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My father is 83 years old and lives alone (about 100 miles away from me). My 3 brothers live within a few miles of him. Within the past four years we have noticed he has been slipping a little mentally – mostly forgetting small things like names, appointments, etc. Not nearly severe enough that he needs supervision, but his forgetfulness is becoming more frequent. He lives in a rural farming community. Our concern lies mostly with the relationships he has with some of his neighbors (all women, 20 to 40 years younger than him). These women are married but have an inappropriate interest in our father. One in particular brings him meals frequently, calls him constantly, stops by his house often, and overall acts like she cares about him as a friend. However, I have recently learned that over the years my father paid for her new well, new flooring, fees for horse shows her daughter enters, and several other things. The most recent incident that has put us all over the top involves this neighbor’s daughter. She talked our father into allowing Rainbow Company to demonstrate their vacuum in his home. He agreed to it, watched the demonstration, and then bought a $3,000 vacuum he does not need or want (his words). And in doing so, the daughter received her vacuum free because my father bought one (yes, I have contacted Rainbow and lodged a complaint). Regarding the other women, he has fixed numerous things in their homes (at his expense), bought one of them a Bose radio, bought another a plane ticket so she could visit her sister, repaired their cars, and the list goes on and on. We have all expressed our concerns with our father about him being taken advantage of by these women. He kind of brushes it off and changes the subject (I think because he is embarrassed). My dad is very intelligent and has lots of good friends and family. However, he is very naive when it comes to these women and their true intentions. The women all live in close proximity to each other and my father. The women don’t get along with each other, but they all have an inappropriate interest in my father. My brothers and I strongly believe these women have befriended him to get as much out of him financially as possible, and it’s working. I am joint on his checking account and recently discovered he is writing several checks totaling approximately $800 each month to charities, political organizations, and any organization that sends him junk mail requesting money. My brothers and I are sickened about how much he is throwing away on these women and on money-grubbing organizations. None of us have ever asked for or expected as much as a penny from our father. We are only interested in his wellbeing. But his slightly increased forgetfulness and recent health issues have us very concerned that things could quickly get out of control. My father recently appointed me as his Power of Attorney (medical POA too). However, there is nothing legally my brothers or I can do to stop his financial recklessness. We believe our best option at this point is to confront the women who are taking advantage of him. But how, since he technically is giving them everything voluntarily? He is being manipulated by them and cannot see it because he thinks they truly care about him. I know this is incredibly long, and I will be amazed if anyone actually takes the time to read my entire post. But if you did, thank you! I welcome any sound advice you can offer.

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I am on all of my fathers accounts and set up alerts on all of them. If any check over a certain amount tries to clear (I set the amount) I get a text asking me to confirm if it’s valid. If it isn’t, I say no and the check is rejected. I believe you can also set a maximum amount that he can take out of the ATM machine and use on his debit card. I also froze his credit so he can’t just take out a CC or loan. I did this because when he lost his license after his dementia dx (standard practice in CA) we hid the keys and he thought the car was broken so he just went out and bought another car. I had to make sure he couldn’t just go buy big things on credit anymore.

