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Taking advantage of the elderly, how can I stop it?

My 96-year old mother keeps giving money to her 72 year old boyfriend. She is 300 miles away. How can I stop him/her? Mom is nearly blind and lives in her apartment and is now getting in-home aid 9 hrs a week, maybe more as she gets used to it. I have taken over her finances, but she still has a helper to write checks as the bills come in. Eventually, all the bills will come to me. I can't really take away her checkbook entirely, and anyhow, she'd get cash if she really wants to give this no-good boyfriend some money. She has given him $3800 in various amounts ove the last month. An order of protection will do no good, as she is psychologically dependent on him and calls him on her cell 5 times a day. Last check was for $2000 on Jan 26th.
Yanking her out of there and putting her in assisted living would be too cruel, but she drinks a bottle of wine a day, doesn't think too well.

She has credit cards, can't take them ALL away, either.

Any ideas where to start?
Status: Open    Feb 18, 2015 - 01:39 PM

Elder Law, Finance

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Expert Answers

Jul 06, 2016 - 03:51 PM

Has your Mom ever appointed a Power of Attorney? If so, that person may be able to work with her bank to change the destination of all new debit card and check mailings. You can destroy the ones she has and give her a TrueLink card which would allow the POA to limit the places she can 'shop'. You would probably have to lock down her credit through the credit bureaus: Trans Union, Experian, and Equifax, to prevent her from opening new accounts.

You may always be patching the hole in the xxxx , but it may help. It depends on how resourceful she is! Just be aware that if she is still legally competant, she can fire her POA.

APFM Staff Answers

Feb 27, 2015 - 08:40 AM

Since your mom is living alone and you are physically so far from her and concerned (and rightfully so), I may suggest a geriatric care manager (GCM). Some are fee for service and some can offer their service on a fee for service. They are basically professionals who are their adult child's eyes and ears.

If your mom has any possible signs of memory loss aside from her vision loss, then there are other concerns you should think about. Such as, is she really making good judgement for herself? People with memory loss or dementia need loved ones to help them in their daily lives, whether by a professional such a a GCM. Better yet, mom may benefit from moving to a more supportive environment that offers socialization and stimulation. Whether she has memory loss or not. Drinking a bottle of wine a day sounds like a sign of alcoholism which a major factor and cause of dementia.

Many seniors give away money because they feel they are "helping" and sometimes they are giving money against their better judgement because they are bored or have lack of judgement due to dementia. I may suggest speaking to a Senior Living Advisor with A Place for Mom to start planning for a Plan B in case mom cannot take care of herself in the future. She is drinking a bottle of wine a day to pass the time, by herself, maybe there is some depression there as well. Socialization and stimulation would benefit your loved one whether she agrees or not, I suggest getting some professionals involved to help you help her one way or another.

It's wonderful you are reaching out now, as it shows you care about her. Too many seniors that start "giving away money" too freely, professionally speaking, sends a red flag to professionals in the field, that there maybe possible memory loss going on. If there is memory loss, then I would suggest taking full responsibility for paying her bills if you can. If there is no memory loss, then there is not much you can do to help other than hire a GCM or just continue to voice your concern to your mom that you worry about her and her financial wellbeing. If she is making poor decisions and has no memory loss, then there is not much legally you can do unless she is physically hurting herself or has the potential to hurt others.

Oh, and one more thing, have you actually seen an assisted living? What is so cruel about it? They are cruise ships that don't move with care. :-) Your mom can worry about when the next happy hour is versus trying to keep up with household chores and bills paying....

I hope this helps.

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Q: What is a Professional Geriatric Care Manager?
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