It has been a news for some time in Singapore that a con man managed to siphon off $1.1 million dollars from 89-year-old Madam Chung Khin Chun, a widow in Singapore, by positioning himself as “the grandson she never had” and worming his way into her personal life. Her dementia and loneliness made her susceptible to the man’s schemes.

The Self-made Grandson

A mutual friend introduced Yang Yin to Madam Chung after meeting him in his capacity as a travel agent. Yang Yin quickly ingratiated himself to the two older women, calling them grandmothers and frequently visiting Madam Chung, whose husband had recently passed away. He asked for a spare room in her home to use during his visits, which become longer and longer.

From time to time, he would ask her for large sums of money. One time he requested $40,000 for a car; another time it was $500,000 for an original painting by a famous artist. In actuality, the painting was a cheap fake, and Yang kept the remaining money.

More large sums, intended for a condo purchase, investments, and insurance policies, were siphoned into Yang’s accounts as well. Yang’s lies and conflicting stories continued even after police began their investigation into his dealings with Madam Chung. Fortunately, the funds he stole were seized from him and he finally pled guilty to the misappropriation of the money.

The Risk to the Elderly

Madam Chung was susceptible to Yang’s wiles for several reasons, including loneliness and the onset of dementia. Elderly individuals who may have dementia or another mental health condition should be taken to see a medical professional or a psychiatrist in Singapore. Also check for signs of depression as research shows that worsening depression can be a sign of dementia. Without a professional evaluation, it may be difficult to tell the level of mental acuity a person has retained in old age. A mental health specialist in Singapore can identify whether or not the senior is able to make good decisions on his own or whether he should be placed in the care of a trusted family member or a in a home for seniors.

The Right Steps to Take

If you notice someone from outside your family beginning to work his or her way into your elderly loved one’s life, keep an eye on the situation. Your senior relative may feel lonely and may enjoy the attention provided by this new person. The situation may be totally innocent, or the new “friend” may actually be trying to form an intimate connection that leads to monetary gain.

Take the opportunity to step in and draw closer to your family member. Keep records of conversations and financial information and make it clear to the newcomer that your elderly relative has a caring, involved family that will take action if harm is done. In the case of Madam Chung Khin Chun, a watchful niece stepped in, accused Yang Yin, and began the legal proceedings that led to Yang’s guilty plea and conviction.

Mental Health Care for Seniors

If you suspect that your elderly relative is no longer able to safely handle his or her finances and other responsibilities, set up an appointment for a consultation at Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic. We will kindly and carefully evaluate the mental health of your senior loved one and let you know if dementia has progressed or if other mental health issues are in play. Be sure to keep any medical documentation or psychological evaluations on file in case anyone tries to take advantage of your elderly relative’s mental state. With proper care and regular visits, you can protect the seniors in your life from sinister characters like Yang Yin.

News Feed from Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic

Source: Channel News Asia, July 08, 2016