Save. Spend. Splurge.

Getting the worst news.

My 80+ year old aunt was robbed and beaten, then sent into rehab as a crackpot because her stepson wanted her out of the home and committed her as a lunatic to regain power over her assets and home.

She had all of her money stolen, her nice new winter jacket stolen and now I’m crying because I don’t know what to do.

I offered to take my sibling and go down there to get her and move her to another place in the U.S. where it’s warmer, but I don’t even know where to begin and where to go to get help. She was a former nurse and teacher.

A church?

Help please.


  • Susan Tan

    What was the resolution? Did the stepson succeed or the aunt succeed?

  • mia

    Check out the AARP’s website. They run a legal hotline and they also have a tool to help you find out what benefits she qualifies for.

  • raluca

    This is awful! I hope you manage to fix this :(!

  • tb

    Nurse in Ohio here-
    1. you have to establish whether she can make decisions, i.e., medical evaluation that she is considered competent. This can be done at the rehab facility. Every facility has to have a social worker- start there
    2. If she is competent- its easy. Your aunt can say she doesn’t want to be where she is now. Her stepson can only take over once she is incompetent. Then she can make or change her advance directives, i.e., living will, durable power of attorney, regarding what she wants medically and someone to make decisions when she can’t
    3. If she is incompetent- its doable but harder. Get an attorney and pursue guardianship.
    You can do this! Good luck!

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Thank you. I will be doing all of the above for her once I get in contact with her.

      • tb

        One more thing- in the US, the Area Agency on Aging organization has lots of resources, etc. Their website is
        If your aunt is competent, even if she has an advance directive appointing someone to make decisions, those directives do not take effect until she can no longer do so. And even then, the surrogate is required by law to act as she would want. Many times, the elder simply needs an advocate because they are being bullied by someone who wants their assets, etc. So hopefully, this is just a matter where she just needs support and someone willing to speak up for her. I wish you and her well.

        • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

          Ok, thank you for the notes, I will make sure it is clear. It seems unlikely, but I am still very cautious of the possibility/idea that the stepson wants her assets (no matter what she has), because he keeps asking for Power of Attorney.

  • ArianaAuburn

    1) get her a lawyer 2) get a doctor to document the abuse she has received. 3) Moving her to a warmer place is a good idea

  • yettie

    The first step is definitely to engage a lawyer because you’ll need legal backing. To reverse whatever the stepson has done, you’ll need to be assigned some legal rights over her.

    If your aunt was a member of a religious group, then definitely get in touch with say the church she attended or any social group of her peers that she met with on a regular basis. You’ll need these people to testify to her state of mind in court eventually.

    Last resort is to contact her regular doctor. I have several family members who are medical professionals and I know most of them will go out on a limb to help or point you in the right direction for trusted resources.

    Good luck Sherry, I can’t imagine how hard this situation must be for your family right now

  • Jax

    The local public library will have a list of resources to get started. The United Way has local offices all over the United States that can help you get in contact with organizations that provide housing/food/emergency services. I’m sorry that this is happening to your aunt and I hope that you can get her into a better situation soon.

  • Kandice

    Sherry, I’m so sorry! Reach out to the closet big city’s bar association (professional organization for lawyers). Most have legal clinics or offer free services to those who can’t afford to pay an attorney. Also, many law schools run free legal clinics, so check to see if there’s an accredited law school close by. Google the name of the city and attorney or legal and “bar association.”

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