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Hi all - My 75 yo mother has invited her friend’s homeless son, daughter in law and 3 children to live with her. I do not know these people. My mom is overly trusting. They couple is not legally married. My mom historically would not have approved of such a relationship. The “wife” has an outstanding traffic warrant. The elders of my mom’s church have advised her NOT to let these people move in. The dad of the “husband” also advised her against this.


My mom has historically been overly cautious - even going as far as unplugging all electrical items when she leaves the house. So this new behavior is concerning. She is more concerned about the 3 children being safe. Supposedly everyone is aware this situation is only temporary, but there is no definite timeline. The couple is on a waiting list for an apartment.


I dont want want to have children on the street, but elderly can be easy targets for fraud.


I could persue having her declared incompetent ( not really sure that is accurate though ), but I think she would feel betrayed. She also hid this from me for a month. Not really sure what to do.


Thoughts?

I know an elderly woman who invited her granddaughter and her boyfriend with their young son to live with her. Not a bad thing if everything was fine but he is a meth user. Has done rehab and relapsed several times. Everyone is tired of telling her.

She claims she took them in because they have nowhere else to go. Everyone else threw them out because he stole from them to buy drugs.

I don’t think it will end up well. The same in the OP’s story. It is inviting trouble. If she has been warned not to house these people it is most likely for a good reason. I hope nothing bad happens to any of them.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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I had somehow missed that the man of the family has a father that recommended against this. That makes me double terrified. Clearly this man has an opinion of his OWN son, and it is not a good one. There could be abuse of some kind. There could be anything. This is really a potentially very bad and moreover dangerous situation for your mother. You need to make it clear that she can reach out to you ANY TIME for any reason, and that you will not do the I-told-you-so thing, but that you will help her. She needs not to excuse anything at all. Then if something does go wrong it is a police matter, and these folks need to be removed from this elders home.
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its a crazy world . when you see someone who's " just all screwed up this week " , a closer look will show that they are all screwed up EVERY week , and an even closer look might reveal some of the sickest set of priorities youve ever encountered .

i ran into a fellow a few months ago who i have known for years . he was pouring it on about living in his truck and trying to maintain relations with his son under such circumstances .
i suggested a place that was hiring and with enviable benefits but a drug screen was required . the guy said " yea , we wont be doing THAT " .
it was a chilling wakeup call for me . had i invited him to my house i would have regretted it in the first hour .
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Eh if the family is homeless, the traffic warrant is probably because she couldn’t afford to pay the fine, not because she’s irresponsible. The warrant should be the least of all worries here. the police aren’t going to come knock down the door looking for her.
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GardenArtist Oct 12, 2019
I assumed she couldn't pay the fine, but she had other options, including discussing the issue with a court clerk or officer and making contingent arrangements.    If the warrant is outstanding, it infers she's done nothing to address it.
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Just thought of another possibility and underlying issues.   I think as compassionate people age, they feel an increased desire to help others.  I think it's inherent in some people's nature to want to extend a helping hand.  

And, just my opinion, but I think the desire and need to help is inversely proportional to an individual's own ability, i.e., as someone declines and becomes less able to care for him or herself, the desire to help others may increase.   This has been my limited observation.

Helping others can be a need that has to be fulfilled one way or another.

And another good reason for a police consult:   they've been there a month.   At some point state law may consider your mother's home a residence, i.e., they've lived there long enough to qualify as residents.

At that point, eviction may become mandatory, and someone has to pay for the legal work to get them evicted, and I believe it would be your mother.

Police can also file a complaint with the Juvenile Court to have the children placed in protective custody in a county supported facility where they at least would get oversight and meals. 
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Leanna, what do you know about your mother's friend, the lady whose son, DIL and grandchildren these are? Any good reason why the friend can't house them temporarily, for example?
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LeannaTX Oct 12, 2019
The friend is in a senior apartment and can be evicted if he has someone living there. They were living there and the apartment manager found out and was about to evict him.
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This scenario has "disaster potential" written all over it.

1.  I'm very concerned that this is atypical behavior for your mother.   But I think pursuing medical help to get a dementia classification now would only aggravate her, and that's the last thing that should happen as she could dig in her heels, especially since she initially withheld the information from you.

Dementia is a concern that eventually should be addressed, but not necessarily right now as she probably feels she's providing a good service to them.  

2.    I WOULD be concerned about the outstanding traffic warrant.   As Ahmijoy observed, it's not necessarily indicative of potential criminal intent, but it DOES reflect a lack of responsibility.    And she could be subject to a warrant and temporary incarceration if she ignores her obligations or incurs another violation.

Do either of them have cars?   Is she still driving?  Who's paying for gas and insurance?   If she doesn't have any insurance and is stopped by the police, that's another consideration for temporary incarceration.

Is she working, looking for a job, or doing anything to help out in your mother's home?  

3.   There are 3 children, they're not married and the father is homeless.   This doesn't sound like a good solid relationship or one in which either adult has plans for either themselves or their family, unless the homelessness is of recent origin.  

