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Couple 'grooming' lonely elderly people.

(133 Posts)
PinkCosmos Wed 22-Jun-22 11:00:59

My DH has become aware of a couple who are 'grooming' - for want of a better word - elderly people.

The couple were wardens on a warden patrolled small estate.

They have recently have been 'gifted' two bungalows by two elderly people on the estate plus who knows what else.

DH has just heard that the latest elderly person they 'befriended' has just left them a bungalow and a couple of vehicles.

Apparently, they befriend elderly people who have no relatives. They treat them well by taking them out, having them around for meals and generally caring for them. This goes on for a couple of years until the elderly person dies. By this time it appears that they have changed their will in the couple's favour.

I do not know all of the details but my DH and a few other people have seen this happening over the last few years.

My DH is disgusted with this as he thinks it is financial abuse. I agree with him. I am not sure if they have an ulterior motives and they are treating the elderly people kindly. However, my DH says it all just feels a bit off. He says the man in question is not a pleasant person at all.

Should we report this couple or just keep our noses out? After all the elderly people are free to leave their money to whoever they like??

MissAdventure Wed 22-Jun-22 11:05:52

Oh that's a tricky one.
Payment for services rendered, I suppose, on one hand?

Callistemon21 Wed 22-Jun-22 11:09:05

It is a tricky one.
Unless the elderly people are not of sound mind I doubt there is anything that can be done.

I've seen more than one case of this, in one case the person was about the same age but died before the widow he targeted.

MissAdventure Wed 22-Jun-22 11:13:07

I suppose you could say they are providing a much needed service, if they are giving the elderly a better quality of life, cooking for them, and spending time with them.
Unless it could be proven that they have coerced the person, then I doubt it is illegal or necessarily even damaging.

Grandmadinosaur Wed 22-Jun-22 11:16:12

I am appalled by this behaviour. Preying on vulnerable elderly people in this way is probably more common than we think.
Perhaps not to that extent but a couple befriended my in laws after hearing MIL bragging about how many cruises they’d been on etc. They thought they were financially better off than they actually were. Didn’t stop them acquiring a lot of MIL’s jewellery and a few cash handouts before the penny dropped. My husbands Gran was also a soft touch for a sob story.

Maybe have a quiet word with whoever is in charge of the wardens? It’s a tough call.

MissAdventure Wed 22-Jun-22 11:21:44

There is an elder abuse helpline you can phone.
That might be your best bet - they will know how the law stands.

Callistemon21 Wed 22-Jun-22 11:23:08

There must be standards which should be upheld if someone is in a position of trust like this.

However, you'd have to be sure of the facts.

MissAdventure Wed 22-Jun-22 11:32:03

I think they used to be wardens, but aren't now, though.

Witzend Wed 22-Jun-22 11:32:07

Unless someone’s been officially deemed to have dementia, or otherwise of ‘unsound mind’, unfortunately the law as it stands allows them to leave their assets to whoever they choose, and likewise to throw money away before they die, however they choose.

Hence a neighbour of ours losing over £100k to a ‘lottery’ scam.

And someone I used to know, whose father with undiagnosed dementia, was ‘encouraged’ by his live-in so-called carer, to estrange himself from his formerly very close family. The woman later took him abroad, married him, and got him to re-write his will entirely in her favour. And it was a substantial estate.
The family challenged it in court, but the woman was so clever and plausible that they lost.

Elizabeth27 Wed 22-Jun-22 11:35:26

That is going to be difficult to prove that anything is amiss, two people are befriending and helping out the elderly and as a reward, the elderly with sound minds are repaying them by leaving property in their wills. I assume either the elderly have no other family or the families do not contest the wills.

PinkCosmos Wed 22-Jun-22 11:35:53

This really triggered me as a similar thing happened in my mother's family years ago.

My mum was close to her Auntie M and Uncle J especially after her own mother died when my mum was 40. Auntie M was her dad's sister and they had no children. My mum was like a daughter to them and used to see them practically every day.

When they reached their 80's, a long lost cousin suddenly appeared. He was an actual cousin but not one that I ever remember being around.

The cousin and his wife decided that my Auntie and Uncle needed help. They didn't. They both had all of their wits about them but were very quiet, unassuming people. The cousin persuaded my A & U to let them take charge of their finances. They eventually persuaded them to go into a home and then persuaded them to let the cousin's son 'buy' their house at a very cheap price.

