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Is there any way to prevent a "family friend" from taking Dad for everything he's got? Since Mom died, he's been spending a lot of time with a former employee of the family business. Unbeknownst to the family, she's been driving him to Dr appts, going into the exam room, presenting herself as his "caregiver", and then telling his doctors that he has dementia. We also found out that she's been accepting unknown amounts of cash in exchange for cleaning his house etc.


This came to light when she took him to the ER for a suspected "stroke" (but managed to stop at the bank on the way so he could make a suspiciously large cash withdrawal.) While in the hospital, he did in fact obtain a formal diagnosis of early stage Alzheimer's, but to our knowledge this diagnosis did not previously exist. Even though we have been noticing symptoms (sleepiness, confusion, easily forgetful) off and on for a while, we believed this was mostly due to the stress of caring for and eventually losing Mom to a prolonged terminal illness.


We believe this "friend" has been using these symptoms in order to gain/maintain control over him. She has been taking it on herself to make medical decisions for him without the family's knowledge, withholding information because "he didn't want anyone to worry", and positioning herself as the person we must go through to access him. In the ER triage, she was talking over both Dad and daughter to answer the nurse's questions herself. Apparently before the family arrived, she told the ER staff that he has Alzheimer's but don't mention it to the family because it upsets us?!


He is in his early 70s and is medically stable, still able to drive and live alone. The dr says that with medication to slow the mental decline, he should be independent for many more years. This is great news, but we are concerned that his ability to retain his independence means he will have many years in which to be scammed before his children have a valid reason to step in.


Obviously he can spend his time and money as he wishes, but we understandably don't want his retirement savings drained by an opportunistic parasite. He has a history of giving large sums of cash to family members, which is fine, but this is unacceptable. There's no reason why this "friend" should be doing these things for him (and getting paid handsomely.) His children and adult grandchildren all live in the same town and we would do these things for him if he asked us.


At this point is there anything we can do? If he would give one of us power of attorney, can they even do that, even though he's still medically able to be independent? We accept that it will be impossible to keep her away from him when he is a willing participant in this "friendship", but we'd like a way to stem the bleeding to a slow trickle at least.

I’d get dad in to see an elder care lawyer as soon as possible. The lawyer can determine his ability and competence to fill out POA and other documents that need doing. The lawyer may also advise you both on how to best proceed with the friend, often a third part is better at taking on a subject like this tan family is. Dad has what could be a long road ahead and shouldn’t be giving money to anyone, his resources need conserving for what future care he may require. Is the family prepared to step in and do all the things this friend has been doing?
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Villagemama6 Sep 25, 2019
We do step in and help where needed, for example we do all his lawn care.

I'm talking about random, not-urgent jobs like cleaning his pool table, organizing the shed, painting some room he takes a wild hair to paint. Stuff that is not the obvious, "we gotta do this for dad" type of task that he randomly decides to do. Like the stuff you might decide to do on a Saturday morning when you don't have a lot going on but don't feel like watching TV.
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Sounds like you need to have a talk with Dad. Also sounds like there needs to be more involvement from the family. If you all live in the same town and didn't know ANY of this was going on, what does that tell you? Your best option at this point is to communicate with him AND his friend. A POA wont do anything unless he is incapacitated and cant make decisions for himself. There are two sides to every story. You see a parasite who has "no reason to be doing these things". He might see a family who isn't stepping up to help him, so talk to him! Sorry if I am blunt but this doesn't need to escalate further if there is full communication. If nothing else, have him sign a HIPAA privacy form that allows your family to inquire about his medical condition with his doctors.
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thepianist Sep 18, 2019
Yours is an excellent reply, Samsung. I would caution, though, that PoAs are not limited to the time after a person becomes incapacitated, unless that is expressly written into the document. Sometimes a person simply wants, for convenience, to have another person authorized to conduct business in their name.
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What about asking for W9 to declare payments for tax filings? If it’s payment and tracking to cover for Medicaid, that puts her on notice it’s being tracked. It reminds dad that giving money away means no Medicaid coverage due to gifting penalty. By the way, the same holds true for big amounts given to family if he needs care and applies for Medicaid within 5 years of gifting money. Read up on it. Several posters have family members that cannot get Medicaid help to pay for care due to gifting.
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POA won’t give you the power to control him. He will still be able to make his own decisions, see who wants and spend his money as his pleases as long as he’s mentally competent. You could report the friend to APS, perhaps a little investigation would scare her away?
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If you suspect she is a financial predator, then she will disappear as soon as she drains him (and she might even have him change his will or create one with her as the beneficiary and even put the house in her name). This is what happened in my family before anyone realized or could react to it. It will eventually become your problem, so why not try to head it off in advance if at all possible.

When you said it was a former employee, it made me wonder if they were having an affair prior? I'm an employer and I found it very odd... not that it changes anything except her sense of entitlement in the pecking order now that your mom is gone. Sorry, very harsh but have to float it out there.

