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Neighbour taking advantage of elderly Mum during virus?

(16 Posts)
SausageCrush Sun 07-Jun-20 11:03:29

My Dm is mid 90's and lives in a different country to me. This has never been a problem in the past as she comes out to visit us regularly and I see her too when I am back in the UK several times a year.

Obviously things are different now as Dm is shielding and one of my Dc is disabled and vulnerable. Dm and I are close. As she has got older we have talked about care packages and what is right for her. I have power of attorney and she had agency carers going in twice a day. She is still sharp enough mentally, but in poor physical shape.

The problem is a near neighbour who has taken my Mum under her wing and I'm suspicious about her motives. I have met her as she's known Dm a couple of years and she's gone from being an occasional visitor who pops in for a coffee, to someone who is accepting large amounts of cash (£300 - £500 a week sometimes more) and has now been left money in Mums will. She has become an unofficial carer to my Mother and the agency carers have been scaled back.

Mum is very fond of her and won't hear a word against this woman and I'm not sure what to do. On the plus she is company and has obviously been helping when I can't be around because of the virus. The negatives are that I am uncomfortable about the way this all seems to have got out of hand since I'm not there.

Mum is naive and trusting. She tells me how she feels sorry for this lady, how awful her home life is, how unreliable her partner is, how uncaring her (grown) children are and that her car is at the garage yet again. Dm seems happy to throw money at her and it feels as though this woman's motives are not honest.

Please advise. AIBU to think she is taking advantage?

OP’s posts: |
MatildaTheCat Sun 07-Jun-20 11:05:43

YANBU.. contact AgeUK for advice. It’s not uncommon unfortunately.

thegcatsmother Sun 07-Jun-20 11:07:39

Trigger the POA to stop this woman getting money?

Porcupineinwaiting Sun 07-Jun-20 11:12:00

@thegcatsmother so much wrong with that I dont know where to begin. You cant just trigger a POA because someone who is "sharp enough mentally " is making financial decisions you dont approve of.

Also: different country. What POA?

OP you need to talk to your mum openly and non judgementally if this is bothering you.

Bluetonic41 Sun 07-Jun-20 11:14:41

Is your mum in the UK or are you? Contact age uk or social services if she is in the UK or exercise your POA and stop your mum having access to such large amounts of cash. Work out a system of paying this woman hourly for the 'care' she is providing. You need to act on this.

Atalune Sun 07-Jun-20 11:17:08

Use your POA to put stops in place on the money direct from the bank?

You need to protect your mum. Is there anyway as lockdown has eased you can go and be with your mum a bit more often?

AnnaMagnani Sun 07-Jun-20 11:19:13

Not uncommon - my DM is prone to this but thankfully the latest objects of her sympathy are professionals, not grifters.

AgeUK is a good start. Is there any way you can get more control of her finances to rein in the cash gifts?

I found I had to work v hard on my mum to persuade her that carers needed to be professionals - what if your friend had a holiday/accident/didn't have the skills or training and hurt herself? You need to focus on you, not your friend.

Also how much do you tell her about your life. My mum's 'friends', yes there have been a succession of them, fill a gap for her as she likes to be wanted and useful and I live far away and don't really need her to 'mum' any more. The more I have to do with my mum, even just phone calls telling her about my life and worries, the less she needs her 'friends' because her daughter is always going to be better than these surrogates.

This has worked for me anyway, I appreciate that if they are really entrenched as a cuckoo in the nest then she may think their worries are worse than yours but I did find that if I could fill the space talking about my terrible job, it kind of squeezed out her visitor's space to talk about her bullshit. Also of course the more the dodgy visitor knew I was on the radar, they back off as well.

EmeraldShamrock Sun 07-Jun-20 11:23:56

How awful. Has she your DM's bank card does your Mother know she is getting cash.
The will is understandable for a gift if she has been extremely helpful to your DM. Old neighbours do need lots of free support 2 of my elderly neighbours had care cut back, the younger neighbours have been delivering milk bread soup, one has no family near he died last week. I'd be very suspicious of weekly payment though.

SausageCrush Sun 07-Jun-20 11:29:22

Thank you. I will contact Age Uk, but the tricky thing is that Dm is very defensive about her spending and she has a point.

It is her money and she can do as she likes with it. The new 'friend' isn't doing anything illegal, but I think it is morally wrong that she has made her move when I'm not around and has quickly become indispensable.

OP’s posts: |
thegcatsmother Sun 07-Jun-20 11:29:44

@Porcupineinwaiting Moot point about mental sharpness isn't it? The OP can trigger the POA if she contacts the OPG with the relevant paperwork. If you read the OP then you will note that the elderly mother is in the UK.

cakemeupbeforeyougogo Sun 07-Jun-20 11:34:02

Ojay, well if you're in England, then your POA only comes into force when your mum lacks capacity and only then if your POA is for finance/property. You can't just intervene because you don't like the decisions your mum is making.

That said, I would be VERY concerned regarding the 'gifts' of money and would telephone in a safeguarding concern to Adult Social Care. They have a duty to investigate. Advise them that you are concerned your mum is being taken advantage of; explain how agency workers have been partially dispensed with by the neighbour and how you feel that your mum is vulnerable to financial and emotional exploitation as she is lonely and physically unable to meet her own needs. Ask to be kept informed.

AnnaMagnani Sun 07-Jun-20 11:35:33

I would wonder about mental sharpness as well. It might not be quite as good as your mum thinks it is, easy to cover up from a distance.

Really you need to get back to the UK ASAP and suss the situation out.

LaceCurtains Sun 07-Jun-20 11:35:40

POA doesn't mean mum can't spend her own money, only that OP can pay bills etc for her if needed.

mouse70 Sun 07-Jun-20 11:41:07

Do you or your mother have relatives in UK that you trust who could
keep an eye on situation? I would contact social services to inform them of your worries re situation and possible financial abuse. Having said that, as your mother has capacity, she can do whatever she wishes.

AnnaMagnani Sun 07-Jun-20 12:02:15

POA for finance can come into force any time your mum agrees depending on how it is written - it doesn't have to be when she has lost capacity. OP would need to check what hers says. However the majority are done so the attorney can act when the person still has capacity. In contrast LPA's for Health and Welfare can only act when the person has lost capacity.

It enables people to let others carry out their financial affairs for them if they are too ill to do it themselves but it doesn't exclusively have to be when they have lost capacity.

OP's example of her frail 90 yr old mum wanting someone else to make sure bills are paid so she didn't have the stress of doing it herself would be a classic example of someone with capacity using a LPA for finance.

OP as LPA for finance would then have a responsibility to discuss any decisions she did make with her mum (as her mum still has capacity) and to point out when funds were running low if mum is blowing the budget on the new 'friend'.

If mum continues to spend spend spend then that would be a trigger for a referral to Adult Safeguarding because as her LPA, OP would be concerned about her Best Interests.

polarbearoverthere Sun 07-Jun-20 12:21:00


Sorry to hear that this is going on. It's certainly unsettling and needs some more investigation. I would second the notion to speak to the adult safeguarding team of her local council who will be in a position to investigate

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