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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

When elder abuse happens in plain sight, families still feel powerless to stop it

I recently read an article about the realities of elder financial abuse that I highly recommend to readers with aging parents. It's from Australia, but the issues are the same here in Canada. The article, which you can read by clicking here, talks about a family who discovered that their Mom was being financially abused by a grandson but they had no way to stop it because the Mom willingly gave the grandson money.

This raises the issue of whether it's abuse if the person agrees to give money. It's their money, right? Can't they do what they want with it? But if you look a little deeper, you find out facts that change the picture. For instance, in the article mentioned here, the Mom gave the grandson so much money that she had nothing left to pay her fees at the care home where she lived, and he ate through her entire life savings, about $300,000 in total, leaving her with absolutely nothing.

I do take issue with one part of the article, however. The Mom now has an Enduring Power of Attorney in effect. The daughter who has the POA could shelter the rest of the money by ensuring that the Mom did not have access to it. While that may seem cold to the Mom, at least it would disrupt the pattern of financial abuse and perhaps the grandson would leave Mom alone. The daughter with the POA has said in the article, and I agree, that there is no point trying to recover money that has already been taken by the grandson because that has already been spent. But I think she could exercise her power under the POA to stop him from coming back.


  1. My mom had 178,000 after my brother Errol and my sick brother Mark were given much of this money as she smiles lies and bragged about how much money she has.She prepared the truck promised to Errol who gets money monthly from her account by playing on sympathetic pathetic ways of my mother tends to my brothers wants and how she feel sorry for the complainers and forks out thousands of cash.
    I didn't think it was going down like this.
    I borrow money I pay it back and she doesn't forget when I get 5 bucks from her ?
    She might be receiving more soon and I hope she isn't careless again.What can I do she has a form of dementias ?

    1. I can't really tell from your question whether your mom voluntarily gave away her money, or whether she was influenced to do so by your brothers. It may not be easy for you to tell, either, since this is not a simple situation.

      If your Mom does have dementia and is frittering her money away because she doesn't understand it, or because she is being pressured or tricked, then you have two options.

      The first option is that if your Mom has ever signed a Power of Attorney, it can be called into action and the person named in it can look after your Mom's money. To be clear, if she has dementia now, she cannot sign a POA now.

      If your Mom has dementia but has never signed a POA, someone can apply to the court to be appointed as her trustee to look after her money and other assets.



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