Follow
Share

My older sister has a son with some issues. He's 35 and has never worked and was homeless for a while and almost died. It was so hard on my sister and all of us. We love him but there are trust issues. He's been taking care of our mother and Mom pays him for driving her places and doing some chores around the house. I've had an argument with my sister because the son - my nephew - has Mom's credit card and uses it to shop for Mom. Sis and I are having tension between us because I don't totally trust my nephew. He tried to scam our mother out of some money a few years ago when he was homeless. He has not done this since he has lived with Mom - at least to my knowledge. But Mom said she wants her credit card back and it's making her anxious that the nephew has it. Mom has asked for it back and nephew says he needs to keep it so he can do her shopping. I feel like he should just borrow the card when he goes to the store and return it. My sister thinks he's reformed and should be trusted. I think this is unfair to my mother. It's so hard when these things come up in the family and having my nephew included in the caregiving of Mom seems like it mostly adds to the stress for me. I want to help him and therefore, my sister, but it's exhausting.

Find Care & Housing
Eek, I'd want to have your mom move into that facility you mentioned asap! And
yes, credit cards in facilities can be issue. As well as wallet, money, etc. Dad had
wallet and money stolen, credit cards either lost or stolen several times, car attempted
to be taken, erm "borrowed", loan requests, investment requests, phony service requests, and countless scams both within community but mostly online. Dad finally
quit using his credit card, except for his weekly outings and doctors appts. Had
countless calls to credit card companies to stop charges on scams and auto ordering.
Waaaaaste of time and nerve wracking.

Cant imagine why your nephew wouldn't put the card back into your mom's wallet
every time for her piece of mind. Credit cards are kind of scary. Seems like free
money....with the equivalent of modern day loan sharks lurking around the corner.
(0)
Report

He probably will end up back with his mom - my sister. I have never felt he was really the appropriate person to take care of Mom and it will be a huge relief to have my mother in a good facility. My Dad went to the same place and they do a good job. The family drama makes an already difficult situation that much more stressful. I'm very grateful for all the helpful comments here.
(3)
Report

jeannegibbs says: "Speaking of homeless, where is he going to live when Mom goes into assisted living?"
I wondered the same thing, but decided to just address the issue OP asked about in my comment... First guess, though, was with the enabler.... Mom (aka sister.)
(3)
Report

Mom wants the card back. That should be the end of the matter.

There are other ways, as many posters have suggested, to allow your nephew to continue shopping for her.

I think it is good that nephew is being given a chance to show he has changed. Doesn't mean he shouldn't be monitored, and it may be a kindness to him to remove a source of temptation.

What a desperate, homeless person might do is not necessarily indicative of how he would behave when he is not desperate.

Speaking of homeless, where is he going to live when Mom goes into assisted living?
(1)
Report

I went thru' this with my brother, who allegedly had Mom's card to purchase things for her. I monitored the purchases online and it immediately became evident that the purchases were not just for her. I had to cancel the card.... Very sad, but my relationship with my brother eventually recovered. My mother has enabled him for 62 years.
(2)
Report

Do not send Mom to an assisted living with a credit card or any type of ID. Hopefully, the facility does background checks but don't count on it. Moms AL had a maintenance man stealing jewelry from the residents. Turn over is high. Maybe a prepaid card?
(1)
Report

I am (79) , in good health mind and body so I speak from a lot of experience.
The problem has been partly solved if Mom is moving to Assisted Living but not totally.
I am the caregiver for
my wife and have a very large family; (5) children, (17) grandchildren all grown and married and (23) great grandchildren. I come from a wealth of life experiences. Someone earlier has it 100%!l right. Your sister is an enabler. No one should have her credit card. In fact, depending upon your Mom’s state of mind, she probably shouldn’t even have a credit card. If that is not possible, then the suggestion of a pre-paid card is best, but not if she is the one that can “re-charge “ the available funds.
My own mother, the smartest woman I have ever known, was subject to being conned by family members from grandchildren on down. The older she got the more vulnerable she became. All this is coming from a man who has been accused of being “too trusting” all of my life. But “too trusting “ is not the same as “too stupid”.
Someone in your family that is 100% trustworthy should try and take over your Mom’s finances and it doesn’t sound like it should be your sister.
(3)
Report

Many banks offer debit cards that don't draw from an account, but are pre-loaded. This solves the problem of the nephew having to go into his own money to pay for her needs and wait to get reimbursed, and grandma can have her credit card back.
(1)
Report

Why not get a separate card with a small limit [$250.00 to $500.00] on it for him to use for her that your mom will pay off any purchases for her - a bonus is that he will start getting a better credit rating too which if he is really turning his life around will be important

This way he doesn't have access to big money but can keep it in his wallet for convenience - your mom will be more comfortable with hers in her wallet because most people like to keep control of these things themselves

Is he being paid for his help or is he getting room & board in lieu of money for some help - as your mom needs more help he should be getting some spending money at least - try to set it up so that your mom pays him by cheque with it noted on cheque that this is help payment so maybe she can write some of it off on her taxes as medical payments so check where you live what is the best way to do this

This will help your nephew get a job later as he will be able to show employment during this time even if it is only classified as part time - if you do this in a manner that says you want to help him long term so that he can have a future - using this manner could make things better with your sister too because you are helping her son up the ladder of prosperty
(2)
Report

Becky,

I had a similar situation.

Mom with Dementia and my shady sister. Shady sister borrowing money and maybe paying Mom back in such a swift cycle Mom couldn’t keep up with what my sister actually owed her.

Mom with Dementia while reviewing her bank statement SWORE she didn’t make a certain ATM withdrawal. Mom inquired with bank. She wanted proof. There would be a $75 charge to pull Video from ATM. Mom didn’t care she SWORE she didn’t do it. Fine we were gonna do it. BUT, bank also stated if Mom had not made the withdrawal the person that had would have charges pressed against them regardless of Mom’s wishes.

