Problem: Co-signers on a resident's bank account were taking funds from the bank account without permission, and using funds for needs not related to the resident.
Action: The Ombudsman arranged for the resident to visit the bank to remove the co-signers from the account.
Outcome: The Bank account was closed and a new account was opened preventing more funds from being withdrawn.
Problem: The resident complained of personal items being removed from her room at the residential care facility.
Action: The Ombudsman found that the resident's granddaughter was taking items and selling them. The Ombudsman arranged for a special lock to be put on the door, with keys only for the resident and administrator of the facility.
Outcome: The stealing of the resident’s possessions stopped. The resident was happy and was no longer fearful of losing items.
Problem: A senior was befriended by a real estate agent who managed to convince her to sell her home and move into an assisted living facility. He also had her open a bank account in his name revise trust, naming him the beneficiary of her estate and power of attorney. Socially, he convinced her to distrust her children and isolated her from those that really cared for her.
Action: The Ombudsman began an investigation of suspected financial abuse. She was very savvy and decided she needed to gain the resident’s trust before she could intervene, reunited her with her family, and put a stop to the elder financial abuse.
Outcome: The Ombudsman was able to help the resident undo the trust, get medical advice, and legal counsel. She gave her continuing moral support through the entire process and was able to reunite the mother with her children.
A Simple Glass of Beer
Problem: An 85-year-old male resident had no family, friends, or visitors. He didn't join other residents in activities, watch TV or read, he just sat alone and stared ahead. The Ombudsman visited him several times offering books, magazines, and/or books on tape. He always replied "thanks, but no thanks." Finally, the Ombudsman told him that she felt sorry the sweater given to him for Christmas (through the Council on Aging SmileMakers Gift project) didn't fit him and she would like to exchange it for him. He replied "no, that's OK, don't bother." However, this day it seemed like he wanted to say more.
Action: The Ombudsman encouraged him to talk with her... He very shyly said, "Well, there is one thing I would like, a bottle of beer once in a while with my dinner." The doctor approved his request and wrote a prescription enabling the facility to give him beer on Saturday night with his dinner.
Outcome: The resident reached up and gave the Ombudsman a big hug. He was so surprised, he just kept saying, "I can't believe it, thank you, thank you!" The Ombudsman said: “this is why I love being an Ombudsman. I love my job.”
Problem: The resident complained that she did not care for the stylist at the facility hair salon. She could not do her hair properly.
Action: The Ombudsman explained to the resident that the facility has transportation services, and that she has a right to make a hair appointment with an outside salon, so long as she makes it for the times the transportation is available and within the vicinity provided by the transportation services. The Ombudsman then spoke with the Activities Director at the facility to make sure she understood the problem and asked her to help the resident make the arrangements. She agreed to assist the resident.
Outcome: The resident was very happy with the proposed solution and was able to arrange to go out of the facility to have her hair done. She was very happy with the outcome, stating “I feel so much better now”.
Money, Money, Money
Problem: The resident’s income was not enough to cover his basic expenses, as the rent has gone up since he moved in.
Action: The Ombudsman inquired into the possibility of him sharing a room with another resident. The resident thought that was a good idea. The Ombudsman contacted the Administrator to look into the possibility of moving the resident into a shared room. The Administrator was able to accommodate this request.
Outcome: The resident was able to find another resident that he felt compatible with and they now share a room. He is happy to have found a new friend and he feels much more financially secure.
Alternative Action: The Ombudsman inquired into the resident’s status as a Veteran (or the widow of a veteran). It turns out he is a Veteran, who served at least one day of active duty during a war. The Ombudsman informed the resident that he was eligible for the Aid and Attendance benefit from the Veteran’s Administration. He was able to assist the resident in applying for this benefit and informed the Administrator, that he was eligible for this benefit.
Outcome: The Administrator agreed to continue receiving the current rent for the room, from the resident, knowing that the Veteran’s Administration will back date the allowance to the time of application. The resident was able to stay in his room with the additional income. He was very happy he did not have to move anywhere.