How can I stop my brother from draining my mother's bank account?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

My 53 year old brother has a drug and alcohol problem. He is unwilling to work and is trying to get disability, He does not have a home and talks my 88 year old mother into giving him money which supports his habits. She has depleted her savings account and says that she will give him her social security money if need be. How can I get this to stop?

Expert Answers

Brenda Avadian, brings knowledge, hope, and joy to family caregivers for loved ones with Alzheimer's and dementia. She cared for her father with Alzheimer's and helps families one-on-one and in groups. She is the author of eight books, including the pioneering memoir "Where's my shoes?" My Father's Walk through Alzheimer's and the Finding the JOY in Alzheimer's series. She presents vivid, compelling, and funny keynotes to both professional and family caregiving audiences.

There are three steps you can take to stop your brother from draining your mother's bank account.

The first is to spend as much time as you can with your mother in order to gain her confidence and trust. Once you have both, you can try to talk sense to her; assuming she is of sound mind.

However there is nothing stronger than a parent's need to help a child in need even if he doesn't deserve it. Sadly, this happens all too often and my heart goes out to you.

Second, you can call Adult Protective Services on the grounds that your mother being financially abused by your brother. They will assess the situation and possibly involve law enforcement.

Finally, you can have your mother declared incompetent if she is. Then you can manage her finances and close the pipeline to your brother's habit. However, I have a feeling she will not be happy with you for interfering, which leads me back to the first tip.