Elderly Parent

I called my father for our bi-monthly chat and to say good-bye as we leave for vacation. He has been in a quandary over what to do about his house. He has thought of bankruptcy, selling it, and a reverse mortgage. The heartbreaker is that the house was paid off. However, due to his lonliness, he took in a woman and her two children back in 2001. Little did he know then that she was taking him in, for every red cent he had.

This was not a sexual relationship; she had burned through all social service agencies in the tri-county area, so she needed someone to feed off of and my father was the perfect target being a new widower. Regardless of the protests my brother and I put up, he refused to let her go or actually to kick her out. He continued to feel sorry for her and especially the children. He cared more for the kids than she did.

Each time he was hospitalized, she took his credit cards and went on a buying spree: without his knowledge or consent.. However, he refused to do anything about it. This happened repeatedly. Now we has gone from being debt free to owing $176,000.

This is not the new news that I received from this phone call. I had known this for some time. What shocked me on this call was his incredibly upbeat mood when he shared with me that he is in line to win a million dollars from the West Indies. Upon hearing this news, I felt like someone had reached down my throat, grabbed me by the toes and pulled me inside out. My father, my intelligent father has fallen for this scam. Maintaining my calm, trying not to pop his bubble with the first pin prick, I gently offered that I receive scam letters via the e-mail on a daily basis. With this, he admitted that he received them in the postal mail and tosses them, but this was a phone call, so it was different.

Stay calm, stay calm! Venturing slowly, I asked if he had given any credit card information or bank account numbers, but he only responded with laughter. Repeating the question did not produce any better answers than the first go round. Trying a different tactic, I asked if my brother knew? He said he did and told dad to be careful. When I reiterated about the account information, dad said he had very little in the checking account and most of his credit cards were maxed out anyway. If these scammers had done their homework, they should have noticed this is a poor time investment. Though we do send him monthly checks, I hate to think it is going to the West Indies or anywhere, but toward his bills. As long as he is fluid of mind, the Elder Abuse people are powerless to intervene. We have tried that before when the vixen did her dirty deeds using his account.

This will all have to play out on its own.