I came across this story this morning and was appalled. Not by RBC, although their behaviour was somewhat negligent, but by the family. It’s not until the money is gone that they get upset. Oh they probably felt real involved when they brought her over for Christmas and Easter. Thanksgiving’s always a treat but the rest of the year? Well, they had other things to do no doubt.

Before I get on my high horse and start ranting, let’s look at the situation. Her neighbour was able to move in, rent free, without the family raising so much as an eyebrow. Her neighbour was able to move in her son and son’s girlfriend, also rent free, without even a question. The family never questioned any of this. Not once did they say “Mom? Why are these people living with you?” The neighbour was then able to go to the bank on a regular basis and make regular withdrawals. Here’s my question; why wasn’t the family keeping an eye on that account to make sure that Mom (or Grandma) was paying her bills, etc. How was the neighbour able to make these withdrawals without the family asking a single question? Ever?

So the neighbour goes through the money. A fair chunk of change the kids were no doubt relying on getting when Mom kicked the bucket. $82,000. Now the bank calls the family because the account is dry and things are bouncing. Now the family gets upset and an investigation is started. Now? After the money is gone?

Okay so here’s the rant; where the hell was the family before the money was gone? At some point someone had to go over to Mom’s and see that she wasn’t being cared for. Maybe dishes weren’t done? House was a mess? Something? Here’s an idea; ask Mom how things are. Just because she’s elderly doesn’t mean she’s stupid. She probably knew her account was being bled dry and didn’t know what to do about it. The elderly are easy victims because they often feel isolated and don’t know where to turn for help.

All that takes work, though. The elderly need help in their day to day lives and it should be the responsibility of their families to do the work of caring for them. This does not necessarily mean moving in and cleaning up after them. However, it does mean being involved in their lives. If they live in a care facility it means talking with staff on a regular basis. It means checking their bank accounts to ensure all is in order. In some cases it may mean paying their bills for them and ensuring they have spending money if required. It means actually sitting down and talking with the elderly person and finding out how they feel about their lives and listening.

I am angry at this family. They expected a stranger to do what they should have been doing all along and only get angry when their inheritance is gone. In my eyes they’re just as guilty as the neighbour.

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