Neglect & Financial Abuse by a family member

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Action on Elder Abuse 5 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #5147 Reply

    Lisa Robson

    I need some advice , my mother suffered a stroke & an extension of the same stroke within weeks of each other a few months back. Prior to this she was fully independent. The stroke affected her right side & memory , the first stroke was only small & she was expected home after a week and was recovering amazingly, sadly she took the extension & it set her back massively & the memory problems were vastly worse. She was also diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes & AF. We all decided ,as a family , to care for her at home without a care package. My brother quit his job , he was living there already after his marriage broke down & said he’d claim Carers allowance and be named as the main carer.Things seemed to work initially but within a month or so I started having doubts …I couldn’t comprehend how she was so different with me & my sister in our care but when in his she lacked motivation , was depressed & just want to lay in bed. I do appreciate tiredness and depression could have been as a result of the stroke but she was so very different with us. Currently shes got her mobility back but her memory is still very poor , constantly repeating , forgetting & confused. Her long term memory is brilliant but her short term & working memory is shot !I have spoken to the Stroke Team re my concerns about Dementia as in my opinion I do feel she is displaying signs of post stroke Dementia. Months ago my suspicions kept at me , my rota’d days to sleep were a tuesday & wed and on them days I went shopping for her. She’d been in hospital nearly 4 weeks so her benefits had accumulated, however when she was discharged she had no idea of her pin number and it took us a further few weeks to resolve. The money just seemed to be disappearing from 1 week to another but because I had no knowledge of her outgoings I assumed it to be bills as I knew she paid everything via direct debits. Time went on and she began getting texts from her bank re being overdrawn. My brother kept insisting that she had to watch her spending and not to go mad on food shopping, this made me feel bad , as if I was doing wrong and so for a period I left him to buy in what he felt was appropriate. People started to notice and tell me how there was little food in the house. On another occasion she was overdrawn again so I decided to set up online banking for her benefit & for ours too in order to gain insight into what was coming out and when. Never in my wildest did I expect to see so many large amounts taken from her bank over months. My gut instincts sadly had been right , I approached him and he didn’t once deny it , he’d taken the money as he’d been in severe problems with a drug dealer and had a long running debt & they were threatening to go to my mams. Hes had a long history of alcohol & substance abuse but we’ve never spoken in over 5 years & from what mam had been telling me ( pre stroke ) I genuinely thought he had sought help for these matters and was in recovery. I never believed he could stoop so low, hes drinking badly again, he hasn’t paid her 1p back, hes still using her card weekly for alcohol & tobacco and there is never any food in. Shes being left for long periods and often overnight ( we have only been made aware of this ) She has a nomad tray for her meds but if shes not supervised or prompted she wont take them or take them incorrectly. Her home resembles steptoes backyard & its soul destroying. Im there daily now and cook her meals to take for her so I know shes eating. Mam knows she hasn’t given him permission to take this money ( I had to explain it to her as she kept getting calls from the bank ) she cant work out how hes doing it & insists shes not giving him the card but she has done & ive witnessed it ,hes going supposedly for shopping, spending a measly amount on food and getting cash back , currently id say its approaching 1k. He works a few days a week but claims carers & income support, the days he isn’t working hes at his girlfriends. I have put care in place now so shes never left with him , I tried to change her pin via a cashpoint last week but it was out of order, I could ring the bank but if its posted out then he has access to it as he opens her mail. Can some one pleasehelp me with this, im losing sleep with worry. I genuinely think this is neglect and financial abuse

  • #5169 Reply

    We understand that situations as such can be difficult to witness.

    You can report concerns of abuse (including financial), neglect or harm to the Adult Safeguarding team within your mother’s area/authority. Provided your mother is open to accepting their help, they may be able to intervene further. Their details can be found on the website of the local authority she lives in.

    If your mother needs assistance with dealing with her financial affairs, you may want to discuss the possibility of registering a Power of Attorney. This can allow your mother’s finances to be managed formally and the individual/s who obtain Power of Attorney are accountable to the Office of the Public Guardian.
    Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney/overview

    We would also suggest you discuss any concerns in regards to your mother’s health and wellbeing to her GP.

    Action on Elder Abuse

  • #5233 Reply

    Ray Westney

    It’s a criminal offence and the Police should take action. The CPS has issued a protocol on dealing with cases of Elder Abuse (google it) but as usual, the theory is fine, the practice is awful. very often the last person who will complain is the victim him/herself, and Mr Plod is only too happy to avil himself and do nothing. It’s no wonder ‘Baby P’ cases occur. The powers are there, the will to use them isn’t.

  • #6048 Reply

    Heather

    I am sorry to hear about your situation Lisa , I have just had a shock tonight as I have found out my dad who has dementia has had money taken out of his savings account by my mum who is my dads main carer. Its a difficult one as she pays all the household bills and only gets 600.00 per month she is a pensioner and my dad gives her 120.00 a month from the carers allowance but was keeping 100.00 out if it for himself this was agreed by them when my dad had mobility problems but not dementia. My mum buys all the food for the home also. I have warned her with the police as this happened before when my dad was in a better mindset and he admonished her for it but now with his dementia he doesn’t really understand. My mums under a lot of pressure and displite this she is very good with him and caring I am hoping to get Power of atternoy but it depends if my dad can agree. In the meantime I have requested weekly mini statements from both his bank accounts. I feel sick and can’t concentrate tonight as I feel torn between the two parents I love.

