Elder Abuse… is in the house

This is a story of an elderly woman. She is a retired teacher. She kind of lives alone if it were not for the unemployed 60 year old man, an acquaintance from church and a woman acquaintance from church, also in her sixties, who moved in.

Her thirty something unemployed grandson took it upon himself to move in too under the auspices of being her caregiver. He charged her $500 a week.  I think that covers the interlopers.

Now when the non-rent paying acquaintance/interloper from church wanted to oust the grandson, also a non- paying interloper because they feared he was financially abusing this nice old lady, they called in the big guns AKA Susan B. Geffen. If it were not for the woman herself pleading for my help on the phone I would have simply suggested for them to call the police.

I left my family at our weekly farmer’s market visit and rushed to her aid. When I arrived the elderly woman was shaking and so frightened that I had one of the interlopers call the police. Her grandson was on the way and I had no idea what I was walking into. It seemed as if everyone was interested in being protective of all, but her.These interlopers were stakeholders.

If they had their way I would have been their pawn; the one that collaborated and conspired to isolate this vulnerable old woman. Instead, she hired me to protect her. She now has a fiduciary handling her financial affairs and a geriatric care manager, me, coordinating her care.

I know you are wondering, “doesn’t she have any family?”

She had four daughters, three of whom are no longer alive. Her other daughter, the grandson/interloper’s mother, packed up and moved to Texas two years ago, leaving her mother, my client an 86 year old woman to fend for herself. Before she left for Texas, she had been living with my client in my client’s home, rent-free, with her son the interloper. My client had previously told the grandson interloper that she did not want him living there.

As soon as this daughter caught wind of the fact that the jig was up and that the fox, her interloper, unemployed, homeless, new to the care giving profession son was no longer guarding the henhouse, she flew to California to “care” for her mother. She then proceeded to try and round up a lynch mob to accuse me of undue influence because a person, other than one of her family members, is handling her mother’s finances and healthcare.

When she arrived at my client’s home, my client immediately asked her to leave and gave her a check for her airfare on the spot.  To confirm that her mother was not being unduly influenced, the daughter had her best friend come over to speak with my client who reiterated her desire for her daughter to return to from whence she came.

Could someone please call my client’s daughter and ask her if SHE knows what medications her mother is taking and when her next doctor visit is and whether she can manage her bills or whether there is a strange man living with her mother? If you did, she would not be able to answer any of these questions. She would just want to know if the will had been changed.

That has been the predominant question either directly or in a roundabout fashion from every family member who has crawled out of the woodwork to harass me.

Not one person is interested to learn that their mother/grandmother was precariously close to a critical hospital stay before I arrived. Now she is getting up and off the couch without assistance. She is smiling and laughing once again. Her medications are being managed, she has professional home caregivers in her home and most, if not all of the riffraff are gone.

My client has given me the authority to record her and show a video of her for educational purposes. I hope to add that video link to my next newsletter so look for it. I want everyone to see what it is like for an older adult to be scared and feel vulnerable and then witness the transformation that can occur by feeling hopeful with the aid and presence of good professionals.

Elder Abuse Statistics

-Seventy percent of the nation’s net worth is owned by those aged 50 or older. This makes seniors a rich target.

-Forty percent of all reported elder abuse cases involve financial exploitation.

-Estimates indicate that only 1 in 25 cases of elder financial abuse is reported.

-There may be as many as 5 million elders victimized by financial exploitation each year.

Sources: National Fraud Information Center, National White

Collar Crime Center, U.S. Department of Justice/Bureau of

Justice Statistics, and the National Center on Elder Abuse, Senate Special Committee on Aging.