It sucks but you have to protect him from himself.
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Ella2021 Aug 1, 2022
Perfect answer.
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You say your father has lots of good friends and family. Where are they?
I've seen this sort of thing happen many times with old seniors. Especially men. Scheming women bringing by a hot meal and not out of the goodness of their hearts or for the sake of being neighborly. Then they start staying for coffee and conversation around the kitchen table. The mark is established and the scam commences.
Your father is lonely and that's why he's shelling out all this money. These women are despicable hustlers and scammers, but they're nice to him. They're company for him.
The good friends and family need to start putting in more time at the farm to make sure father isn't literally giving away the farm because some 40-year old country hoochie in Daisy Dukes and a halter top shows up with a fresh-baked pie.
Don't only be interested in his well-being. Be interested in the money too because it's just as important. They money is what will make the difference in your father getting good care when he needs it, or getting sub-par care because he can't afford it.
Get the money and assets tied up. This is started by someone getting POA. Get to it before Aunt Bea or Daisy Duke or any other hoochie of the county does.
Then you visit, not alone, each one's home, homestead, farm, cabin, or trailer. You make your point plainly so that you are understood. If there is one more dollar accepted from your father, you will unleash upon them a legal hell of biblical proportions. You will show them no mercy whatsoever and will see them in jail for elder abuse if they ask for or accept another cent from your father.
Go get the POA. Then tell all the good family and friends what's going on. Let them know that all of them need to start visiting the farm frequently. If they're unable, then they need to be calling daily and checking up on your father.
Loneliness is a terrible thing and many old folks will give away everything they have to someone who visits them and is nice to them. Don't let this happen anymore.
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Lydia01 Jul 27, 2022
I am his POA. I agree with your take on my father's situation. However, he does get frequent visits from true friends and family. He is very active and attends many functions, farm-related shows, dines out regularly, attends church often, etc. But he has a very unhealthy acceptance of these women that come around. I'm certain it is the flattery (which is not genuine) he feels from them that he likes. They have no shame and show up when we are at his home. We make them feel unwelcome and they leave. But as soon as we leave, they return. Growing up, he strongly discouraged my siblings and I from associating with people like this. And now, as he is aging, he is receptive of them. Maybe I can take you along on my visits with said neighbors. I like your approach. Thank you for your feedback.
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I agree with Grandma1954. If you're seeing some overt "slipping" then you're also not seeing the rest of the iceberg beneath the waters. My MIL "seemed forgetful" but when I went into her home and looked around, she was not taking her thyroid meds, not paying bills, not cleaning her home, not eating. We lived 6 miles from her. When I asked the social worker how we could have missed seeing her dire state, she said there is a thing called "Apparent Competency". This is when you ask someone with general questions and they can give your general answers, so they seem "fine". But when I was in the room while they administered the cognitive exam to her, she didn't know the date, who was President or what season we were in.

Please have your Dad tested. Make up a therapeutic fib to get him there and then discretely ask the staff to perform the cognitive exam because you've found signs that are worrisome. They'll be glad to do it. That's how I got my MIL diagnosed.

But today you should tell your Dad that because of "mailbox thefts" you're going to set up online banking for him. Then move the bulk of his money out of his checking and into a new saving account. Get him a new, very low balance credit card and one that doesn't get accepted at places very often (like AmEx). Get an Identity Theft package for him (like LifeLock). Gather all his sensitive paperwork, take pics of it so you know what he has, and put it in a locked fireproof safe and keep one of the keys. Get a password keeper and make online access for all his assets. Lock up his house title, car title, passport, and take a pic of his driver's license, vehicle VIN numbers. Check his accounts regularly. If he has online access...yikes...this is wherer the really professionals can suck him dry.

When I checked my MIL's checking account, she had over $900 in overdrafts. She had dozens of boxes of checkbooks because she kept misplacing them and reordering them.

Please get control of his assets since this is in his best interest, even though your PoA may technically not be active. Dementia robs a person's abilities of reason and logic bit by bit. It doesn't necessarily show up in the dementia test because they are looking for specific signs (memory, and drawing the clock face/time) but losing good judgement is definitely a symptom.

"My dad is very intelligent and has lots of good friends and family. However, he is very naive when it comes to these women and their true intentions."

No. He has the beginnings of dementia and it doesn't matter what anyone's IQ was during their life. Dementia is an equalizer. He's not naive, he's losing his ability to judge situations and people and is therefore less able to protect himself. This is why you need to start stepping in and being a "watchman". Dementia occurs on a slow, slide downward so at first you don't even realize it's happening and then all of a sudden a crisis occurs and its as if he had a fender bender that you're looking at (it's not that bad, right?) but then when you turn and look back you see car parts and skid marks that lead up to it. It was worse than you thought and there were signs of imminent problems.

"Soft theft" (like what his neighbor ladies are doing to him) is a crime of opportunity and there won't be any getting back of that money and no consequences for them in court. FYI the Rainbow Company should not be dragged into court because they have no way of judging if someone is "vulnerable". It would be illegal for them to turn down a customer as this would be "discrimination". It's the woman who is the thief, not the company. But I would return the vacuum and make a stink if they don't accept it back and tell them you'll give them a terrible online review.

Lock up his essentials right now: checkbooks, valuables in his home, prescription meds, etc. Make sure you go his banks with him and go through their PoA protocol. Bring your PoA paperwork to his doctors and clinics so they have it on file. You won't regret it
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Lydia01 Jul 27, 2022
Thank you for your response. I really like your advice about the 'mailbox theft' and setting up online banking. His doctor does have a copy of my dad's POA. You are also very accurate with your description of dementia. And I think that's what's happening. It is very frustrating that his physician has not gotten back with me regarding a cognitive assessment (I have asked twice and I just left another message). I will be on it until I get some feedback. Thank you again for your input and sound advice.
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Write a strongly-worded letter to the women suggesting that taking advantage of a vulnerable adult is a crime, and that your dad's expenditures are being carefully monitored as to where his money goes. It appears to you that an inordinate amount is going toward inappropriate purchases in their names. That might be enough to scare them off -- letting them know you're on to them.

