My mother gives money to her former caregiver. We all live far away. What should we do?

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My mother lived at home with part-time care by an unlicensed caregiver until a month ago. The woman seems sweet and well meaning, but her life is a mess, and she shared all her problems with my mother. Mother started giving her small money gifts and loans about three months ago---not much, maybe a total of $500 all told. When Mother went into assisted living last month, we gave her caregiver generous severance and a plan to work off the loans by weekly visits to my mother in the ALF and to Mother's house to water the plants. She did none of that until last week, when she took took my Mother on some errands. And Mother gave her another $100 "because she needs money so badly." We all live far away. What should we do? Mother isn't incompetent---she's pretty sharp in most ways---but she's unwise about money and a pushover for a sob story.

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Top Answer
If your mother is competent, then it is none of your business what she chooses to do with her money sorry
I care for my 96 year old mother who is blind, can't hear well and cannot walk. She has hospice workers who come to help with bathing, meds, and monitoring her health. She shares our monthly expenses from her Social Security check. She has a substantial amount of money in CD's and savings. Can I have her give me $200 a month for the care I provide her since I am with her 24/7 and I cannot work outside the home?
Since it is your mother's money, she has the authority to do what she wants even if it seems like she doesn't handle it very well. If you are concerned about it and you should be, I would convince your mother that she should allow you to be her power of attorney so she doesn't have to deal with her finances anymore. Both of you will have to sign a legal document stating that you are her power of attorney and you will be making all her decisions for her.
I agree, if your mom is cognitively competent to make decisions like this, then it's her money to do with as she pleases. And, if your mother is fairly secure financially, then we're not talking about significant sums of money here, YET. And, that's why I'd be concerned...if this is not typical behavior for your mom or if it's an exaggeration of her typical behavior, then she could be very vulnerable to to being taken advantage of. Maybe you could address this by including your mom. Your plan was to give the caregiver some sum once a week anyway. Why not have your mom hand it to her directly whenever she visits. I'm sure it bugs you that the woman showed up only when she needed cash, but if it's a good visit and your mom enjoys her company, why not allow that to be the payment arrangement (either explicitly or by just allowing it to happen)? You did characterize the woman as being sweet, so if you don't feel she is a serious threat (someone capable of plotting to extort serious amounts of money from your mom), you could just 'go with it' and keep a close eye on things. You may want to get the AL director in the loop so s/he can be on the lookout for anything getting out of hand.
PS – I agree with caregiver75104, you should definitely be POA so that you can control how much money mom has on hand.
Unless your mother is giving her huge amounts of money or is signing a deed, etc. over to her, I wouldn't worry about it. $100 nowadays is not any great amount of money. Sometimes, it makes the person giving the money feel good to help others. Many people like to help other people financially.
The caregiver/companion I helped my mom hire was very sweet-to my face- but she weasled herself into our family and I still to this day don't know what all she did or how much money mom "gave" her. It became a sticky mess and upon the advice of my lawyer, I didn't persue it because it's hard to prove any wrongdoing if your mom keeps everything a secret. I'm sure this sweetheart is part of the reason mom disowned me. So when mom died I was totally left out of the will and mom had every legal right to do so. The caregiver "took my place" as the oldest daughter. I told mom to spend her money and enjoy life but really didn't mean just blow it, give it away, etc. My son and I were POAs but she went to court when she disowned us and revoked it. That gave her and Ms. Caregiver free reign to do whatever. I didn't want mom's money except that part of her assests had belonged to my dad and believe me he wouldn't have been pleased about this if he were alive. Whatever...
Just please be careful how generous your mom is. If she's competent she can spend her money and you have no legal say. BUT if she spends it all and YOU have to pick up the tab for her care, I'd make sure you have control now or the future will be a nightmare!!!!
I have seen aged persons fall victim to moochers--essentially con men and con women who stroke their egos, pretend to be their friends, and soak them for as much money, free rent, or valuables that they can get. The victims of moochers do not want to believe they are being used. The moochers will only go away when they can't get anything more from their victim. It's a difficult situation to deal with, when you're trying to help the victim.
This is a tricky situation. Your obviously concerned with your mom being taken advantage of, and although $100 here and there may not be a red flag, it could be the start of potential problems. It took a year after being widowed that my mom fell victim to a family "friend", who physically took her to her bank to withdraw $180,000 to send to China to a third party as an investment. Fortunately the ladies at the bank felt suspicious and called me to inquire if I knew the man my mom was with. I asked the bank manager to speak to my mom privately but the man with my mom said "whatever you need to discuss with her can be discussed in my presence", so at that point the bank called the police. The police, as someone posted, said it is her money to do as she wishes, but still escorted the man out and suggested to my mom that she call a family member or close friend to discuss this "investment". The bottom line is, there are nice people out there who just need help, and an elderly person may enjoy feeling needed and helping out. And there are other people out there who prey and may not maliciously intend to accept and take money from an elderly person, but get caught in a vicious cycle of receiving gifts and money that they simply can't say no to (even though they probably should when it's becomes habitual). Talking to the ex-caregiver, and making her aware that you are in the loop of things may help her tone down her sob stories to your mom, which she knows is only going to solicit money from her. Good luck with your situation!!
Realtime, your mother knows it's a sob story, because like you said she's got her wits about her. But this gal is paying attention to a lonely old lady, when it seems like the family can't or won't. So unless you're going to move mom closer to one of her kids, this is going to happen over and over again.

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