What state are you in? Do you or relatives live near your dad? This info would be helpful. He doesn't seem like a candidate for guardianship base on what you've disclosed. Even if you were somehow able to get durable PoA assigned to you/family member the "friend" could still find a way to get back control if she isn't out of the picture completely. Of course this won't make you popular with your dad. Maybe pay for an extensive background check on her and if the results show a sketchy past, you will have some ammo to present to your dad (but don't get your hopes up as she whispers sweet nothings into his ear, among other things she may be doing to "make him happy").

If his recent "diagnosis" is accurate, it will be too late (I think) for him to assign PoA. You could get him to an elder law attorney and they will be able to determine if he is capable of authorizing PoA. When I took my 90+ yo aunt to one in FL no one was allowed to be in the room with her and the attorney and their explanation was to assess for manipulation. Ugh this situation sucks and I hope your family can work it out in your dad's best interest!
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jacobsonbob Sep 17, 2019
If he is still competent, should a diagnosis of an early stage of dementia prevent him from assigning a POA? Aren't competence and dementia two different things, such that although advanced dementia results in loss of competence, having a mild level of dementia doesn't in itself necessarily result in loss of competence? In any case, I'm more optimistic that Villagemama6 can still be assigned a POA at this stage.
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You say that his doctors feel he has early dementia? Who is his Health Care POA? Who can medical discuss him with? I think it sounds now like no one has a very clear idea of how much dementia Dad has. Whoever the health care POA is can speak with doctors to ask if they feel that Dad is competent to handle his financial affairs.
You say that he is very generous and has given sums to family members, and "that is fine". Guess what. It is fine if he gives it to people who are NOT family members, as well, especially if those persons are cleaning for him, visiting him, taking him to appointment, and taking him to ER when he needs to go.
Perhaps if family who is receiving all this money is willing to spend increasing amounts of time with Dad he will not end up as prey for predators. And mind you, I am not saying this "friend" is in any way a predator, because she is a friend he has known from work, and seems to me is doing a lot for him.
Speak with Dad about all this, why don't you? Seems to me that would be a good place to start. Good luck. Hope all goes well.
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thepianist Sep 18, 2019
Great points. It sounds to me as if the family member has gotten worried about Dad only now that she realizes the woman is being given money. And it is Dad's right to do this!
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If he is being passive and not speaking for himself in these different situations, then I am seeing dementia.
Be assertive. Have a couple of family members stay with Dad for a week or so. When she arrives, tell her, he is not seeing anyone today. Consult a lawyer and figure out the competency status.
I agree with the idea of having APS get involved. If she is up to no good, she just might scurry away.
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Speak to his doctor and explain he is vulnerable and at risk of being manipulated into giving her money. That she is not family and should not be involved in his medical care at all - not even to sit in with him as it is not her family member. That she’s informed hospital personnel he has Alzheimers. Ensure they have a contact number for you and other real family members.

Obtain POA for health and finance as advised earlier. That shouldn’t be difficult if he’s vulnerable to being scammed.

Request a mental health check and or his medical records to confirm whether it’s been officially determined re any “Alzheimer’s”.

Then confront her - and ensure she knows the next time she meddles there will be an investigation especially regarding her involvement in his medical care when she is not family. If proven she’s lied re Alzheimers to medical personnel that could have had serious implications re medication,

If she’s been proven to have lied about Alzheimers I would then point out there’s the large sums of money handed over by a vulnerable former boss to his devious former employee....

Good luck
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Villagemama6 Sep 25, 2019
Thank you. This is great advice!
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I think when one person takes total control over someone to the point of shutting out family, then something is wrong. If you were to tell him how you feel about her, he may get very angry and even not speak to you. So you have to be careful in this situation. Do everything you can not to let her get legal control, then that would really be bad. Good luck.
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Phoebe2019 Oct 6, 2019
That happened to me. My husband and sister were very vocal about how we felt this guy was preying on her. My mother actually threatened to have the guy burn my house down. Terrifying. My mom has not been diagnosed with a mental illness, but we don’t have the ability to get her to a doctor to find out. The guy keeps her isolated.
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We are currently going through a very similar situation with my father in law who has dementia. The woman acted as his “fiancé” and took several thousand dollars and caused us so much distress. She was arrested yesterday for exploitation of a vulnerable adult. We contacted social services and the white collar division of our sheriffs department and they worked with us to provide bank statements showing withdrawals and credit card statements to prove that she took the money. They subpoenaed the banks to get photos of her with him at the counter.
This is such a stressful event and my heart goes out to you struggle through. I would definitely recommend becoming his medical and durable power of attorney as quickly as possible.
Best of Luck!
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Isthisrealyreal Sep 26, 2019
Good news Lunabear. Well done!
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