“Most financial abuse of the elderly is committed by people close to the person, typically family, friends or caregivers.”
The Los Angeles Times’ recent article, “To help elderly dad hold off mooching adult kids, call in the experts,” describes a common situation where an adult child is trying to protect the interests of his elderly father, by protecting him from other family members.
The son is trying to get his father to move out of his house to a senior care facility. The father has adequate financial assets to cover these costs. But the son’s two sisters' husbands overspend and are in debt. They pressure his sisters to ask their dad for money for their mortgages, children, and credit card debt.
The sisters, in their 50s, are unwilling financially or otherwise to assist with their dad’s care. The son told them that the financial assistance can’t continue, because their dad will need his money to pay for his own care.
The family pressure on the dad is really elder financial abuse. It involves milking an elderly, sympathetic parent to the point of evaporating his own accounts. In this case, both sisters have children, so the dad feels for them and helps them out. The son, who is his primary caregiver, is single with no children and is treated differently, struggling to make ends meet. This type of inequity and stress can split families apart. These family members may not see what they’re doing as abuse.
An Allianz Life Insurance Company survey found that the average victim lost $30,000 and one in 10 lost more than $100,000. Some family members believe they’re entitled to the money as an advance on a future inheritance. They also know that Dad won’t say no. Therefore, they keep pushing him for money, until it’s gone.
In this type of situation, the son and dad should visit with an elder law attorney to discuss ways the dad can be protected against predators. One option is for the dad to give his checkbook to the son. However, the son would then have to confront the brothers-in-law. The dad may also not be willing to give up control.
They could also hire a daily money manager to provide personal finance and bookkeeping services. These professionals monitor the senior’s financial transactions for signs of abuse and fraud. They also could hire a geriatric care professional to assess the dad’s health, his living and financial situations, and help him to design a plan that will help him to move forward.
Reference: Los Angeles Times (July 2, 2017) “To help elderly dad hold off mooching adult kids, call in the experts”