4.    Why doesn't his or her own family step up to the plate?   If the man's father warned your mother against taking them in, he presumably  has inside information and knows more about the family than you do.    I would consider asking him for more background information, as well as his assistance in finding a place for them.   At least be forewarned about the son's history.

5.    I would cultivate a close relationship with the church folks, and ask them to keep you informed, but I would also make unannounced visits periodically to check on your mother, and ask them too as well.   

6.   If you can get the couple alone and speak with them, ask them what their plans are, and emphasize they need a timetable.    You could also raise the issue of funding, as they certainly can't expect to sponge off your mother.

7.     You might consider asking APS to check on your mother as well, w/o revealing the source of referral (I don't believe they would anyway, but be sure about that.)   

While continued observation might not be a long term possibility, it would allow APS  to at least observe the situation first hand and take action with a referral to law enforcement if appropriate.   They can invoke more power than an individual.  In fact, you can and perhaps should make a completely anonymous referral request. 

8.   I would consult a police officer, raise the issue of the woman's outstanding warrant and ask if the man also has warrants.   Police could probably check for you and either assure you or indicate if there are warrants.   You could also ask for advice on getting them out and into a temporary living arrangement.

9.  I might be aggressive enough to ask them how they expect to pay your mother for food, etc.  

10.   You could consider reporting them to the local Juvenile Court, which probably has jurisdiction over both delinquents and neglected children.  Ask them about arrangements; if anyone knows about homeless children and potential temporary placement, I'm thinking the Juvenile Court would be the best source.

I worked for the JC as a court reporter back in the 60s.   If the couple can't provide for the children, they could be brought to court at a hearing, the children adjudicated temporarily, and placed in a county run home for neglected children.  

11.   What are the children's ages?   Did the man's father provide any insight into how they've been surviving thus far? 

12.   As suggested, get out ALL valuables, money, and everything that could be stolen and/or pawned.
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Countrymouse Oct 12, 2019
I think the whole family is homeless, isn't it? Finding out why they lost their home might yield important information; but of course it isn't necessarily blameworthy.

I agree that the mother's acting out of character is a big worry.
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Your mom is trying to be kind. There is too much homelessness going on and it is especially sad when children are involved. But she may be putting herself in danger in several ways, not just physical. There are scams out there where people can manage to somehow claim they own a house they've moved into if they pay the taxes and utilities for a certain amount of time, or something like that. I don't know the legalities of this sort of thing, but some sort of rental agreement should be signed I think. The other thing to be concerned about is that when their name comes to the top of the wait list they may turn down the apartment if they are perfectly happy where they are. It's hard to get people out once they've moved in. I would be there making sure all is on the up and up with these people. When I went to live with my mom, it took me an entire year to get my son's "girlfriend" out of my house that he and my grandson were living in. He had broken up with her, but she wouldn't leave. She had not in 2 years paid a penny of the agreed upon rent. Nightmare! People can seem and actually believe themselves to be extremely responsible when they are not at all. My fault for not getting a rental agreement from her in the first place. I trusted my son to know who he was letting move in. Only trust your own intuition until you are proven wrong.
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Did the elders advise your mother against this principally because:

they were concerned that your mother had not thought it through?

or

they are concerned that the family's problems might pose a risk to your mother?

It's a question of whether there are known, serious issues in the family, or if they were voicing a general caution regarding your mother's welfare.

In either case, is the pastoral team willing to speak to your mother and the family together and help them to come up with a better solution? Coming from them, perhaps the advice might carry more weight with all parties. If the apartment is a realistic prospect, perhaps something can be done to hurry that up a bit?
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I am utterly TERRIFIED of this, especially because of what the elder of the church advised and I am assuming he KNOWS the couple.
I also think that, unless you know differently, there is nothing you can do.
Are there any other reasons to assume your Mom is incompetent, because if NOT then there is no recourse here, and you fighting her will make you unable to monitor this.
That is what I am suggesting, in fact. That you attempt to be there with Mom while they are there AS MUCH AS YOU CAN, supposedly to support Mom, but really to oversee this. Please stay in touch with the elder. Please try to stay on top of it, because this sounds very very scary to me, and I am afraid if you are cut off from Mom then almost ANYTHING can happen out of this. I hope you'll update us. I hope others have a clue what to tell you that might help. But first thing is that Mom needs to make the promise that cash isn't in the house, things are safely locked away, and there will be no gifting of money under any circumstances.
This is terrible decision making on the part of a woman with a truly decent heart; I am frightened for her.
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Unfortunately, this is your mother's house and unless you have Power of Attorney for her, there isn’t much you can do. Having an outstanding traffic warrant doesn’t make the “wife” a serial killer, though. Are they employed? Are they helping Mom around the house? Mom may feel she is being a good. Christian woman and helping a needy family. But, things are different in the world today and what she has done may very well impact her safety.

Have you considered going to her home and having a conversation with her and these people? The family should know there is someone watching out for Mom. Perhaps even discuss a deadline for them to move out. The children are not your mother’s responsibility and CPS may need to be called.
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