When you put your aging parent into an Illinois nursing home, you expected exemplary care from the staff. Lately, maybe you harbor suspicions about the care your mother or father receives. Rather than physical abuse, you suspect financial abuse. What should you do?

Consumer Reports offers tips for preventing elder financial abuse. Learn how to protect your loved one and regain your peace of mind.

Talk to your parent 

Keep in close touch with your loved one while she or he resides in the nursing home. Ask whether he or she has trouble keeping up with bills and if any potentially risky “friends” recently entered the scene, individuals who may take advantage of your parent.

Take preventative legal measures 

Have you and your parent talked about estate planning? You can easily take over handling your mother or father’s finances as the designated durable power of attorney. With estate planning measures to prevent financial abuse, you may want to enlist the help of your siblings, if you have any. Your brother or sister could be better equipped to help manage your parent’s finances, and you all may feel more comfortable dividing the responsibility.

Combine accounts 

It is easier for both you and your parent to manage only a few accounts rather than multiple accounts. Financial predators could siphon funds through an account your parent hardly uses and may forget about. If your parent feels comfortable doing so, sit down and go over all open accounts and look for consolidation opportunities. You both should know about potential penalties involved with closing an account.

Do what you can to safeguard your aging loved one’s finances. Not every staff member in the nursing home has the residents’ most favorable interests in mind.