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AIBU? Neglect? Fraud?

(148 Posts)
Shwangalangadingdong Thu 30-Mar-17 01:49:57

My parents live with my grandmother, and have done for the last ten years. My DGM is 89, my DM is 64 and my DD is 66.

My parents don't pay rent or bills and have a substantial property which is attached to my DGM's house which is their private area. They go away a three times a year for a total of 12 weeks, and while away spend a lot of money of luxury items. I'd guess they spend around £25000 a year on all this and this has been going on for the last 8-9 years.

Neither of them work or have done for the last ten years. I don't know exactly what their personal income is but they have standard pensions from a government employer which have only just started and I have no idea what their income was previous to this.

They make meals and do basic housekeeping for my DGM but have never had anything more challenging to deal with other than a couple of hospital visits due to falls she has had in the last year and small tasks occasionally.

DGM broke her ankle after falling down just after they left for a five week cruise. My brother went round to visit her and found that she had been suffering at home for 24 hours after she broke her ankle. She ended up in hospital for 3 weeks and was only allowed home when my DM and DF got home. My brother and me visited her while she was in hospital and helped to get her home. We love her very much and we were happy she was back at home.

We both have other caring, family and work commitments so do not have much free time but have offered to house sit my parents house to keep an eye and be around but they won't let either of us stay or even have a key for emergencies. It's a remote isolated house so that makes it harder.

Our parents returned and immediately told us both that they are going on a safari in October for 5 weeks. My brother and me decided that we would no longer be prepared to cover up our parents lavish lifestyle to my DGM anymore if they are prepared to go away and leave her in danger again. We have questioned between ourselves how they can afford all this stuff for years but have been persuaded by our parents to keep it a secret from my DGM in order to keep the peace.

So we told our parents that we are not prepared to keep the trips and the other money stuff a secret from our DGM anymore. We have said that they cannot leave her again without any support. They have already implied to her that me and DBRO were trying to get her put into a home while they were away. We feel like they are threatening her with this subtly as she wants to her to stay in her own house until she dies, and she told us her wishes over and over again while she was in hospital. We want this for her as well she is very happy there.

We are worried that she is in a vulnerable position living with them and want to help her. We think it's possible that my parents have been defrauding and / or bullying her in some way and if we bring it up with DGM that she will be extremely upset and hurt and in a very difficult position. However she is extremely bright and lived through a lot worse and very capable of sorting out an issue if there is one - for now anyway.

So we have contacted DGM to arrange to meet up with and gently try and find out if there's any worries on her side, but she has said she's too busy and there's a lot going on. In the meantime our parents have said they have everything sorted out and we needn't bother ourselves anymore. It feels like they're isolating her from us and now I'm even more concerned about her.

I am posting to ask for advice before I contact adult safeguarding or social services as I'm not even sure that's going to be in GM best interest long term

Shwangalangadingdong Thu 30-Mar-17 09:59:47

anyone?

witchofzog Thu 30-Mar-17 10:05:54

Adult safeguarding definitely. It sounds like there may be some financial abuse as well as neglect. If your worries are unfounded (doubtful) then nothing has been lost but to be honest your parents sound like they have been onto a good thing for years and have realised they are about to be found out. In all probability they have told your poor grandmother all sorts of lies hence her being too busy to see you. She is probably terrified. Your parents should be ashamed. Thank goodness for you op and your brother

DoublyTroubly Thu 30-Mar-17 10:05:54

This all sounds quite complicated which is probably why you haven't had any responses yet. Maybe try ringing age concern for some advice

Shwangalangadingdong Thu 30-Mar-17 10:13:31

Hi doubly we have but they told us to talk to DGM first as she has mental capacity now our parents are keeping her away from us and probably telling her we want to put her into a home. We don't want to upset or alarm her by just turning up and confronting them or getting anyone else involved at the moment

Shwangalangadingdong Thu 30-Mar-17 10:14:49

Thanks witchofzog it's all very suspect but we have no proof of any fraud at the moment just suspicions and a lot of worries

Rossigigi Thu 30-Mar-17 10:19:06

No advice sorry except to contact adult safeguarding team. What a sorry situation you are in, but at least you are aware something does not seem right and are willing to take appropriate steps.

needalittleL Thu 30-Mar-17 10:19:56

I think this is a safeguarding issue but I'm afraid I don't know what to advise. I would definitely keep pressing for a meet up away from your parents. Do you think they may be taking her money? If so that's illegal but I can understand why you want to tread carefully.

Have you asked your parents how they afford such luxuries? No secret lottery win you don't know about? Is there any way they CANT be defrauding her?

Shwangalangadingdong Thu 30-Mar-17 10:24:10

My DBro got a message from DGM asking for some keys back (car keys and car is parked outside her house) my parents have a spare key. Message sounded cold and unlike my DGM almost like someone else had written it. No idea where they are getting their money from and they just say it's none of our business. Safeguarding may not do anything without proof as she is of sound mind and age concern didn't have any further advice beyond trying to talk to DGM about this

Shwangalangadingdong Thu 30-Mar-17 10:27:45

We took the car keys when she was in hospital as she would have driven even though she can hardly walk and is a danger to herself and others

needalittleL Thu 30-Mar-17 10:28:01

You need to see her FtF. You never know what they are saying to her.

