(First, many of you know I am the primary caregiver for my MIL & FIL. I recently went home to visit my mother and found out about my grandmother). My grandmother lives in a house my mother and uncle own rent free. Her only bill is the utility bill. She receives food stamps and social security. She is a bitter, mean woman that I will never allow my children around. Right now she is mad at my mom and uncle for not signing over the house (it was my grandfather's house! Her EX husband) so she can get a reverse mortgage on it. Recently, she has started talking to "random" people on the phone who are telling her she has won (The lottery and a car) . 3 times we have changed her bank account and phone number, she keeps giving it out! Because she keeps mailing them money and giving them her bank info, she has no money for her utility bill and food. She is bleeding my family dry. Other than this she is fine. No illness, no dementia just bat crazy. She honestly believes she won or can talk these people into giving her money. She thinks one guy is going to date her from Florida!

I've told my mom to call Adult protective services, but when they come visit she is a sweet grandmother (never in my life has she been! )

Any ideas

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I get that - she's sharp enough to be sweet as pie for Social Services and likely for any doctor she sees. You may have to seek help from an elder law attorney.
There's likely enough proof for some family member to get control of her finances and block debits from her account unless authorized. If the family can change her bank account, there's a foot in the door. But I'd contact an elder law attorney to get to the next level.
Good luck,
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Your grandmother shows classic signs of dementia, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. She sounds like my husband. Get a POA from her ASAP, have her social security sent to you as well as food stamps, and DO NOT allow her access to any money. You can have a pretend check available for the times a call does get through. Also, put a block on her phone so solicitors cannot get her on the phone. Patients with dementia are very gullible. You can say the sky is green and they would believe you. Get her tested. She is not "crazy", she has a neurological disease, that she has no control over and should not be labeled as "crazy". It is crazy not to recognize she is mentally ill and in need of protective safe guards so she cannot harm herself or others (both financially and physically). Have her evaluated as Medicare pays for the FDA-approved 45 minute exam. Merry Christmas!
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My previous advise to similar question at "How can I convince my elderly father not to send money to scammers?" In my experience you can't convince them if it is dementia. The sooner you take action the less work it is going to be on you to get things back in order. I had to get a PO Box and put in a change of address for mom with USPS to the PO Box. Also talked to the mailperson to not deliver any mail at all to moms place. You must change his phone number and get the new number on the National do not call list. You could put a call forwarding on the old line to your phone for a time just to sift through callers if you think its important enough but I did not. Then I notified all good vendors and friends of an address and phone number change to my own house. (I only gave moms new phone number to family and her friends but no one else). As mail came into the PO Box I sorted the good from the bad and contacted the good senders to start sending to my home address and phone. The junk mail I tried to return to sender w/no forwarding to stop the junk. I even wrote and called when I could but a lot of these people are sleeze. It took me a couple years to work out all the problems then I closed the PO Box with no forwarding address. My Alzheimers mother was ordering anything from anybody and even giving them her SS number and credit card over the phone. I got on moms accounts as secondary and started paying her bills online. In fact I setup ALL her accounts online so I could pay bills and even transfer between accounts as needed. Even insurance companies, annuities etc. In getting online accounts setup for all vendors you won't even have to add your name to things unless needed. I got the bank to issue a limited ATM card ($500max) with no point of purchase just cash at ATMs. I had to pay off Publishers Clearing House and Readers Digest for junk she purchased. She thought if she bought the junk she would have a better chance at winning the drawing. After taking over paying her bills I discovered she had spent over $3000 with Pub Clearing and Readers Digest on trinkets (junk). I always wondered what all the rotting flower bulbs were doing around her condo (another story). Sprint was nice enough to credit us back for the 5 cell phones that came to the door via UPS one day that including service contracts. It was funny mom called me and said hey, I just got 5 phones in the mail what should I do. Not remembering that some sleeze bucket salesman talked her into them. Caution also should be taken in that scammers/telemarketers can also have your phone company add certain things to your phone bill as well. Moms phone bill not only had unknown monthly charges for non-sense but also a fortune in calls to some sleeze bucks cell phone in Jamaica of all places. Good Luck but better start as soon as you can to take control of things before it get s out of hand. God Bless you.
An additional note the hardest thing we had to do was finally take the car away from her. As the Alzheimer's progressed she started roaming particularily going out to find who took her car. She would end up at my sons house 2 miles away in the middle of the night dressed only in her night clothes asking him where is my car.
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I agree that your grandmother almost certainly has dementia. Her behavior is classic.
I agree with 'expressor1'. I assume your family has some control over her finances since they were able to change her bank accounts three times. I'd suggest putting her on an allowance (but, I wouldn't call it that when introducing the idea to her!) with a rechargeable Visa gift card. Your mom could load it each week with a fixed amount of money. When it runs out, it won't work until it's reloaded. It's not connected in any way to her bank accounts or credit cards, so no danger of scammers getting their hooks into her. She could only waste her weekly allotment.
Helpful Answer (3)

