Are you a baby boomer, a sibling and worried about retirement, a parent’s death or a blood thirsty fight with siblings over inheritance. Or do you just need some financial guidance among you and your baby boomer siblings over financial matters in your aging family? There is an excellent radio show covering this-
The Boomer Financial Radio Network airs Saturday mornings 9:30 – 10 a.m. EST on WMTR-AM (1250) Cedar Knolls, NJ. .
I was interviewed this week for the show on many of these baby boomer-sibling issues. The show will be aired on and if you are in the east coast tune in. As I frequently do ,I refer to geriatric care managers, financial planners to help aging families with inheritance issues?
Financial abuse does happen in families among siblings and adult children
The terrible truth is the worst perpetrators are not professional con artists. The most dangerous elder financial abusers aren’t folks running a scam like Bernie Madoff or crooks offering free lunches to retirees then swindling their money .The most vicious financial abusers are most frequently the older person’s own family adult children and midlife siblings/ .
All we have to do is look at the infamous Brooke Astor case, where a geriatric care manager was actually involved to help the court with this infamous case.
Mrs. Astor’s son Anthony was convicted of siphoning millions and sentenced to one to three years in prison.
After the trial one prosecutor called it “grand theft Astor,” with Mrs. Astor’s son on a “a six-year crime spree involving a series of larcenies.”
I also highly recommend the book Mrs. Astor Regrets by Meryl Gordon Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, 2008.
Mrs. Astor lived to be 105 and was a storied philanthropist. She gave her entire Foundation away to great causes, many in New York. Her 83 year old, only child ( no siblings ) -was indicted on charges of robbing her estate of millions. The story catalogs three generations of a quintessential dysfunctional family, who use the treacherous tools wielded by these kin to eat away at each other, in a bloody multigenerational family war.
They even produce art that tells the ultimate dysfunctional family story, when Philip Astor, the accused son, teams with his devious wife, to produce a revival Long Days Journey Into Night, on Broadway. I personally consider this play the ultimate dysfunctional family story.
The allegations of undue influence, where new wills are signed by elderly Mrs. Astor when she may not have the capacity to legally sign, are pure elder fiscal abuse material.
This novel makes make the stiff dry legal morass of undue influence, a compelling read and the swirl of probate attorneys, elder law attorneys, conservatorships and even a geriatric social worker who acts like a geriatric care manager, in the end, create pure theater for our aging profession.
A survey of State Adult Protective Abuse of Adults Over Sixty showed that the most common fiscal abuser was a son or daughter. Adult children perpetrated 33 % of the fiscal exploitation substantiated by APS. Other family members were the next biggest group of fiscal abusers investigated by APS. These other kin represented almost 22% of the financial abuser reported nationwide to adult protective services.
So Tune into, The Boomer Financial Radio Network airs Saturday mornings 9:30 – 10 a.m. EST on WMTR-AM (1250) Cedar Knolls, NJ. To hear me this Saturday talk about siblings and their sometimes-seamy side.
Hear my interview this Saturday, The Boomer Financial Radio Network airs Saturday July 28 9:30 – 10 a.m. EST on WMTR-AM (1250).
Geriatric Care Manager ‘s have many areas of expertise- one of them is hoarding.
Who is hoarder? According to geriatric care manager and hoarding expert Emily Saltz it’s a person who acquires then fails to discard things—say, 30 years of National Geographic—that seem to be useless or of limited value. It is also someone who lives in a home that is so cluttered that it stops activities that those spaces were designed for (a bedroom with a bed where clothes are piled mattress to ceiling, resulting in the hoarder sleeping on the couch). A hoarder is a person who either is significantly distressed or functions poorly as a result of the hoarding (a person who can’t have the plumber or anyone come to the house to fix things because the house is too filled with “stuff,” and worse, their hoarding would be revealed).
Hoarding is also collecting gone mad. Instead of acquiring and discarding, a hoarder just acquires and rarely discards. An example is a person who loves those collector plates that you put on the wall. She orders them over the years but never discards them or puts them on the wall, so every room in the house is stacked with boxes of collector plates.
This is a serious problem in our culture, yet it is so underreported that only 5 percent of hoarding is reported to the authorities such as Adult Protective Services. Only 40 percent of hoarders are mentally ill. The rest appear to have personality disorders, with a cluster of symptoms including reclusiveness, suspiciousness, and obstinacy and isolating tendencies. About 20–30 percent of hoarders have obsessive-compulsive tendencies, and 20 percent have dementia. It usually begins in childhood or adolescence, and 80 percent of hoarders had someone in their family who hoarded, like a sibling.
The typical hoarder is a woman, lives alone, is socially isolated, has symptoms of anxiety and depression, and has poor insight, so she denies the problems. Hoarding has nothing to do with income; and in fact, Jacqueline Kennedy’s cousins, the famous mother and daughter in Grey Gardens are hoarders.