You should also talk to the local police and ask their opinion on the subject. Alert them that a vulnerable adult lives in your dad's house and that you think there's some inappropriate stuff going on. The more people who know about it, the better.

You might also get two-signature requirements set up on his checking account, so he can't write one on his own. Time to start working with his bank on this -- I hope he uses a smallish bank that actually knows him and cares about his well-being.
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I would first get Dad checked for Dementia. A good physical will include Labs that will show any physical problems. A PCP can give a small test to see if Dementia is evident but sometimes if in early stages this can be passed. A Neurologist can determine Dementia by having an MRI done. If its found Dad is incompetent to make informed decisions, then ur POA kicks in.

I suggest that if Dementia is found, Dad be moved to where he can take advantage of resources available to him. I too wonder why you were assigned POA and not one of ur brothers who live closer. He will not be able to live alone. Even in early stages they lose the ability to reason and be reasoned with. Short-term memory is the first thing to go. Dementia is very unpredictable. One day they seem good the next day not so much. Its 24/7 care.

I would not say anything to the women until you find he has Dementia and you can take over his bank acct. I would then tell them that you now have control of his finances and because of that Dad will no longer be able to help them as he has been.

Medicaid for Long-term care, in most states, has a 5 year look back. This means that the money he has "gifted" these women can cause a penalty. The penalty is determined by how much money is involved. If he needs 24/7 care then someone pays for his care during the penalty period or they do the caring until the penalty period is up.
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Lydia01 Jul 27, 2022
I have asked his physician twice to perform a 'secret' mental health assessment. No response. I left another message today. The health care is in his area is lacking. You have raised some very good points and have given me some things to consider that I didn't think about before. I truly appreciate your sound advice and recommendations. Thank you!
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Lydia, I have a slightly different take on these kinds of situations. I think that older folks as they become less active and involved, and have less social opportunities to interact and feel good about themselves, tend to become more vulnerable to scams and exploiters, whether they're local women, accomplished scam artists, or even church people.

I think older people need more "feel good" activities; I see this in myself as I age.

I do have a question though: can your father actually write well enough to prepare the checks? If not, this is an opening for you.

What I did was sit down with my parent, go over the amounts donated to charity (exploitive women weren't involved though), then I looked up all the charities and told him how much the execs were being paid. He was appalled. He agreed that he would donate to specific legitimate charities, but none in which the execs were making more than $100K annually (actually a low threshold for execs).

This may not apply to your father, but it also became difficult to write checks that were legible (I'm seeing this myself as I age), I volunteered to pay the bills and make the donations, and that worked wonders for both of us.

We also made an event of it, going for rides and/or stopping at the Dairy Queen (a favorite!) to cap off the check writing decision event.

With your father and the local women, this of course is a different situation. I guess I have a different perspective as well b/c I don't see 100 miles as being so far that you couldn't visit him regularly, or on weekends. I drove over 100 miles regularly when my father was in rehab, so to me it's no big deal.

Perhaps if you or your brothers became more active in his life you could make check paying and donations an event, followed or preceded by a meal, some event he would enjoy, or just walking or driving around the neighborhood. The goal is to build up enough bonding that he looks forward to their visits, bonds, and lets them take over the donation functions as part of those visits.

But there's another aspect, and that's that the women exploit his goodness. So, turn that around. Make a list of not particularly pleasant chores they could do for him, such as cleaning bathrooms, driving him to and from medical appointments, etc. Try to create schedules, with chores for which they could volunteer.

Then mail or e-mail them and tell them that you're aware they've been beneficiaries of your father's generosity, and given that he's in need of some assistance, you feel it appropriate that they reciprocate his kindness, adding that he's literally already paid for their help.

I would even create a schedule, and ask them to complete it with the chores they can do, IN EXCHANGE for all the assistance he's provided them.

You and your brothers will have to get more involved though, and make it clear to these people that you will continue to be involved.

This could be tricky: you might also consider contacting the husbands and find a way to plant the seeds of their becoming too reliant on your father, and that you don't think this is appropriate. I.e., plant some hints that the husbands should get involved and corral their wives to spend more time with their own families.

