of neglect and abuse, and what to do if you suspect that your elder family member is being mistreated. In other words, people tend to realize the vulnerability of an elderly person who is unable to care for him or herself. What people may not think about is the elder’s vulnerability to financial exploitation. Financial Exploitation is the misuse of your elder loved one’s financial resources. Just as caregivers and nursing home staff have access to very personal aspects of your elder loved one’s life, they may have, or be able to gain, access to your loved one’s finances.
Financial Exploitation may take a number of different forms. It could be intentional over-billing by a caregiver or nursing facility, mishandling of intangible financial instruments, or something simple to understand like theft. In many cases, elders who are unable to care for themselves may be unable to protect themselves against these kinds of financial exploitation. Mandatory reporting of financial exploitation of elders, as of May 16, 2013, is now required in Colorado, for certain professionals and caregivers. Reports are made to a law enforcement agency not more than 24 hours after making the observation or discovery. People who do report are immune for reports made in good faith.
If you believe that your elder loved one is being financially exploited, don’t look the other way, and don’t be quiet about it. It may be time to speak with a Colorado elder abuse attorney.
Rhett Meyer is a Colorado elder abuse attorney with offices in Denver and Boulder who is dedicated to protecting the legal rights of elders who are unable to care for themselves and their families. Rhett will make sure that you understand your family’s rights. He can point you to the resources you need to educate yourself, and to protect your family. If suspicion of financial exploitation is valid, Rhett has more than two decades of experience working with the justice system; he can help you recover damages for mistreatment and financial exploitation. For more information and a free consultation, contact Rhett at (303) 444-1618.