If you say they both had government jobs and haven't been working for 10 years there can't be THaT much saved up?

http://www.ageuk.org.uk/health-wellbeing/relationships-and-family/protecting-yourself/what-is-elder-abuse/

This is from age.uk I guess you can ring them for advice?

From the sounds of it I think your parents know you are on to them so be very careful.

ohdoadoodoo Thu 30-Mar-17 10:31:43

Your parents sound like absolute piss takers OP. sad

HecateAntaia Thu 30-Mar-17 10:33:30

I think it could well be financial abuse. It needs investigating.

Shwangalangadingdong Thu 30-Mar-17 10:33:40

I have a feeling they have told her not to speak to us and may be screening her email and messages

cafenoirbiscuit Thu 30-Mar-17 10:34:18

Practical things - maybe a pendant alarm for when your parents are away, and maybe a live-in carer/housekeeper? And generally keep an eye open all year round

HappyFlappy Thu 30-Mar-17 10:35:14

Obviously I don't know what financial arrangements are in place, and perhaps your `DGM is knowingly and happily supporting them - however, surely they could use some of this money (there seems to be a lot) to arrange for temporary care for your DGM when they go away for long periods.

MiniCooperLover Thu 30-Mar-17 10:35:36

In that case OP you need to bite the bullet and turn up unannounced.

dangermouseisace Thu 30-Mar-17 10:37:39

It all sounds highly suspect. I think you are going to have to tread gently (yourself) at the moment to avoid getting shut out, if your parents haven't done that already. FWIW your parents sound completely bizarre- who doesn't have keys to their parents house??!!!

Is it correct that your parents have actually asked you to keep their holidays a secret from your DGM? If they have, what reasons did they give for this? And what do they tell her they are doing during the times that they are away? What happens with regards meals and housekeeping whilst they are away?

YetAnotherSpartacus Thu 30-Mar-17 10:38:31

No advice but definitely YANBU sad.

hoddtastic Thu 30-Mar-17 10:40:47

i don't understand- you say keep their lavish lifestyle from your Grandmother? Does she not know they are away for 3 months of the year?

misses point entirely

this sounds like the plot of a film, I think you should report them to adult soc svcs.

MadameCholetsDirtySecret Thu 30-Mar-17 10:41:44

Do your parents have POA? I would be concerned if they do.

Shwangalangadingdong Thu 30-Mar-17 10:44:34

When they go away she has a private meals on wheels once a day. We go round every week and keep in touch by email / mobile (which we bought her) We have been told that she would worry too much if she knew they were so far away on holiday and get told to go along with a story like they're camping in France or something equally modest sounding. I asked for a key so I could stay the night she came home from hospital but my parents said under no circumstances are we allowed to go into their house. She has a pendant alarm but didn't press it the last 2 times she fell

Shwangalangadingdong Thu 30-Mar-17 10:45:41

I am in the process of applying to find out if they have POA and also getting a copy of my DGF's will

emmyrose2000 Thu 30-Mar-17 10:48:57

Do your parents not actually tell DGM that they're going on holiday when they disappear for weeks on end? If not, where does DGM think they've disappeared to during that time? Or do they downplay what sort of holidays they're going on/where they're going?

When they were working, were they the types of jobs that would've afforded them to save enough money for the type of lifestyle they're living now?

It does all seem rather suspect, I agree. Who has control of DGM's finances? Do your parents have access to her bank accounts/debit cards etc? Is there a legal body where you live who can step in and at least find out the story with regards DGM's finances? The results of that might just be the answer to some of the other questions you have.

I would honestly start doing some snooping around DGM's house next time your parents are out or away, and either DGM is out or in another part of the house. Is that trustworthy? Probably not. But if you can find some proof one way or another as to whether DGM is being swindled, then the snooping would be the least of the problems.

DGM broke her ankle after falling down just after they left for a five week cruise. My brother went round to visit her and found that she had been suffering at home for 24 hours after she broke her ankle

Did your brother just happen to pop in at that time? I dread to think what would've happened if no one had visited for a week or more. Even if everything your parents are doing is above board financially, they simply must arrange for someone to stay with, or check on her daily, when they go away. It's seems very negligent (and morally repugnant) otherwise.

dangermouseisace Thu 30-Mar-17 10:52:25

wow that is a pretty poor excuse for keeping a holiday a secret (but only in retrospect). Did you grandmother not have space in her house for you to stay? It all sounds very weird not being allowed in their house, unless you have form for theft or something!

Your grandmother is vulnerable, as she is relying on your parents for support/organising support. I'd definitely call adult safeguarding and have a chat. They tend to be very gentle in how they find out things, and may have suggestions for you. What an awful situation for you all flowers

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