My mother was very non-confrontational and didn't stand up to them. She wasn't interested in inheriting from her A & U. The only thing she would have liked was a couple of ornaments for sentimental reasons. Even these disappeared when my A & U went into the home.

This was in the early 1980's. No-one could actually believe it was happening and felt powerless to prevent it given the tenacity and boldness of the cousin

MissAdventure Wed 22-Jun-22 11:38:57

It's important to remember that everyone has the right to make their own decisions, providing they are of sound enough mind.
Being elderly isn't necessarily a reason not to be "allowed" to make a decision (even a bad one)

H1954 Wed 22-Jun-22 11:47:07

Two questions........,why are they no longer wardens? Are their motives really so innocent in befriending these elderly people?

In my opinion there is a suspicion of financial abuse and this should be reported to Social Services and the Police on 101. If the couple are genuine and have nothing to hide and no ulterior motive, all well and good. Just seems rather suspicious to me that these elderly individuals have changed their wills to benefit this couple. Coercion springs to mind.

Callistemon21 Wed 22-Jun-22 12:07:52

These warden controlled estates are owned and run by companies. Usually there is a fee to pay upon purchase and sale and maintenance costs.
I don't think that the properties can be rented out, they have to be owner occupied.
Rules are quite strict as far as I know.

The company must be aware or, if not, should be informed of any suspicions and could make initial investigations.
They would not want their reputation tarnished by a possible coercion scandal.

Germanshepherdsmum Wed 22-Jun-22 12:58:57

I have seen this done three times - one man who did it twice (and then proceeded to try to befriend a third person who told him where to go) and a couple who did it once. In each case an elderly widowed property owner without close family befriended, who left them their property. I wasn’t directly involved but know that the couple took their ‘friend’ to a solicitor to make a new will. Would the couple OP mentions be so friendly towards someone renting a property and living on benefits? I would report them to the police in her position, without hesitation.

notgran Wed 22-Jun-22 13:01:37

If they have no relatives to leave their estate to then I don't see the problem unless you have witnessed the people being co-erced into leaving them their property. Who should they leave it to people who have helped then when needed or a Cat's Home (other animal charities are available)

nanna8 Wed 22-Jun-22 13:14:08

Wouldn’t that class as elder abuse? They are right onto that here at the moment. If it was here I would be telling the police but I guess things are different in different countries.

dogsmother Wed 22-Jun-22 13:25:40

I’ve seen it, makes my skin crawl. However I’ve also seen very lonely older people be very happy to have new friends who spend a lot of time and effort when others can no longer be bothered. It does make you wonder whether this is abuse or actually two fingers to relatives who no longer showed interest.
This is the benefit of living in a smaller community.

Callistemon21 Wed 22-Jun-22 13:25:42


Wouldn’t that class as elder abuse? They are right onto that here at the moment. If it was here I would be telling the police but I guess things are different in different countries.

I think so nanna8

Here's a link to Age UK with advice

Galaxy Wed 22-Jun-22 13:36:13

Sorry I am not clear if they are still employed as wardens? If they are there will surely be rules about 'gifts'. I was involved in a charity many years ago where a member of staff was sacked because of such behaviour.

lemsip Wed 22-Jun-22 13:38:35

The couple were wardens on a warden patrolled small estate.

I thought warden patrolled bungalows were council and Housing Association Properties!.....

I think that as your DH is talking about it with others it should be reported to see if there is any truth in it....

see who employs the Wardens who patrol and report your suspicions

FlexibleFriend Wed 22-Jun-22 13:43:20

Maybe they are just being kind to the elderly people concerned and as they have no relatives should the Government inherit their property or should it go to those showing them kindness and improving their lives?

MadeInYorkshire Wed 22-Jun-22 13:46:26

This needs to be reported to the "Safeguarding Team at Adult Social Care" and possibly the Police? Although it sounds as though they are helping the persons involved during their lifetime, taking them out and about etc, they have obviously managed to get them to change their wills, which is financial abuse, and that's just awful.

Keep us posted!

MissAdventure Wed 22-Jun-22 13:50:30

I'm sure most of us can think of friendships or situations that appear to show a person being used.
Free lifts, babysitting, and so on.

Mine Wed 22-Jun-22 14:09:05

I would definitely raise it with Social services...If the couple have nothing to hide they won't have to worry.shock