    • #6129 Reply

      We can appreciate it must be difficult to address abuse when family members are perpetrating the abuse.
      Rest assured you are doing what you can having spoken to your mother, attempted to involve police and considering asking your father to grant you Power of Attorney.
      We always encourage individuals to take care of their own mental health and well being in the process.
      If you wish to speak to one of the Helpline team, please call in on 080 8808 8141.

      We did our best to make sure the information in this forum post was correct when we posted this response. We do not provide legal advice and we cannot be held responsible for any mistake or missing information, or for any action you take or fail to take as a result of the information in this response.

  • #6172 Reply

    Dawn

    I work as a carer. I go to a lady of 96 years, who has lost a good deal of her sight. More often than not this lady has very little, or no food/ milk in the house, and can be left for a few days in this situation. Basics like toilet paper and cleaning products are non existant, her home is very shabby,untidy and has a very unpleasant smell. The lady never has any money. The lady has one daughter only, who when we try to contact never answers the phone, or returns calls or responds to our concerns. When food is taken in to the lady it is very minimal, and on occassions looks to be left overs. What can I do to help this lady.

    • #6219 Reply

      Hi Dawn,

      We understand that this can be very difficult to witness.

      We would suggest making a safeguarding referral which is the process of reporting a concern of abuse or neglect. In order to do this, you would need to get in touch with the Adult Safeguarding team within her local authority. Provided she is open to receiving their help or she lacks mental capacity they may be able to intervene further as they have a duty to protect vulnerable adults.

      Their details can be found on the website of the local authority the lady resides in.

      Please note, you can make a referral anonymously.

      Charity Registered in England/Wales -1140543
      Charity Registered in Scotland – SC046278
      Company No : 7290092

      We have done our best to ensure that the information in this repsonse was correct at the time of posting. We do not provide legal advice and we cannot be held responsible for any mistake or missing information, or for any action you take or fail to take as a result of the information in this email.

  • #8243 Reply

    Tricia

    I am so shocked by all of these awful stories. My own situation is that, around 7 years ago, my elderly mother had large amounts of cash being taken from both her sheltered apartment,the cash machine and from purchases online. Eventually through CCTV the police discovered that it was one of my nephews. Mother refused to press charges. He then continually visited Mother even late at night because he ‘didn’t have the fare home or food money’. She paid for bus fares, fish and chip suppers, did his laundry – at the age of 87, and whilst she was in bed at night he had the gas fire on all night, used the phone and had TV and computer games loudly playing. Eventually she could no longer cope. I moved from the coast to be closer to care for her.
    Three years ago my sister ‘borrowed’ three thousand pounds for replacement windows. That was repaid over two years.
    However, two years ago 3k disappeared again from Mother’s account and it was my sister needing help. Not repaid!
    Three months before mum died, fifteen months ago, my brother and the same sister visited mum and helped themselves to cheques of £20k each from mum, saying it was a gift. Mum was almost blind and could not fill in the amounts – my brother did that part.
    Just days before mother died in hospital 15 months ago, my brother gained access to her new apartment (not having a key) and removed her personal file, her Will, bank statements etc. without permission or knowledge of mum.
    Since then he has made himself executor, failed to correspond with my other sister and myself and not only have they received £20k already but are in for another 25% cut of the balance of the estate. My solicitor has gotten nowhere with letters but state that it is a conflict of interest. Neither will they agree to the remainder of the ‘gift’ ie. £17000 being included in the estate assets as per government guidelines.
    At my wits end with it all, so regards to you all in the same boat.

    • #8349 Reply

      Sadly it is not uncommon for older people to be exploited financially by family members and those who are meant to be closest to them.

      Unfortunately when an individual has mental capacity (the ability to make decisions without any impairment to the mind/brain) the authorities will want to establish whether the individual believes that there is a problem, and will not be able to pursue a case when the individual themselves states that everything is fine or refuses to disclose their concerns. It is extremely difficult to prove coercion/manipulation without the victims disclosure and willingness to do something about the situation.

      In such situations where the elderly individual has passed away, the only option would be to seek legal advice on whether to pursue a civil case or not. It would be necessary to collate as much evidence as possible to support your case.

  • #8641 Reply

    Cathy

    3 years ago after a relative was extremely ill in hospital I was asked to collect some things from his property. Though I was in regular contact with them I had never been allowed inside. When I went I was so shocked at the conditions they were living in along with social services I arranged for him to go into a care home while I applied for power of attorney to sell the property to fund their care so they could be looked after properly. Then a step-child returned from abroad removed him from the care home without leaving a forwarding address. 2years after this we found out that they had died back at the property in a fire(due to the condition, there was no electric and they had used candles)it then appears they had written a will in the step-child’s favour. Also their bank account was empty before the fatal fire. The step-child says he wanted to return to the property and as they had mental capacity there was nothing they could do to stop it.
    To me this all adds up to elderly/financial abuse/neglect but without £££’s to pay for legal advise who do I go to for someone to look into it?

    • #8650 Reply

      We are sorry to hear about the loss of your family member in such tragic circumstances and we understand your concerns about what happened and the events that led up to this. The best course of action for yourself would be to obtain legal advice on this matter and to hand over any evidence you may have that substantiates your suspicions. There is a a legal service called Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) who can give you a half an hours free consultation. If you decide to go ahead with legal action you will however incur legal fees. SFE is an independent, national organisation of lawyers, such as solicitors, barristers, and chartered legal executives who provide specialist legal advice for older and vulnerable people, their families and carers.

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