Interesting that "child abuse" is named not for the perpetrator (criminal) but rather for the (child) victim.
Abuse is not just something that "happened" to me as a child - the abuser did what happened to me.
Likewise, as an "old" person - again I am becoming vulnerable to Financial abuse (of old people) as well as other forms of abuse.
Not only children are "vulnerable" but day by day "we" become more and more "Vulnerable."
Rarely in my life have I lived on the basis of fear. Usually reacting with fear produces catastrophic or disastrous results.
What triggered this set of thoughts is that at the end of my night dreams my wallet was missing!
My own father Cornelius died in July 1988 when he was age 72 (in a few days I turn 70). He inherited some money from his father who died in 1979 at age 92. A neighbor who lived less than two miles "up the road" Borrowed over $30,000 from my father who probably felt free to talk about what he had and was (in whatever mental condition) "generous" and giving. As far as I know the neighbor never had any intention of repaying him. It would be one thing to know (and expect) that in advance. After my father's death, my mother (who was seven years younger) made attempts to collect (in settling the estate) but as far as I know, never collected "a penny." On the other hand, I have read someone say that after an economic catastrophe (think 1929 "crash") the only money assets a person (speaking) still had what what they had given away! In that sense, ... We eight children (I am firstborn) at the funeral service that July stood together and sang a favorite song (in the church) of my father's: Will There Be any Stars in My Crown ("when at evening the sun go-eth down").
BoBraxton, thanks for starting a discussion thread. This is a very important topic to discuss and I hope others have input, as well.
"man cons senior citizen" age 34 - charged with felony theft and using deception, intimidation and undue influence to steal from a vulnerable adult. (Washington Post, 16 August - week ago).
I am pretty pissed at my 2 younger brothers. They are taking advantage of my mother who has dementia. She has retired in the Philippines and my 2 brothers just took her retirement savings (about $180,000) over the past 3 years. They feel that they are entitled to it. They pretended to borrow $60,000 at first with the promise to return in after 2 years. They never did return it. Instead, they took some more, and we brothers (3 of us) in the US just got shut off - they refuse to communicate with us after they stole the money. I talked to a lawyer in the Philippines. I want to go the 'legal' route and do something about it, but the lawyer I talked to is a bit cautious since we are not in the Philippines and they are. Greed sucks!
"we" are beginning to take pre-emptive action: 1) paying off mortgage of 50-year friend in Kenya (a gift from "us"); 2) making it possible for 67 year old (2nd) brother to pay off NC mortgage (August this year) - also a gift; 3) similar gift to our only offspring (and family) considering buying a vehicle (for school and activities car-pooling). For a time I commuted (shared ride) with someone who grew up in India (Asia). She told a story of a village put under seige. When once the attacking force entered (breaking in the gates) they found - nothing - the inhabitants had destroyed everything so there was nothing for the attackers. This also reminds me of multiple incursions into Russia where the defense was to destroy (burn) and retreat, thus starving the encroaching army, which had no food or support / supplies to continue ahead indefinitely. Perhaps it is not only "more blessed" to give than to receive - but perhaps a pre-emptive strategy. Actually I was thinking more of myself as the "old" and not my mother (soon age 91) and her generation.
My MIL became a widow and lived alone in her beloved long-time home for 8 years. We convinced her to (reluctantly) sell her home which ensured her financial security for the rest of her life, no matter how long she lives - and she stands an excellent chance of living to 100 or more.
She moved in with us and we discovered her slight forgetfulness was mild dementia. Not bad, but leaving her alone was not a good idea (dementia increases anxiety). We insisted upon changing her lawyer to a better one specializing in elder law, updating all her legal docs as a requirement for her to live with us. Over time we changed her doctors and financial advisors to be closer to our home; they are also far more competent than the ones she used to have.
A couple of years ago she began losing track of cash and finding it increasingly difficult to deal with her checking/savings and the (very few) bills. My spouse reluctantly took over her affairs (I already handle all of ours). She fought us a bit on this but we insisted, and she finally gave in. We now handle all her financial and legal affairs, although we have not needed to petition a court to take formal legal authority as my DH is co-trustee on all accounts except her IRA.
My involvement is limited to directing the CFP firm; I approve the investment allocations and decide on the distribution amounts she needs. We did a lot of research and crunched numbers when we decided she had to go into a facility where she would receive full-time attention and better socialization than we could offer her. Then we ran the final numbers past the CFP firm, got the go-ahead, and managed the move to a wonderful nearby facility.
All of this was still a lot of trouble even though the timeline was long and we were as prepared as possible It is impossible to eliminate the arguments, the unhappiness over the slightest changes, the insistence that "I'll know when the time is right." We were not saints through this process. I was the one who insisted she had to finally leave because I was actually afraid my husband would have another stroke if he had to keep dealing with her.
He loves her and she is a very sweet person, but dementia (which she does not acknowledge she has) makes her stubborn, fearful, and easily confused. If we were not handling her affairs, she would be the poster child for a senior easily scammed. Smile at her, learn her name, greet her in a friendly way a few times, and she thinks you're her best friend, totally trustworthy.
She grew up in a time when doors were unlocked and people cared about what others thought of them (small-town attitude). She is completely unsuited to today's complex, fast-changing, laissez-faire world.
I can really relate to your story because my husband is also caring for his mother in a nursing home. She's 95, has moderate to mild dementia and would be completely lost without his assistance. Fortunately her basic personality is more cheerful and cooperative than your mother in law. She agrees to essentially everything he asks of her, and he has power of attorney. She often seems to forget he's her son, and thinks he's her husband. Before she lost her independence, I convinced her to move her money out of a typical "full service" rip off investment company to another one which offers much better service at lower cost. We simplified her investments and got a much higher return. If we'd not done that she'd be living on medicaid now. We've never had her live with us, thank goodness. I don't think that would have worked out very well even when she was in better mental health. In some ways, dementia is a relief, because it just never occurs to how much the nursing home costs. She used to be very very careful spending her limited savings.
Of my mother's eight children, third to last hosts her in a spacious home in NC.
very helpful (for me). Thanks.
An excellent article just appeared in the NYTimes on this subject (NYTimes allows a limited number of free stories every month):
Financial Schemes Against the Elderly Are Increasing
nytimes, Your Money/Retiring, Sept 5, 2014
(Excerpt)...Financial crimes against elders are taking a toll on lives and pocketbooks. And trusted caregivers — the friends and relatives who offer support and guidance — are often the ones at fault, according to legal and financial specialists. The over-65 segment is expected to grow to 20 percent of the total United States population by 2050 from 13 percent today, according to the Census Bureau, and financial abuse is expected to rise in tandem, draining hard-won retirement money.
I'd also like to direct your attention to a recent blog post about a similar topic: Protect yourself against pension scams
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