It has nothing to do with IQ, as the average hoarder has an IQ of 115 or above. Excessive buying or acquiring possessions almost always accompanies hoarding. Acquisitions can be anything from those collector plates, clothes, cats, parts of computers, to TVs. Hoarders don’t just buy them on eBay or the shopping channel but also purchase at Goodwill or tag sales and are even dumpster divers. Hoarding is the bane of the aging family. Fifty percent of the referrals made to Adult Protective Services are for self-neglect and hoarding. As we age we move into our last decades with sometimes thousand of pounds of unnecessary possessions. Older people may have been collecting their “hoard” for 70 or 80 years with no one telling them that this is a problem. Family and sometimes neighbors, who “smell” the hoard, confront them in old age.
Or the traumas of widowhood or any of the severe losses of old age may trigger the need to hoard. There is actually a dearth of research and training in hoarding.
Emily Saltz, edited an excellent issue of The Journal of Geriatric Care Management Hoarding and Elders: Current Trends, Dilemmas and Solutions in Journal of Geriatric Care Management, Volume 20, Issue 2, Fall 2010.
For those of you who have read Dickens’s Great Expectations, think of poor Miss Havisham, sitting in the “airless room that was oppressive and hidden.” Pip, the main character, looks at her dust-covered, spider web–encased table from her long aborted wedding feast. In the center is a nightmarish centerpiece “overhung with cobwebs, speckled legged spiders with blotchy bodies running in and out of it, mice running in the walls in the background, revealed to be her long ago wedding cake.” Like any hoarder,
Miss Havisham has an aching story to tell. She has kept this moldy, dirt-encased, bug-infested wedding feast for decades after being abandoned at the altar. Her beloved fled, and she became an isolationist who was full of despair. She was a mean secret hoarder. (Hoarding is sometimes called Havisham syndrome.) But at the heart of her “hoard” was her long ago abandonment, a step away from her wedding, where her long-lost husband-to-be fled. It wasn’t about her “stuff,” it was about her heart.
If you have a Miss Havisham in your family, call a geriatric care manager
The Top Ten Reasons Why You Can Afford A Geriatric Care Manager by Phyllis Brostoff
10. We can do in 2 hours what it would take you 2 weeks to do.
9. We know how to get around that “I’m saving for a rainy day” syndrome, when your folks are drowning in their problems.
8. We’re much cheaper than the cost of plane fare if you have to fly into town when your parents say “everything is fine” but you know it isn’t.
7. We can give you the scoop on which nursing home is really right for your parents.
6. We can make your parents hear what you have said over and over again, but they refuse to listen to them, you are still a child.
5. We can tell your annoying siblings to shut up, but graciously.
4. We’ve helped hundreds of families a lot worse than yours.
3. Your dad can’t push our buttons.
2. Next time you want to hang up on your mother, you can tell her to call us.
1. We’re available 24/7, so you don’t have to be.
Summer is here and many midlife siblings and their own family of young siblings are bound for Grandma ‘s house. Before you go over the river and through the woods, call a geriatric care manager in their area. You can find one of the National Geriatric Care Management site by just adding your Mom’s zip code. Make an appointment to go to their office and meet with them, during the visit to your aging parents. Most GCM’s will see you to discuss their services at no charge. You can shop around and interview a few if you wish.
Why do that before you go over the river. Well there just may be a flood in your future and a wolf in your woods. Calling a geriatric care manager is a preventative and prudent step. If you to have a geriatric care manager in the town where your older relative resides, they build dams and scare off those wolves.
If there is a crisis with grandma, it is cheaper to have a local geriatric care manager solve the problem. When you get the dreaded call about a fall or hospitalization, you have to fly or drive to grandmas. The geriatric care manager is minutes away and can get there immediately- like a first responder in an ambulance. In an urgent situation, they can go to the hospital or emergency room. This is more sane and cost effective than you getting on last minute, expensive flights or driving hundreds of exhausting miles. You can still go to grandpa or grandmas but the geriatric care manager can immediately be there to deal with the crisis. They are good insurance.
Before any crisis, ever occurs you can have the GCM do an initial assessment and visit your older relative periodically (once a month, once every two months). This is preventative. That way they are there for you when you need them and have all the information to solve the problem. Think of them the way you do one of those blow-up beds. You can pump them up when you need them in a crisis—perhaps avoid that crisis, and you yourself can sleep more soundly and with more peace of mind in your own bed. Some of the things a geriatric care manager can do for you are:
1.Save you money by helping keep your parent out of the hospital and you off emergency long distance flights.
2.Facilitate a family discussion of needs, resources, and division of labor among friends family
3. Recommend ways to proactively prepare and plan for a parent’s possible health care crisis.
4.Work on family cooperation to formulate realistic parent-care plan.
5.Assess strengths and weaknesses of all of the potential caregivers
6. Help adult siblings resolve conflicts about care decisions.
7.Help siblings act together in the best interest of the parent
8.Decrease the tension between hometown and long distance siblings
9. Help the long-distance care provider deal with guilt and frustration that may result from their inability to provide more of the day-to-day care.
10.Locate aging resources (both no -cost trough the older Americans Act) in your aging parents area quickly and without you having to do it
So before the family reunion, your, summer vacation, or labor day come and go- call a geriatric care manager so that your Mom or Dad are have a geriatric care manager to stave off or solve any crisis, so you don’t have to face a bigger messier problem your aging parent is safe, and you have PEACE OF MIND.