People in San Diego with elderly loved ones or those thinking about their own retirement and nursing care should be aware of a cautionary tale of a man in Minnesota. In the several years before the man's demise, he had his caretaker spend about $2 million of his hard-earned money on her family and her own lavish lifestyle.
This story demonstrates that nursing home abuse isn't the only kind of elder abuse. The man, an 87-year-old widower, who refused to enter a nursing home as his health diminished, had entrusted his 77-year-old nurse with his care. She lived in his home and was responsible for his health care and acted as his power of attorney.
She repaid his trust by squandering his life's accumulated wealth over a matter of months. In undisputed court documents, it was shown that she spent an average of almost $43,000 a month for 29 months, with only a meager amount of it spent on the man's well-being. The rest was spent on trips, shopping sprees and questionable payments to the nurse's family members and herself. The man, meanwhile, likely passed away without ever knowing the full extent of her widespread economic abuse.
Now, the woman has been ordered to repay roughly $1.6 million to the man's estate and the heirs who may never receive their intended share of the man's estate. Whether she can ever come close to repaying this amount remains to be seen.
Taking economic advantage of a vulnerable adult is a serious crime, and one that is growing at an alarming rate in an aging population. People who are concerned that their loved ones are being taken advantage of or abused by a caretaker should contact an experienced personal injury attorney immediately.
Source: StarTribune "Companion snarled in tangled web over elderly St. Paul man's care," by Joy Powell, Jan. 14, 2013