You may be wondering how I got into this line of work. It happened innocently enough and turned into a real eye-opener!
Receiving a phone call from someone in crisis is common at my office, but when the phone rang one afternoon, and it was a colleague claiming an emergency, I knew the matter was very urgent.
My colleague said one of his clients, who was preparing to move to a safe environment for those afflicted with Alzheimer’s, was at home alone when her neighbors — so-called friends — and a few antique dealers all decided to pay her a visit on the same afternoon. (Word spreads like wildfire any time an older adult begins downsizing an estate, and I caution you to pay close attention to this story so you can protect your loved ones!)
This elderly woman’s home was filled with many valuable possessions. Apparently several people came by to “purchase” all of her assets. My colleague had tried to get the dealers out of the house, but no one took him seriously. Knowing that I deal with this sort of thing daily, he asked me to intervene quickly, even though I had never met this woman.
These neighbors and friends and dealers were literally stripping her home of her lifelong heirlooms, possessions that were supposed to be passed down to her children after her death. Her children would never see those heirlooms again. The neighbors and friends helped themselves, throwing a $1 or $5 bill at her for items worth thousands of dollars. Sadly, they preyed upon her much like a vulture stripping a bone. In her advanced diseased state, she simply didn’t know any better. But they did!
How I wished the family would have known to expect exploitation in times of fragility! This story is one I see frequently. One day, I had had enough and decided to write a book to assist the boomer children, and the elderly parents navigate the final chapter of their lives.
© 2009 Julie Hall