This may not work. If it doesn't, and if I were in your place, I would then either do it myself or hire an attorney to send them a nice letter raising the concern about exploiting a vulnerable adult. State laws on that could be included.

And you can research your state's elder care programs to see what they offer, including finding citations on elder exploitation.

I like to take the approach of softness first, then slam someone with legal actions if that doesn't work.
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anytown Jul 27, 2022
'Then mail or e-mail them and tell them that you're aware they've been beneficiaries of your father's generosity, and given that he's in need of some assistance, you feel it appropriate that they reciprocate his kindness, adding that he's literally already paid for their help.

I would even create a schedule, and ask them to complete it with the chores they can do, IN EXCHANGE for all the assistance he's provided them.'

I see your point, but I have mixed feelings about this - on the one hand, they might move away from him once people raise the issue of a '2 way street'. But on the other hand, the more you have to do with some people, the more you lose, and the greater their sense of entitlement
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Lydia, this site has a database of threads, categorized by topic. Click on the white circle to the left of your avatar in the blue to green bar at the top of the page, search for "elder exploitation" and review some of the threads in which others have shared their own dilemmas with this issue, and with which the members have shared their advice.
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Lydia01 Jul 27, 2022
Thank you.
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My elderly neighbour (aged 98) let's call him 'Jo', is in a similar situation to your Dad. One of our neighbours always asks Jo to take him to dinner and pay for things. I spoke to Jo once about it and he said he is aware of it (he is smart) but does it so people visit him and he has someone to eat with or he would be alone all the time. It is tricky as you don't want your Dad to be all alone, but it does appear that these women are not doing the right thing by him and taking advantage of him. I agree with your suggestion and I would go and speak to these women. You could address it directly, or you could gently say you are worried that your Dad maybe has some medical conditions or dementia (even if he doesn't) and let them know you will be arranging for him to be medically assessed. And tell them that the government may be taking over all his finances and could they please not ask your Dad for anything financial, or it will be reported to the government. You could maybe make it sound like social services (the government) is looking into his situation and they maybe might back off a bit. ? Of course, you'll have to be careful how you approach this situation because if these women tell your Dad what you said, he might think you are interfering and get upset and not want you to be his POA anymore. You could also talk to your Dad about 'scammers' and print out some articles about it, and how they are going after older people, and maybe go to the bank with your Dad and put a monthly limit on his check account and other bank accounts (if you can get your Dad to agree it is the sensible thing to do)? I hope you get to work it out for him.
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Lydia01 Jul 27, 2022
Thank you for your response. I did reach out to his physician twice regarding a 'secret' cognitive assessment. She never got back with me. The health care in his area is limited and not very responsive. I just left another message for his doctor to call me. I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to offer some very insightful advice.
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Two things.
1. Get your dad to an eldercare attorney and tell her/him how much dad has been taken for. Listen to the advice you're given.

2. Find your closest university hospital and call the geriatrics unit
Ask about how to get a comprehensive cognitive assessment.

It is likely that after this assessment, dad won't be allowed to assign POA, so get him to the lawyer first.
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Has your dad had an exam recently, would his doctor state that he has cognitive impairment?
Your POA is not active until he is not competent. If it is active then you can do a bit more.
"Slipping a little".. forgetting names and appointments is not a "little" and this is what you notice I am sure there is a lot more going on than you realize.

But..playing the devil's advocate here. It sounds like these women neighbors pay more attention to your dad than your brothers do or you. (yes I realize that you are further away)
Bringing meals, checking in on him making sure he is alright, giving a call to him daily I do not see as "inappropriate" interest. (my neighbor and I text each other daily, just so the other knows we are both alive! I invite her to dinner pretty often and I have brought her meals.)

You do not "confront" the women this is something you need to discuss with your dad. If you think he is cognitively compromised and his doctor agrees then you can assume your role as POA and take over financial aspects. BUT this also means that he may no longer be safe to live alone in his home. Now you have to deal with hiring caregivers. (probably more expensive than the things he is doing for his neighbors) Or selling the house and dad moves in with you or one of your brothers, or a move to Assisted Living or Memory Care. (Assisted Living he could sign out and leave when he wished, memory Care would be a locked unit) (And either MC or AL would be more expensive than what he is doing for neighbors.)
but the spending that he does would be curtailed because you would have control over the finances.
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JoAnn29 Jul 27, 2022
At my Moms AL the residents were mixed. Because of this, the ones "with it" had codes to get in and out and those that had Dementia were not given the code.
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