So, I ran this by shady sister face to face. Tears, outrage, denial. Told her fine just wanted to run this past you because Mom’s having Video pulled.

Shady sister could not have been 5 minutes down the road when she called me to confess.

Then, shady sister started taking Mom grocery shopping. The bank statements looked fine. The complaints started again that shady sister had borrowed money and hadn’t paid Mom back. During these grocery shopping trips 2-3 times a week they were getting “cash back”.

It is so sad that even family will take advantage of an elder with Dementia but it does happen.

Oh...I referred to the above institution as a bank, it was in fact a Credit Union. The card mentioned could be used at an ATM, used as a debit card, used as a credit card but with only a two day delay on the transaction being posted to the checking account.
(4)
Report

Take the card away from him. At his age It is a pattern he most likely cannot and will not break. My mother did the same thing as your sister.
My brother lived with my grandmother for 15 years. “Assisting her”. After grandmother passed away he then moved in with our Dad. My dad is now in assisted living and I managed to get durable POA. Dad has long term care insurance but in order to pay the remaining amount due to the facility I had to demand that my brother leave the card at the facility and only use it the day he visits. Good Luck
(2)
Report

Given that mom will be moving to AL AND you are getting a new card/number, this is probably a moot point. However I was going to suggest what others already said, for this case and others in a similar situation: get a prepaid card that can be used for purchases AND save all receipts! Medicaid, if needed in the future, will need to see those!
(2)
Report

"But Mom said she wants her credit card back and it's making her anxious that the nephew has it."

If mom wants her card back, there should be NO discussion.. he should turn it over, pronto. If he doesn't, cancel it and apply for a new one. Give him cash to go to the store for her and ask for the receipt and change when he returns.

The bigger problem, though, might be the trust issue... sounds like mom may not be entirely comfortable with the nephew-as-caregiver in her life.
(3)
Report

I can see both points of view. If your nephew is trusted with your mother's welfare, he should be trusted with her financial welfare too. Vs., this is a vulnerable lady whose anxieties, rational or not, must be soothed; if she wants her card back in her hot little hand it must be handed over pronto, without demur.

You can...

ensure there is a strict credit limit on the card;
go through the statements, which is something your mother ought to do anyway as a matter of routine, and so should all of us, hem-hem;
explain to nephew that transparency is there to protect *him*, too, from accusations or suspicions.

This isn't like trusting a teenager to be sleeping over at a friend's house. This is the correct procedure for managing the finances of a vulnerable elder. Everyone should be doing everything in plain sight, for the avoidance of doubt and misunderstanding.
(4)
Report

Okay... for the record I googled it to see if it was against the law to use someone else's card. If you are talking about the US, it is not illegal. In the UK it is the same.

"There is not one cardholder agreement that states you may not lend your card to another. In fact, every issuer realizes this happens and in their cardholder agreement places terms that read that not only are you liable for authorized users with cards in their own name, but you are also liable for spending of de facto authorized users such as when you allow others to use your card.

What WILL be illegal is if you defraud the bank by claiming charges are unauthorized when, in fact, you voluntarily parted with your card and PIN."

HOWEVER, it is against the law for him to not give the card back.
(7)
Report

Thank you all so much. Mom's credit card statement is being monitored - that's how I know he's not abusing it. Thankfully, Mom is going to live in assisted living in the small town where another sister lives. We've already decided to cancel that card and get her a new one. This site is so helpful to be able to vent and also to read other people's comments - I find that the situation I'm in is very common indeed. And here I thought my family was just weird - lol.
(11)
Report

Your mother is the most important person in this situation - not your nephew. Get your mother's credit card from your nephew and give it back to your mother. You may even need to get her a new card and new number. As stated, he is breaking the law. His refusal to give his grandmother's card back to her indicates to me that he is not reformed. It seems he is taking advantage of this situation. Get an elder care attorney, call the area on aging, or heck call the police.
You don't "owe" it to your nephew or your sister to help him out by allowing him to care for your mother. By allowing him to continue in this role, you are putting your mother's financial, emotional, and perhaps physical well being in danger. Please do what you can to remove him from this current "care-taking" role he has in your mother's life.
(5)
Report

Agreeing with other posters above, and here's another thought: help your mother go through her credit card statement. If I were her I'd ensure the statement is mailed to her so she has it in her hands. If your nephew is on the up-and-up (and I hope so), he should be giving all receipts to his grandmother anyway. Help her verify all receipts and question any purchase or store that's odd. Or, here's another thought: have Nephew go through the statement and receipts with his grandmother. If he's being honest, he might appreciate the trust this exercise may bring; if he's dishonest, he must face it.

Furthermore, Nephew should return the card each time to his grandmother. It's her card and her wishes must be respected. No matter what, it tells Nephew and Sister that his actions are being observed.
(10)
Report

You could always contact Adult Protective Services to check on Mom. If she wants her card back and tells APS the same she will get it back. Hopefully receipts to document purchases. Has anyone thought about a prepaid card with a requirement to submit all receipts? I would also take myself out of the middle of this, take the dysfunction out of the equation, look into a geriatric care manager.
(7)
Report

Sister will get over it sooner or later. Most likely later. He's probably stealing from her too.
(2)
Report

It's against the law to use another person's credit or bank card. I was told this by bank personnel. So I had to add my name to the account and got my own card to assist in paying her bills . He's breaking the law and you need to do something about it. Take it from someone who has 7 living siblings who only have something to say on the sly. Your sister is an enabler who doesn't see fault in her son. Don't stand on the sidelines and watch it happen.
(11)
Report