Our father is a victim of financial elder abuse.

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 29, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My dad has been in an assisted living home since July 2007. My mom has passed away, and dad has had several strokes. He also has dementia. One of the caregivers in the home started spending a lot of time in my dad's room. She gave him an expensive coat and watch. We voiced our concern to the manager and the caregiver was moved to another wing. But that did not stop her. Even after the family told her to leave Dad alone she kept it up. She was finally fired because they found out she was not a certified CNA.

She kept calling my dad and told him that his children got her fired and that she needed money for rent and other things. We found out that she had had an aunt pick dad up and take him to the bank to withdraw money for her. I finally took it to the police where she was charged with obtaining property by false pretenses and manipulation and abuse of the elderly. We are still waiting to go to court.

She had convinced my dad that she would help him move back home and she would take care of him. She has turned my dad against the family and his friends. Everything Dad has is in a non-revokable trust that is used only for his care. She has gotten senior services to help my dad get a lawyer to get control of all his assets. The family is at our wits' end.

How does senior services justify doing this when we are only trying to protect our father? It is not about any assets. We have told Dad that if he wanted to donate everything to a worthy cause then we would see that it is done. We don't know what else to do. This girl has taken our father from us. Dad is eighty-six and she is thirty-one. Please give us some direction to turn in. What can we do to protect him?

Expert Answers

Carolyn Rosenblatt, R.N. and Attorney is the author of author of The Boomer's Guide to Aging Parents. She has over 40 years of combined experience in her two professions. As a nurse, she has extensive experience with geriatrics, chronic illness, pain management, dementias, disability, family dynamics, and death and dying. As a trial attorney, she advocated for for the rights of injured individuals and neglected elders. She is also co-founder of AgingParents.com.

This is a sad and distressing situation. I'm am sorry that your family and your father have been victimized by this abuser. I suggest that there may be civil, as well as criminal remedies available to your family, depending on where you live. First, you might consider consulting an elder law attorney who deals with financial abuse issues and find out if you can get a restraining order against the abusive former caregiver. She is out to do anything she can to get your Dad's money, and the criminal court may move too slowly to stop her right now. Civil courts do have power to issue restraining orders but the laws vary from state to state, and what can be done depends on a number of factors. Next, I suggest that you find someone your father trusts, such as a friend, clergy member, doctor, his estate planning lawyer, or other to assist your family in starting a conversation with your Dad about the relationships with all of his kids. If you can begin to spend time at all in effort to re-establish trust among family, it's a start. You can seek the advice of a professional, such as a psychologist, social worker, or other mental health professional to guide you. Your father's behavior may be a part of changes in his judgment due to illness, dementia, or other conditions. If he can be persuaded to have a complete examination of his mental status, it could help. Medication might be needed to help if a treatable condition is diagnosed. In the meantime, stay in close touch with the district attorney who is prosecuting the case against the abuser and let him or her know that the abuse is ongoing. Perhaps the criminal court can take steps to stop her from having access to your father also, while you are awaiting her trial or next step in the criminal prosecution of the matter. A court order to prevent contact could also be issued by the criminal court judge.