Take away checkbooks and credit/debit cards. Put a "zapper" on her phone line, it eliminates telemarketers. A zapper generates the disconnected number signal and the computer then deletes her from the call list.
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My mother did the exact same thing. Wired money to Jamaica several times a month. She used all of the money in my dad's savings (he has dementia and just signs what ever she puts in front of him), her own savings, cashed in life insurance policies, took out loans all over town and had bounced check charges out the door. She couldn't pay her utility bills because she was taking so much money out to give to them. She totaled her car on one of her jaunts to the money wire places (they would tell her where in the city to go - I'm assuming so one person wouldn't catch on that she was giving away a lot of money). I had the phone number and bank accounts changed several times. She would say she understood that it was a scam and she wouldn't send any more money but the next day she'd call that b!tch up and start all over again. It got so bad I was afraid she would sign over the house or something as awful. I ended up moving home and after a few weeks of cursing a blue streak to these scum bags they finally quit calling. Now I'm stuck here, with no inheritance, no job, no friends and two parents that argue 24/7. So, I've found that unless you're able to find a way to keep her from contacting them, it's hard to help. They get the idea they're going to be rich and you can't make them shake it. And she was the kind of person who wouldn't give anyone the time of day but gave away all the money she possibly could get her hands on. Best of luck to you~
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I do live with my Mother and these were the things that I did. First I got caller ID and told her not to answer 800 calls or any calls whose number she does not recognize. The caller ID comes up on the TV which is on most of the time so it makes it easy for her to see the numbers. We give her a small amount of cash 50-100 dollars a month so she has something in her wallet. She never leaves her house so she does not really need money, just something to look at so she knows she has some. Her accounts were turned over to my brother and his wife. I have enough to do and do not want to handle her money. This makes it easier for me because when she starts to cry poor I just tell her to call her daughter-in-law because I have no control over her finances. I am really sick of all this however and want my life back. I am so tired of fixing her mistakes. Sorry just had to vent - one of those days.
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So horrible that these sleaze pray on the elderly but they do. How come my cheap as can be Mother will not give any money to her grandchildren but will hand it over to some fast talking con artist? Because they have a script and know what to say to vulnerable elders. We pay all of my Mothers bills online and give her some cash. She still thinks she has control over the money but in reality she does not. Her judgement is so bad she does not recognize the difference between $5 and $500 - it is all the same to her. However get some guy on the phone sweet talking her and it is another thing. She would probably empty her bank account for some male attention - haha.
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Your grandmother sounds just like my Mom a few years back. We knew she had the beginning of dementia but I took her to an attorney and had her Trust updated and then had the attorney speak to her about putting me on as her DPOA which she agreed to for finances and healthcare.

She had a horrible problem of answering the phone and listening to every scammer out there and she gave money to them. One day I ran to the gardening center and came home to find a man at the door taking money from her and having her sign a paper which would allow them to withdraw money monthly from her account! THAT IS WHEN I STOOD UP AND CALLED BULL.....! I stopped the monthly withdrawals and enacted my POA. Anyone who does this crap is not mentally together enough to be able to handle their own finances and these scammers will latch on to them and continue to call them and fake relationships or play on their sympathy to continue to extract money from them.

A woman was on DR PHIL not that long ago which may have only been in her early 50's but she believed this man that she had formed a fake romance with and solely over the phone. and she kept sending him money to the tune of over $150,000! Her son had taken her to the show to get help for her because she was bankrupting herself. They proved that the man was a scammer and a liar and she refused to believe it!!! It was heartbreaking to see her son so distraught and her blindness and refusal to believe the truth.

