It is hoped that a new California law which will go into effect January 1, 2009 will cause increased reporting of thefts from elderly residents of nursing homes.
The new law will require police and facility ombudsmen to immediately report cases of known or suspected elder abuse, specifically including theft, to the local District Attorney’s office.
Elder theft in nursing homes frequently goes unreported. Nursing home administrators/owners claim that most thefts result from the elder “misplacing” their property. The reality is that most thefts do not get reported because it makes the facility look bad. It is hoped that the new law, which specifically requires facilities to report theft, will result in increased reporting of elder theft.
There are also a few things elders and their families can do to help prevent elder theft:
– Elders should not take valuables with them to the nursing home/RCFE
– Get a small safe and keep any valuables in it, especially at night
– Limit the amount of cash kept by the resident
– If you suspect theft, immediately report it to the administration. If the property is not found within 24 hours, report the theft to police