The Worst Excuse For Not Protecting A Vulnerable Parent

Please Share

 This one shocked me.  

elderrageman-229x300Here at we’ve been hearing elder abuse tales for a long time, but I was stunned when I heard this.
A family of 3 siblings has been worried  about their widowed father, who lives alone in the country. He is very comfortable, but not extremely wealthy.  6  years ago he got sucked into an internet scam.  He believes he has been sending money to refugees in Africa and he is going to get a lot back soon as a reward.  He is completely addicted to the contact with the scammers. They send him 50 of emails a day. He is mesmerized.  This seems to be his social life.
His daughters are worried and have of course, tried to talk him out of it.  By their calculations he has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to the scammers.  When I heard about this a year ago, I offered them several alternatives.
One was to have a family meeting of the siblings to develop a unified strategy and to do so immediately.  We could be there to facilitate it.
Another was to do an intervention to attempt to get him to commit to a change of authority over the partnership that controls his wealth. That is a service we can provide at  We were ready to go.
Another was to use the legal means they already have to begin to get funds away from their father to protect him from eventually depleting everything.  Some funds were in a partnership and their father had agreed to give up control to the partnership but had failed to follow through.
There is one sibling with leadership, who made the first call. However she did not follow up for a year. When she called more recently, things had not improved, Dad had lost even more money and he was developing more signs that he needed help with his life beyond money.  Alternatives were again offered, this time with more immediacy. A crime is underway and they are still not doing what needs to be done to stop the abuse.
This time, they are “thinking about it”.   One sister reportedly wants to “give Dad a chance” to stop giving away his money on his own. I would call that a very ineffective plan.
We do know that financial elder abuse costs our elders $2.9B per year, every year.  Scenarios like the one here are part of it. Every family needs to be aware and every family needs a better plan than this family had.  If they want to watch Dad’s money flow into the hands of criminals, they can keep doing as little as they are doing.  If they want to bring it to a halt, it will take a very assertive plan of action and the will to carry it out.
Our courts are interested in protecting elders from such abuse and are willing to grant family members the power they need to stop abuse if all other efforts fail. Guardianship (conservatorship in CA) is a legal way to get control over finances so an elder won’t keep being abused. An aging person does not have to be incompetent to be a victim of elder abuse. Judges can grant guardianship (conservatorship) over just the money and not the person if that is what the lawyer and family request.  A court looking at how an internet scam drained several hundred thousand dollars from an elder would likely meet the standard the court would need to grant the guardianship to protect the financial safety of the father in this case.
What stopped this family from taking steps to impose control or, failing that, to seek conservatorship?  They didn’t want to offend their father.  I was appalled.  If they don’t think he would be offended by becoming destitute I guess that excuse would do.  In my book they were lacking the guts to do what was needed.
Every person with an aging loved one needs to be aware of the risks.  Isolated, lonely elders are at high risk. The scammers are extremely good at hooking their victims, almost hypnotizing them.  If you have aging parents, remember, it can happen to anyone.
Get advice at when you have a loved one, especially with any memory problems. The memory problems go hand in hand with loss of financial judgment.
Until next time,

We are always here to help you through the many challenges in life, you can always take advantage of our Free complimentary telephone meeting. Just click HERE provide us with some information about your questions or issues and we will schedule our meeting.

Tiny URL for this post:

Please Share
3 comments on “The Worst Excuse For Not Protecting A Vulnerable Parent
  1. Nancy Zacharias says:

    Many seniors are embarrassed to let others know that they have been scammed OR they simply think they are helping people in poor countries who are in dire need. My advice to children of elder parents is to be proactive. Go to their banking institution with their parents to make sure that no large amount of money is drawn from the parents’ account unless a family member is aware of it before giving out the money. My daughter & son-in-law names are placed on my account even though I am still functional. Should I write a check over $1,000, the credit union will call my home or verify it with my family. This I like, because it gives me a modicum of protection from predators. I am taking further steps this week to remove practically all monies from my checking account to another financial agency where one has to have a code to enter that account but at the same time will give me a modest amount of interest over 4%. At the present, this is the best that I can do since I can still handle my day-to-day finances & needs.
    To do nothing while a parent is been scammed is very uncaring to say the least.

  2. Roxane says:

    As a Case Manager, I have run into this many times. Elders, suspicious of my intentions, willingly give money to the “nice young man” at the door. Many times I’ve had to have the hard talk with the relatives.

    I don’t understand why the author did not go further, however. Anyone witnessing exploitation of an elder is a mandatory reporter. Never wait for the family, call Elder Protective Services or your state’s equivalent, the police, and possibly the state’s Attorney General. I usually go one step farther and insist upon a psychological evaluation to determine ability to make rational decisions. If the person has advanced dementia, or some other type of impairment, I make a referral to the county Public Guardian. That usually snaps the family into action.

JUST RELEASED “The Family Guide To Aging Parents”
Stack Of CashCheck out our latest website: click HERE to learn more
FREE Report: “One Critical Step You Must Take To Avoid Your Aging Parents Debts”
CLICK on the image Below
Testimonials by our readers
"Thank you for the article on the "grey area". It validated what I am currently going through with my Mother. It is so painful for me to go back and forth with her behavior. I just don't know what to do about the estranged sister who has exploited well over $50K of my mother's savings and my Mothers admitted " lack of "will power" to say no to her." Robert ________________________________ "I do want to thank you for the Webinar you offered. It helped me a great deal as I was facing the need to lead our family in finding a safe living situation for our mother. That information and the other information you offered as downloads gave me much needed guidance when I was feeling tremendous anxiety and uncertainty." Betty
FREE Report: 10 Warning Signs Your Aging Parent Needs Help With Money
Get Quick Tips – Newsletter FREE…. Just CLICK Below
  • What To Do When Your Aging Parent Is No Longer Safe Living Alone But Refuses To Move July 11, 2019
    What To Do When Your Aging Parent Is No Longer Safe Living Alone But Refuses To Move Carolyn Rosenblatt, RN, Elder law attorney, “My mom is not safe by herself but she refuses help!” “My dad can’t manage alone…Read more ›
    Carolyn Rosenblatt
  • Here’s The Newest Utility Bill Scam May 30, 2019
    Carolyn Rosenblatt, RN, Elder law attorney, We live in a county with a high number of older residents. A neighbor recently alerted all in our area to yet another scam she had encountered, targeting the unsuspecting. Here’s how it…Read more ›
    Carolyn Rosenblatt
  • A Remedy For Isolated Aging Parents April 30, 2019
    By Carolyn Rosenblatt, RN, Attorney, The U.S. Census Bureau projects that by 2060, nearly twenty-five percent of Americans will be age 65 and above.  At the same point, the number of people age 85 and older will triple. What will they…Read more ›
    Carolyn Rosenblatt
  • Warn Your Aging Parents About Fake “Social Security” Calls–They’re Scams April 10, 2019
    Carolyn L. Rosenblatt, RN, Elder law attorney, Scams targeting our aging loved ones never seem to stop. Thieves can fool the recipient of a call by showing a “real” number on caller ID with spoofing computer software. That’s a…Read more ›
    Mikol Davis
FREE Report: Mental Wellness Technique For Stress Relief