elder abuse

Guarding Against Elder Abuse

Dear Mr. Dad: I am 74 years old and handicapped. My 43-year-old daughter moved in to my house with her boyfriend and was supposed to help me with basic caregiving. But instead, the two of them have turned my house into a dump, destroying my furniture, damaging the walls, and more. I made the mistake of giving my daughter access to my checking account so she could help me with paying bills and, instead, she’s stealing money from me. I think she may also have opened up some credit cards in my name. I’ve told them several times to leave, but every time I do, she either hits me or threatens to put me in a facility. I’m afraid and don’t know what to do.

A: As quickly as possible, call someone you can trust and get yourself to a safe place where you daughter and her boyfriend can’t reach you. As soon as you’re there, call the police and tell them that you’re reporting a case of elder abuse. Also call your county’s Adult Protective Services Agency (every county has one) and report the abuse. According to the CDC, elder abuse is “an intentional act, or failure to act, by a caregiver or another person in a relationship involving an expectation of trust that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult.” Elder abuse may include physical abuse, emotional abuse (such as threats to have you removed from your home), neglect (such as not caring for you), financial exploitation, and even sexual abuse. From what you describe, you’re definitely a victim.

There are a number of other calls you’ll need to make: A lawyer should be able to help you evict your daughter from your home and keep her and her boyfriend away from you. An accountant or financial expert (and maybe the lawyer) should be able to tell you what you need to do to take away any kind of access your daughter has to your money or assets, including your retirement accounts and your home.


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Armin Brott

View posts by Armin Brott
Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men's health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, mrdad.com. You can also connect via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  and Linkedin.

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