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Daughter learns elderly mom in hospice is being conned by 'shady' new friend. + Update

Daughter learns elderly mom in hospice is being conned by 'shady' new friend. + Update

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"My elderly mom is on hospice and her new 'friend' gives me a bad vibe"

raisingjack

I cannot for the life of me figure out why I feel like this but all of my spidey senses are tingling on this woman. Here’s a bit of the background:

My (40F) elderly mom (70F) has been ill for quite some time and is on hospice.

She was living in an independent living place where it was all elderly people in apartment type units. She has been living there for about 6 or 7 months and made a few casual old people friends but mostly kept to herself (so I thought).

A couple weeks ago, my boys and I were visiting my mom (we live right down the street and visit often) when a woman walks up to us with my mom. I extended my hand to introduce myself to this woman when she dismissed the handshake and instead went in for a hug and said “oh I only do hugs for family and we’re pretty much family!”

Ok, a little weird coming from someone I’ve never met before, and also never even heard a single mention of her but I pretty much brush it off thinking to myself that she’s probably just really lonely or something.

I asked my mom about this new friend and she just says that they met there at the old people place and she’s been a really good friend to her. Great, I love when my mom has friends, it’s important to have friends…. But this woman just keeps giving me weird vibes and I can’t pinpoint why. A few things that seem odd to me:

My mom is moving to a more traditional apartment complex this weekend and this new friend liked the new apartment complex so much that she decided to move to the same place as well. Her apartment isn’t ready yet but she’ll be moving to the same complex as my mom next month.

She apparently bought my moms dog a “I have the world’s best auntie,” sweatshirt For Christmas (they had known each other for maybe 2 months at that point). She called the other day to, I don’t really know why, I guess to give me her phone number and more formally “introduce” herself to me.

She talked about doing a lot of care taking stuff for my mom (“oh, I can manage her medications for her if you want,”) so I replied that while I appreciate the offer, there’s a lot of controlled medications.

Hospice prefers to keep minimal people involved in the medicine and that taking on caretaking responsibilities for a friend can get exhausting so it might be best for them to just focus on being friends rather than her wearing herself out trying to take care of her. She IMMEDIATELY went to my mom and made it sound like I was talking badly my own mom saying how she’s just an exhausting person blah blah.

When I confronted new friend about going to my mom and relaying our private conversation in a totally twisted way the friend lied and said that my mom had grabbed her phone and read it all in the text messages (it was over the phone and not at all via text messages).

When I pointed out there were no texts she just kind of stumbled and I dropped it because I knew it wouldn’t get anywhere. Every time I talk to my mom on the phone I can hear this woman telling her what to say or adding comments in. And none of it is outwardly worrisome things but it feels like I can’t have any conversation with just my mom.

I’m a very trusting person who generally tries to see the best in people. And this woman has not given me any concrete reasons to doubt her intentions and has in fact been very friendly and polite to me in all of our interactions. Nonetheless, I can’t shake this feeling that there’s something wrong here.

I sat my mom down yesterday and had a conversation with her about my feelings towards this new friend and she didn’t get defensive at all but disagreed with me and said that her new friend is just being kind in offering to help with stuff because she knows my mom is not the most organized of people and could use the help.

I begged my mom to please be cautious and to take the friendship slow and to keep it simply as a friendship and let me, her actual family, handle caretaking stuff. Despite no changes in medications, my mom has been more confused lately and comes across to me like she’s over taken medication but I only give her one dose at a time and the rest is locked up at all times so it isn’t that.

But just to be safe, since she’s more confused lately I took my mom’s credit and debit cards so no one can take advantage of her financially. Please help me figure out what this woman would have to gain in coming between my mom and I if it isn’t medication or money.

I don’t know how to do a background search or if that’s legal for any random person to do. But I did look this new friend up on a couple websites and all I learned from that is that she has a lot of “also known as” names but I can’t find anything else.

I’ll pay for a background search if anyone has a recommendation for good ones (we’re in California). Does any of this raise any red flags to anyone else or am I just being too over protective of my mom on this?

