Dear Mary
Where’s the BEEF?

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Dear Mary,

Mary Bart

My nephew has been helping out by doing the grocer shopping for my parents, his grandparents. He lives close by and has been helping pick up their groceries for about 3 months now. I don’t live nearby, so it seemed like a good idea at the time. He has been buying their food, dropping it off and sending me the bills to repay him. I manage my parent’s bank accounts for them.

Since this has started, their food bills are much higher than normal and the bills show that he is buying a lot of organic steaks, high end cuts, expensive cheeses and all kinds of things that I know my parents would not eat. I suspect that he is buying his own food, putting in on their bills. I have even asked my parents about how they are enjoying the steaks and fancy new cheeses these days. They of course have no idea what I am talking about. They say that they don’t eat those things. What, does he think I don’t look at the items on each bill? What should I do?

Hi Linda:

It sounds very odd to me too. You could do a couple of things. Arrange to have someone be at your parent’s home when he arrives with the food and see what he drops off or have a hidden camera installed in the kitchen to see for yourself what he drops of, or just fire him and find someone else to buy their food. If you cannot find someone you trust, than there are companies that you can contract with to do their shopping. If they live in a large urban area, you may be able to order their food on-line and have it delivered or some grocery stores offer this as a service to seniors and drop off the food themselves, for a small service fee of course.

The issue here is trust. If he cannot be trusted to buy just their food for reimbursement, what else might he be capable of?  If you suspect financial elder abuse, than act now.

If it were me, I would not confront him, just tell him that a service has been hired.  I would also be on high alert for what else he might be up to with your parents.  I would not trust him now at all.

Mary

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Caregiving Matters

Mary is a daughter. She also Chairs our charity. Mary has also held Director roles on three other boards, most recently with The Palcare Network of York Region.

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