Making The Complex

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3 red flags a relative is stealing from your elderly parents

As your parents get older, you may have concerns about new people that come into their lives. You have seen plenty of news stories about live-in caregivers that have made off with family fortunes, or accountants that have taken complete control of an elder’s assets for their own interest. But what if it is not the new friends or caregivers that you have to worry about? What if it is actually a family member, such as your own sibling, that you should keep a closer eye on?

In many cases where an elder suffers financial or physical abuse, it is a family member that is the perpetrator. If you are worried that a relative is taking advantage of your elderly parents, look for these warning signs.

Secretive about finances

If one of your siblings has assumed the responsibility of taking care of your parents — both managing the finances and overseeing their medical needs — but refuses to allow you to see a full accounting of the income and expenses, something might be wrong.

Your sibling depends on your parents for support

It is not unusual for adult children and their parents to cohabitate when the parents are in their advanced years. However, if your youngest brother has a history of not holding down a steady job and has been living off of your parents, you may want to take a closer look at what is going on as they continue to advance in age.

You don’t see much of your parents anymore

Another warning sign that all may not be as it should be, is if your sibling begins to isolate your parents. For example, if every time you drive from New Orleans to Metairie to visit your parents, your sibling claims they are sleeping, not feeling well or do not want visitors, there might be a problem.

If you have elderly parents and you are concerned that a relative is taking advantage of them, it might be time for you to take action. There are options available for you to fight back and protect your parents from further elder abuse.


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