Oh, I almost forgot. I called one of my mom’s oldest and closest friends the other day and asked her if she’s met his new friend and if so, what was her impression. She said “honestly, I don’t know why I feel like this, but o just get a bad feeling about her.

I just feel like she’s up to no good,” Hearing this made me feel better in that I’m not the only one to pick up on something but I don’t know what, if anything, to do about it all.

Here were the top rated comments from readers after the OP's initial post:

Starkville

Oh no no. This lady is up to something, probably money. Please make sure your mother hasn’t signed anything giving this woman power of attorney. I’d probably hire a former law-enforcement private investigator and check her out. Sometimes they can relay a warning, too.

I am tempted to tell you to make a huge stink and make a lot of noise at her to leave your mother alone. If she knows you’re onto her and you’re going to be combative, she might back off and find someone else to glom onto.

WrestleswithPastry

This podcast covers this exact same scenario. A woman would befriend elderly people, offer to help, gain access to these folk’s resources and property, mess with their meds, then the senior citizen would eventually disappear. What you described reminded me of this immediately.

Trust your gut. I wish you all safety and luck.

ETA: The podcast is called The Opportunist and the episode is called Kimberly Smith. There are 5 parts.

shhhhhhhhbequiet

Ditto, came here to say this. The “text message” lie/twisting is enough to tell my spidey senses she’s up to no good. Level of nefarious, not sure but one cannot be too careful when it’s family.

geckotatgirl

Yes! A PI with a law enforcement background is a great idea. Even though OP's mom doesn't appear to have control over her own money, this woman could try to steal her apartment or other property she may own. I find it extremely suspicious that this woman has decided, on a whim, to move into the same complex as Mom.

Like, who does that? Not to mention, it's extremely fishy that her apartment "isn't ready." Is there really an apartment or is she next going to need to move in with Mom "temporarily" because her apartment isn't ready but she had to move out of her old one? I see that coming.

The OP responded here:

raisingjack

Exactly what I thought!!! I told my mom that no way in hell is this woman moving in, temporarily or otherwise. She agreed but I am going to have the apartment complex change the keys to be safe.

Because, oh get this, my mom’s key for the new apartment just mysteriously vanished. The “friend” blames it on my mom being so goofy and losing things all the time which is true, she does. But my mom can’t get that key off the ring herself. “friend” had no reply to that one…

sleepy-cat96

Can you set up a nanny cam in her apartment? Just to see what this other woman says or does while she is there?

The OP again responded:

raisingjack

I actually ordered some cameras today and a picture frame to hide them in. They come in tomorrow and I was going to hide them in the new apartment. I feel like it’s violating my mom’s privacy but I just don’t know what else to do.

Two months later, the OP returned with a full update.

"UPDATE - My elderly mom is on hospice and her new "friend" gives me a bad vibe"

raisingjack

Thank you so much for all of the responses and heartfelt advice. I’m so sorry to have been MIA for so long after I originally posted, but it’s just been a lot. I needed to take a beat to take it all in and deal with the punches from real life that kept coming my way.

Immediately after I posted last, I went to talk with my mom. I explained my concerns and she agreed to the two cameras I put up in her apartment. On moving day I was out of the apartment for a few minutes taking my kids back to my house when I logged onto the camera app to test out the settings.

I overheard my mom and the “friend” talking about me. It was not very nice and very much seemed like the “friend” was just teeing things up to come between my mom and I. My mom was playing right into it.

The “Friend” (I’ll just call her F to make it easier) was gone when I got back to the apartment but I got into it with my mom. I was crying telling her how hurtful it is to hear my own mother participating in a negative conversation about me after everything I do and have done for her. She cried, I cried, it was awful.

But at the end I had at least convinced her that F was up to no good. Mom agreed to create some distance between her and F and she immediately told F that her behavior towards me was not going to fly any longer & all talk of anything to do with me was off limits.

F seemed to understand and blamed her behavior towards me on some flimsy excuse that I didn’t buy for a second. All was calm for a week or so when one morning I called my mom to check in on her only to find out she was with F out running errands.