I was already signed on to my mother's account's because I had handled her banking for years but now I took over all the money, she is no longer able to have her checkbook and is only given $50 a month in cash. This is no real problem for her as she never leaves the house anyway and anything she wants we buy it for her at the store.

I began to make sure I was the only person answering the phone and I made sure I told every person who called that they were to remove her name and phone number and NEVER CALL THIS NUMBER AGAIN!!! I threatened lawsuits and everything I could think of. Next I made sure that every single time I left the house I put the phone on call forwarding so she would receive NO PHONE CALLS while I was out of the house for short periods of time.

My parents had worked too hard for their money to see my mother's mental condition and inability to handle her finances just blow it all! I became a warrior on her behalf because she did not have the ability to make wise decisions.

Now I am not sure that they still make the "Zappers" that they use to make but if they do then you should invest in one and attach it to your grandmother's phone without her knowledge... she may remove it if she thinks it is keeping her from the people she wants to talk to.

Your situation is different than mine as you do not live in the house with her, nor does anyone else. You need to get DPOA on grandma and you need to take over her finances, if you don't she will stay DEAD BROKE!! If no one gets her DPOA then no one can do anything, she will be able to keep doing what she is doing now.

You say she is fine, but I beg to differ, she isn't. My mother was the biggest fake around and able to charm every doctor and everyone looked at my sister and I like we were idiots when we told them she had a memory problem. She was tested and she does have dementia, it will get worse, much worse and if no one has DPOA then you will not be able to help her with medical issues either. If you wait too long and the dementia becomes worse, she cannot legally give it to you because she will not be considered mentally competent.

Do not EVER sign that house over to her.... someone who she is giving money to has found out and is pushing her to sell her home to send them more money.

If you want to hear what is going on, you can get a recorder that attaches to her phone line and records the calls so you can hear what these criminals are saying to her. She probably should not know about the recorder or she will remove that as well.

I am not saying to do things that might be illegal, but when you are dealing with this situation you are dealing with scum and you need to know what is happening so you know how to deal with it.

Good Luck to You!
Helpful Answer (1)

She's NOT OK. She needs help, care taking. Someone needs to be her POA.
If you can get her accounts changed to elsewhere, you can help railroad, if needed, to maybe create a tiny account that she can access, and have the bulk of her money in an account you control, to keep it safe to use for her needs.
You can call police to do well-checks on her, reporting to those officers that she's been being taken advantage of by scam-artists; that they have been conning her money from her. They can do well-checks every time you ask for it.
IT creates a record.
Social Services can be contacted to do an evaluation of her capabilities: YOU need to give them a heads-up that she's good at "show-timing" and putting on a show, and tell them how long she is able to keep that up at one time---my Mom could do it for about 2 hours, before she had to retreat to her room to re-gather her wits, then she could do it again.
The Social Workers refused to look in her room to see how Mom lived, they took her word that she didn't want to go to any facility, and took her word that she could look after herself….she COULND"T!
But workers also try to avoid allowing trouble-makers into their systems, as well--if family reports the person has anger-management issues, or that they act-out, they tend to try to avoid letting those get placed in NH's.

Workers need input from other people to cue them something's wrong--need proof/facts how /why the person needs a keeper..

There's no way to convince a mentally unstable person to stop suckering for scammers.
All you can do is break the connections between scammers and your elder.
Blocks on the phone really help--the phone company will place 900# and can restrict calling area to local, but that won't stop incoming calls from those.
There are limited-use phones, that can only call programmed-in numbers.
Or take the phone away, only placing one of those LifeLine things they can push the button to get help..but if demented, they can't use those properly, either.

A good POA, take control of bank accounts, prevents scammers getting their hooks in even if she talks to them.
Sweet and caring is what they do best--frail elders eat that up with a spoon--they crave attention, scammers give attention and the appearance that they really care.

They are sweet and caring, until they learn there's no money to get.
Once they get some money, they spread the number, and more call.
The more money gets sent, the more calls.

Do everything you can to get your elder protected from these opportunists!
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