Take the AARP Smart Driver course and you could save on auto insurance! Learn more.
by Carole Fleck, AARP Bulletin, June 30, 2010
Q. My sister persuaded my mother to sign her house over to her, promising Mom that she’d have a place to live for the rest of her life. Then my sister rented the house, after she took out a reverse mortgage, used most of the proceeds and moved out of state. Mom had no place to go and only Social Security to live on, so I took her in.
I think my sister cheated Mom out of her home. Would this be considered elder abuse? Can anything be done legally?
A. Without knowing all the details, it’s not possible to say whether this particular case constitutes elder abuse. But in general, one form of this abuse is when a relative or a person in a position of trust takes advantage to gain control of money, property or other assets.
According to a 2009 study, elder financial abuse costs victims more than $2.6 billion per year and is most often perpetrated by family members, friends and caregivers. Up to 1 million older people may be targeted yearly. The study was published by the MetLife Mature Market Institute along with the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the Center for Gerontology at Virginia Tech.
To report your family’s situation, call your local adult protective services office or your state department on aging. You can find resources on the issue at the website of the National Center on Elder Abuse, which is funded by the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA). You can also call the AoA’s Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116.
Carole Fleck is a senior editor at the AARP Bulletin.
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
Members can take a free confidential hearing test by phone.
Exclusive program for members from The Hartford.
25% off the first healthy meal delivery of $99+.
AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive.
Explore all that AARP has to offer.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at