In 2015 my older brother Miguel (the good and honest one) called me and asked if he and his wife could come for Thanksgiving and also suggested that we fly my mother out since we hadn’t seen her in a couple of years. When I went to pick her up at the airport I was shocked at what I saw. As my cousin had stated, she was frail and was skin and bones. As many of you know there comes a point in your life where the roles get reversed and you become the parent and your parent becomes the child. This is a role that my brother and I took on out of necessity but mostly out of love for this beautiful woman. She weighed all of 74 lbs. and we saw that her memory was failing badly. After she had gotten back from visiting she called me to see if I could send her the monthly check as she was having difficulties making ends meet (In my last post I mentioned that she would tell me that the money I was sending her was going into her savings, by this time I had sent her approximately $3800 over the prior year). I sent her the money and then my older brother called stating that she had called him as she was overdrawn on her checking account. He sent her $500 and told her to go to her bank and call him when she got there. The bank stated that she had maxed out her overdraft and when we asked her why, she stated she had paid off a loan she had gotten a couple of years earlier but could not remember what it was for. Again, I asked “You aren’t giving your money to Sam (Sam Hornedo my younger brother) are you?” She told me “No” and that she does not have money to give. It turns out that she was lying either out of shame or to protect my younger brother. What we found out in the next couple of months was astonishing, sickening and sad. Stay tuned…..
If you suspect a senior is being financially abused, report the situation to the proper authorities, who can then make a decision about whether or not to investigate. Every state has at least one toll-free number—either an elder abuse hotline or an elder abuse helpline—to call to when elder abuse is suspected.
Some states, such as California, have an Elder Abuse Act to provide remedies for elders who’ve been financially abused. Some links below: