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Updated: 10:37 a.m. Friday, Oct. 25, 2013 | Posted: 6:00 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013

Elderly being ripped off for thousands!

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By Clark Howard

ClarkHoward.com


Your aging parents in nursing homes may be having money stolen from them. Here's how you can put a stop to it.

I read a heartbreaking story in USA Today. Here's the deal: Our loved ones in nursing homes generally have house account money at the nursing home. The homes in turn have a fiduciary duty to use it if your loved ones need a prescription filled or whatever it is that would otherwise be unreimbursed by Medicare or Medicaid.

Unfortunately, nursing homes do not have good security on patient trust funds. All over America, dishonest employees have stolen from small amounts to more than $100,000 from trust funds in nursing homes.

This is a fast-growing problem. Over the last 3 years, 1,500 nursing homes around the country (out of 16,000) have been cited for failing to protect trust funds from theft. That means 1 out 10 elders could be impacted by this. Meanwhile, there have only been 100+ prosecutions of the perpetrators. So this is a crime generally without punishment.

What should you be doing? The elderly are being ripped off for thousands in nursing homes all across America. If you are an adult child of a parent in a facility, you need to follow the money. Check their personal needs account frequently to make sure the money is properly accounted for and none of it is missing.

In my family, we are 4 siblings with a nearly 90-year-old mom with dementia. So we've divided up duties. As you might expect, I handle money stuff for her. Have you set up a plan like this in your family? You've got to be ready to parcel out duties among family as a parent's capacity diminishes.

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