When I pushed for more information I uncovered that F had taken my mom to the bank so that my mom could obtain a new debit card (F very knew I had taken my mom's debit card, with my her blessing, because my mom was having episodes of increased confusion and wasn’t aware of who or what she was spending money on) because my mom had forgotten she had given me her previous debit card.

That was the final straw for me. That night I sent F the following text message: “Hi (F), mom told me about you guys going to the bank today to get a card and I just wanted to let you know that I know i know my mom appreciates your friendship but that I do not appreciate your getting yourself involved in things you have no business being involved in.

Mom and I have her finances under control between the two of us and we do not need any assistance getting her squared away, no matter how 'well meaning.' She’s asked me to take her card again (the new one) and has put me as the main account holder so I can be sure she has access to what she needs but that no one else does.

I want to believe you’re coming from a sincere place of just wanting to help my mom but it complicates friendships greatly when you get into financial territory. I handle all of my mom’s finances and medical stuff and it’s working for us that way.

My mom very much appreciates having you as her friend but she doesn’t need a care taker, I’ve got that covered. If you sincerely want to be her friend, you need to take ten giant steps back and check yourself regarding how you are coming across to me.

Because from my perspective it very much looks like you are dancing precariously close to the elder abuse line and I’m sure you wouldn’t want to me to get the authorities involved here but that’s exactly what will happen if things continue down this path.”

F responded with some bs reply akin to “oh my word! I would NEVER take advantage of anyone and I just wanted to help your mom blah blah blah… oh, and I think you and I have gotten off on the wrong foot (daughter), which is my fault but I’d like to start over again…more blah blah blah”

I never replied to F further and she has (shockingly/s) not really reached out to my mom since. I believe she is due to move into the apartment complex this weekend though so we shall see if she pops back up out of the woodwork.

I think she understands that I see through her attempts to come between my mom and I and that she’ll need to focus her efforts to scam people somewhere else. I notified my mom’s hospice nurses and her social worker as well.

I also bought a really super cool medication dispenser (I won’t name it because I’m not plugging anything but feel free to reach out to me if anyone has family members that they need some help managing medications for.

It’s expensive and probably cost prohibitive for a lot of folks but it has been a game changer for me to keep my moms medicine safe and organized) that is locked and syncs up to an app so I get notified every time it dispenses a medication.

That made me feel much better about F not having any access whatsoever to my mom’s prescriptions but the trip to the bank showed me exactly what F was after. I notified the bank that if F is with my mom, they are to contact me immediately.

All in all, I think most of you were correct, F was using my mom for money, or she was trying to but luckily I caught it before much damage was done. I think I’ve made my position on F clear to her which is why she is staying away.

I think I still need to contact the Independent Living Facility about my concerns with F because (I swear I’m not making this is) my mom says that F is going to be working at the Independent Living facility after she moves out. And I don’t want her being in a position to take advantage of anyone else.

Thank you again to everyone who replied and reached out to me with resources and/or advice. I read every reply and I actually read a number of them to my mom as well. It really helped her to see F for who she really is.

Here were the top rated comments from readers after the OP's update:

Greatgrandma2023

Definitely contact the Independent Living center. Tell them what happened and how F got herself involved with your Mom's finances.

The OP responded here:

raisingjack

I’m going to call them tomorrow. I should have done so already but I just hadn’t been able to tackle anything else up until now (hence me dragging my feet to update everyone). I’ll be sure they are aware of the situation and leave it up to them what they do next with F.

Admirable-Lie-9191

Holy crap! OP was quick on it. Good on her!

BambiToybot

Scammers can mask their words or tones, but they can't mask everything. OoP picked up on inconsistencies, he felt off about her, a friend of his mom's felt off.Please people, if something feels off about someone, explore that feeling. Inconsistency in words, Body language, micro expressions, and certain nonverbal communications catches your Brains attention, even if your awareness has not.

If someone feels off, a "bad aura" as the crunchy hippies would say, that is your brain telling you something, listen to it. It can be a positive feeling too! Explore that as well!

DopeandDiamonds

Please reach out to management regarding the move in for this weekend and this new update. Management needs to know what kind of person she is to protect the other residents.

So, if you could say anything to the OP, give them any advice, what would you say?

Sources: Reddit,Reddit
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