Is it legally "elder abuse" if the opportunist is considered a saint by the elder?

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It's been going on for 20 years. We've voiced our disapproval and there's nothing but excuses, denial, enabling going on for years. I'm not sure how this will even help, except for me to vent and get some outsiders insight. My #1 question are these events considered elder abuse, in legal terms? My 90 yr old grandmother is in good mental and physical health, is not an invalid, is independent, drives, has an active social life. She's been forgetting things sometimes, needed major surgery (recovered fine), but that's the worst of her health issues so far. She's of sound mind, but thinks the biggest opportunist in our family is a saint and gets upset if you suggest otherwise. Denial.

My grandparents loaned $40K to my aunt and her hubby years ago. My grandma herself eventually told me, they stopped paying her back the day grandpa died and she became "persona non grata"--gram's own words. My aunt's claim to fame at this time was being the "book keeper" for her hubby's business and her own household. Her hubby had a nursing degree and ran a "home aid" business. They lived above their means for years: luxury home, vacations & cruises, antiques, $30k baby grand piano, gold plated silverware (Liberace would be proud!), cars, designer clothing, etc. My aunt wrote the checks and had to know about their finances. Yet Grandma won't hold my aunt accountable for anything, placing all the blame on my aunt's hubby at the time. They would have loaned my aunt $40k no matter who her hubby was, because she's their daughter and they trusted.

Grandma married my step-grandpa a few years later. My aunt and her hubby filed for bankruptcy (TWICE), lost their home to foreclosure, and split up. My unemployed aunt never lifted a finger to get her own apt or job, so my grandparents allowed her to move into their home. During this time my step-grandpa lost $20K in a scam that targets elderly people. He also had a stroke and ended up in a wheelchair. My grandma, aunt, and mom (who works full time) all helped take care of him. Within a few months my step-grandpa gave my aunt $50K to buy her own home. My grandma went along with this. My mom was extremely upset: You don't accept that kind of money from an elder who's already lost $20K in a scam-- You get off your butt, get a job, and buy your own home like everybody else. My step-grandpa's son had power of attorney on his dad's finances, but was deliberately kept in the dark. The son went through his dad's paperwork, trying to figure out how $70K vanished. They eventually told him about the scam, but I don't know if he was told about my aunt's "gift house". To this day, my aunt and grandma badmouth the son for investigating. My step-grandpa soon passed, his family hates ours, my mother doesn't blame them for hating us, and I agree with my mom 100%!

As soon as my step-grandpa died (not long after his stroke), my aunt doesn't pay anything back. Excuse this time is my step-grandpa wanted her to have that money. My aunt has a bachelor's degree. After step-grandpa passed, she worked exactly one year full-time and was fired. She never lifted a finger to get a full-time job again. She worked part-time once or twice a week and whine to me about "having to work", she wasn't concerned about her lack of hours, just annoyed she had to work at all. She's in perfect physical health, better than most. As soon as she was old enough she applied for SS and her pension, taking a huge $ cut. My aunt (and grandma) tells everyone she's a "retired so-and-so", even though she only worked one year full-time her entire adult life. She had the nerve to ask grandma for a $5K loan, that time grandma put her foot down. But only because she didn't approve of my aunt allowing her deadbeat kids into her home, the one my step-grandpa's money bought for my unemployed aunt. My aunt's kids take right after her, and her grandkids too-- No work ethic, not working for years, leeching off their mom and other family members, etc. My grandma has lots of negatives to say about my aunt's kids & grandkids, ignoring the fact she allowed my aunt to get away with the exact same things, more so even! Nothing compares to "gifting" someone $90K, and my aunt hasn't done that for her deadbeat kids. The only "extra" money my aunt had access to was my grandma's, only about $10K, but that's gone now too.

A year ago my grandma had heart surgery. 99% was covered by her insurance (I saw bill with my own eyes). Grandma tells everyone the uncovered 1% is what "did her in" financially and wiped out her remaining savings. She was telling us she might have to sell her home (payed for in full 40 years ago). My mom told grandma giving $90K to my aunt is what wiped her out. My brother tried telling grandma my aunt should be giving her monthly payments ( I moved into Gram's and was paying her $400, then $500 month rent for one room). If I pay that for 1 room, surely auntie dearest can pay that much for a whole house?

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Let go, let God.
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Thanks everyone for your responses and insights. Every message has helped. I never thought grandma is crazy. I think she did this to herself. Now the chickens are coming home to roost. I can't do anything about it, except try letting it go. As my dad said, when I buy my own house (I've been looking) and my grandma is no longer getting my rent, maybe then she'll face reality, start charging the one who borrowed and never payed back. I don't know.

To clarify, my aunt has POA and I see her weekly/several times a month. I'm not looking to bring a lawsuit against her, was just curious if her actions could be considered "elder abuse". If you met her, you'd think she's one of the nicest people. I don't like or respect her, BUT I'm a great actress for grandma's sake. The only time I would ever speak out against my aunt is when her shenanigans effect me directly. Like when grandma was out of town, I came home from work to find auntie had let her deadbeat son into our house, so he could crash there rent-free. He was in grandma's shower and all his belongings in basement. Aunt won't let him stay in her own house, but she has a key to our house so might as well take advantage! I hated to call grandma over that, but we were able to laugh about it later. Grandma told me to look around and make sure nothing was stolen! I have some expensive things, so does grandma. Those instances, I had every right to speak out and did. My grandmother backed me up, but that doesn't stop my aunt from repeat bad-behavior. She's pulled stunts like that multiple times, knowing grandma doesn't approve, and it's not fair to me either. At this point, her son (in his 30s) has been in and out of prison. I don't want to be near him. I believe 100% the people he hangs with are dangerous.

