HareWynn | March 22, 2021 | Nursing Home Abuse
Right now, more Kentucky residents are engaged with streaming television services than anything else. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a streaming service boom as people look to television to help them keep boredom at bay and take them out of reality, even if it’s only for a few hours. While many people use these services for entertainment, a new movie just released may also provide some much-needed enlightenment and education about an often-overlooked form of elder abuse, financial abuse.
The movie “I Care A Lot” is being touted as a dark comedy. It stars actress Rosamund Pike as a charismatic woman that makes her fortune swindling the elderly out of house and home. She charms herself into their hearts and then places them in assisted living centers while she profits from their money and assets, leaving them drained and penniless. Sound far-fetched? While Hollywood is known for stretching the truth, sometimes the truth does end up being stranger than fiction.
Elder financial abuse is a surprisingly common crime in the United States. Financial abuse and exploitation cost seniors an estimated $36.5 billion dollars a year, according to the National Council on Aging. Elderly residents in a nursing home setting are particularly prone to financial abuse. However, it isn’t usually a charming young stranger doing the swindling it is typically a person close to the elderly individual, such as a caregiver.
Financial abuse can take many forms, such as identity theft, credit card misuse, forged checks, stolen valuables, email scams, and investment scams. Social isolation is one of the main criteria that scammers use to target their victims. With COVID-19 still a concern for many, an unusually high number of Kentucky nursing home residents are more isolated from their family and friends than ever before.
News publications in surrounding states such as Tennessee and Georgia have already noted a dramatic increase in the number of financial exploitation cases of the elderly since the beginning of the pandemic. Even with the noticeable rise in the number of financial abuse cases, a financial forensic specialist with the Georgia Department of Human Services admits that only about 1 in 23 cases are ever reported.
That brings us back to Hollywood. In a time when more people are at home and looking for something to engage their attention, “I Care A Lot” could be the cinematic catalyst that the population needs right now to engage in a difficult but necessary dialogue. No one thinks it will happen to their family member until it does. Perhaps this film can help families open the lines of communication and begin to recognize the troubling signs of elder financial abuse.
If you suspect that your loved one is being taken advantage of financially by a nursing home or caregiver, talk to the attorneys at Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP. We can help you recognize the signs of financial abuse and investigate your suspicions. You may be the one to help hold swindlers accountable and protect the rights of your loved one. Take steps to help your loved one today. Call the experienced elder abuse legal team at Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP.