Increased Isolation And Financial Abuse
Caregivers Can Be Predators
Napa Caregiver Registration
Authorities from around the country are reporting record spikes in financial elder abuse cases during the pandemic. Financial elder abuse is also on the rise here in Napa. Periods of high unemployment and economic downturn such as we are in right now inevitably lead to increases in financial elder abuse. But this time the forced isolation of seniors due to COVID-19 seems to be the driving force and the number of reported cases, as well as the severity of the cases, is surging. Families and loved ones are cut off from the elderly and cannot check in and monitor their care and living conditions like they were formerly able to do. The increased isolation opens the door to unscrupulous caregivers and strangers who can take advantage of the isolation to get away with physical and financial elder abuse and neglect. If you yourself or an older loved is suffering any kind of elder abuse, including financial abuse, here in Napa, call us today. Our Napa elder abuse litigators can be reach at (415)441-8669.
Sadly, caregivers, employed to care for and protect senior patients, are often the persons who abuse their proximity to a senior to take money from them. Sometimes, these unscrupulous caregivers have taken money from previous patients. Fortunately for Napa seniors and their families, Napa County is one of only two counties in California that requires independent caregivers or home care aides to be background checked and registered through the State.Registration means the independent caregiver or home care aide has passed a DOJ and FBI background check and has verified that they are free of active tuberculosis. Anyone can access the State’s Home Care Aide Registry database to check an independent home care aide’s status: California Home Care Aide Registry. The Napa District Attorney also provides some useful tips for families to follow when hiring an in-home caregiver:
- Call references and call past employers.
- Ensure that the caregiver you are hiring is currently registered on the Home Care Aide Registry.
- Ask around to see if anyone knows the person.
- Ask a trusted friend or family member to help you interview prospective caregivers.
- Ask about the specific experience working as a caregiver.
- If assistance is needed with bill paying, consider hiring an accounting firm. Never, ever, let a caregiver have bill paying responsibilities, access to bank accounts, or a Power of Attorney. Don’t allow them to use your debit or credit cards or to have access to any of your financial information.
- Once you’ve hired someone, don’t be shy about firing them if you feel uncomfortable, your lifestyle has changed considerably, if you suspect they are taking advantage of you, or if they are asking about things that are none of their business.
Signs of Financial Elder Abuse
If you have a senior loved one living alone or with a caregiver, here are some important you should watch for:
- New bank accounts the senior and family member can’t access
- Changes in where Social Security and retirement checks are deposited
- Unpaid care or utility bills
- Sudden increase in ATM withdrawals or unfamiliar purchases or spending habits.
- New friends or “advisors” whom you have never heard of in your loved one’s life before.
- Credit cards maxed out, used without permission, unpaid or otherwise harming an older person’s credit score
- Coercing a senior to make gifts or advance loans
- Changes in trusts, Wills, Powers of Attorney or other important legal documents
Call the Napa County authorities if you suspect any form of elder abuse but also reach out to elder counsel for help. Ingrid M. Evans and our other elder abuse attorneys represent seniors in Napa and throughout California who are victims of any kind of elder abuse, including financial elder abuse. Ingrid and our other elder abuse attorneys can be reached at (415) 441-8669, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ingrid and her team of financial elder abuse attorneys will pursue all remedies available to you or your injured senior loved one including getting stolen money back (restitution), undoing any trusts or contracts the abuser may have fraudulently created (rescissions), damages for pain and suffering, and an award of the attorneys’ fees and expenses you’ve incurred in bringing your case.