I'm not worried about grandma "cutting me off" because the fact is I have more $ than grandma! I'm surprised she hasn't asked me for a loan! I've worked full time same place my entire adult life. Never expected a free hand-out from richer relatives. I like making my own money. In other words, I'm the exact opposite of my aunt. My mother, father, and two brothers are the same as me. So forgive me if I don't relate to deadbeats with no work ethic who leech off elderly parents until they are broke. At this point the problem is bills being payed late or not at all. I've seen "past due" notices and threats of legal action over unpaid bills left sitting on the table. I keep my mother posted on what I see and hear, other than that I keep out of it. I'm the expert on biting my tongue, to the point I have no tongue. Whether it's my business or not, I internalize it, because I'm so close to it. Eventually I will be away from this situation. So that's all I can do.
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My mother has had an open wallet for my sister to extreme. Mom is 90. I asked her one day- is there some guilt with my sister? I asked because I truly wanted to understand. Some dark secrets emerged- I realized she was buying penance. Bottom line- even if grandma is at early stage dementia- you say she seems of relatively sound mind and good health most of the time. Often we want to blame the eldery's desire to give during their last years on earth as a mental illness- which most of the time it is NOT. I have spoke with many elderly in my mom's senior facility- trying to understand their thought process- and the general consensus is.they see their years on this earth as short- they want to spend and waste money wherever they want and they truly hate to be hassled by the younger family.Members about their seeming insane choices. They really hate all the bickering of family over THEIR MONEY. I agree with what another said- get your priority straight in your head. Stop focusing on what grandma chooses to do with her money. Why would you even consider legal elder abuse unless you want to drag aunt into the legal system at which time grandma will write you off? Just because grandma is old doesn't entitle you to enter her business.
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There is nothing you can do about this situation, and the sooner you realize this the better your life will be. It is great you are paying for your room and shows you are responsible. You cannot force someone to listen to you that does not want to hear (your grandmother), and she will and can give her money to whomever she wishes. The best you can do is hold your tongue and stay out of her business and your aunt's. Your aunt will be punished by the one who stands in judgment of us all. Go on with your life and make it a happy one!
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Gotta love family... Let go of your thoughts about the money. Money divides families faster than walls or distance any day. Do you love your grandmother? Does her being alive still add something to your life? I am going to assume "yes" to both questions, then let that be your focus. We never know what makes people think or act the way they do... Your Grandmother has chosen ("No victims here, just volunteers" was good) this life. Is it abuse? It depends on the deeper circumstances, also, just because a victim allows abuse, doesn't mean the abuse does not exist. And there are different types of abuse. Is your Aunt (Grandmother's daughter) stealing or is grandma really with the program and just very co-dependent? I am a co-dependent parent, luckily I have only one son. So no one else to worry about is he abusing me. I do things for him financially that are not helpful to him emotionally, but take care of him physically. Is it abuse on his part? nope I'm just co-dependent. Your grandmother may really want to help her daughter in that same capacity. It's going to take a lot more information to determine abuse. As for your own sanity... pick your battles... look deep into yourself as to why you care about this situation... and focus on how you can adapt to a situation that may never change. Good luck, I wish you peace.
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All I can say, is really, everyone above has given you as much solid great information as you could ever receive. What I would recommend is that YOU TAKE CARE OF YOU. Remember, that when all is done and said, you are still human, and deserve some happiness and not to live in this chronic state of chaos. I would MOVE OUT. It is not healthy nor a healthy environment for you.

Best of luck
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Oh, and also, if she runs out of money any 'gifting' she has done, on purpose or inadvertently, will come into play before she is eligible for Medicaid. She is very elderly, however, but I would run this by a lawyer.
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"No victims here, just volunteers". May sound harsh, but it is denial and dysfunction. Not fair but she allowed it. My now-passed-on MIL was like this with my husband's only brother and both had POA. He once told my husband that he had not saved for his retirement and that he thought of her money as his too. My husband did not and did plan for retirement (we did) but his mother always made excused for brother. It was very frustrating and aggravating to my husband and to me until we just decided to 'let it go'. She was old, she was infirm, she was tired, but her mind was sound and unless you are willing to go to war on this - and the money is NOT coming back/cannot bleed an anemic turnip! - I would distance myself and get a life that provides as much peace as you can get. You probably are not young either and life is short.
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Its still abuse and should be reported
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Document everything you've described. Try to follow up with info that is provable (eg: banks, acct #'s, descriptions of things purchased, the timeframe these transactions/purchases/scams occurred. Also, on a separate paper, write down the good and bad of persons involved, including you. Keep it in a safe place. If you hear of any person who could counsel you then you've got a ready-document. I can understand the frustration and reciting it over and over does make my blood boil. My nemesis is not a family member, but a so-called "friend" of my mother's. I feel bound and frustrated too. Try not to let it drag you down. Getting things on paper helps.
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