Is 'Deadly Trust' A True Story? The Lifetime Movie Has Origins That Are All Too Real
Lifetime movies are known for portraying the horrors that people can do to one another and the network's latest film, Deadly Trust, is no exception. About a woman who agrees to torture an elderly woman so that her adult children can get her money, is Deadly Trust on Lifetime a true story? While the movie will certainly be sensational, the scandalous story does cover the serious, real-life issue of elder abuse. Starring Fiona Dourif, Rya Kihlstedt, Harriet Harris, Patrick Fischler, and Lauren Bowles, Deadly Trust doesn't appear to be based off of one particular true scenario of elder abuse, but it's still a pretty terrible reminder of the cases of abuse against the elderly that do exist.
Deadly Trust shows adult children hiring a former con woman to drive their mother to insanity so that they can get their inheritance. The elderly woman's children will not be the ones perpetrating the emotional abuse against their mother, they are hiring someone else — like an emotional hitman — but they are still committing a moral and legal crime.
While there are stories of hired caregivers abusing their elderly clients with their family being unaware, many true stories show Deadly Trust's plot of family members being responsible for the abuse against their aging parents is unfortunately pretty common. AgingCare.com has an entire article dedicated to the topic of some adult children caring more about their parents' money than their well-being (the headline? "Siblings Who Care More About The Inheritance Than Parents' Care"), so Deadly Trust echoes this idea that adult children going after their parents' money is a very real problem, even if most real people who commit this crime don't hire someone unrelated to torture their parents to do so.
Elder abuse by family members has become such a prevalent issue that before he passed away, film star Mickey Rooney raised awareness by testifying before a Senate Special Committee on Aging in March 2011. As reported by NBC, in his testimony Rooney claimed that he had been verbally and financially abused by his stepson, Chris Abers, and his stepson's wife, Christina Abers. Chris denied the allegations to The Hollywood Reporter.
Although it's hard to give an exact number of people who have suffered from elder abuse, the National Institute of Justice found through a study that one out of 10 "community-residing elders" reported experiencing at least some form of elder abuse. However, elder abuse is far from a new phenomenon affecting the vulnerable aging population. The Chicago Tribune reported in 1993 what a problem elder abuse was over 20 years ago.
So whether it's financial, mental, verbal, or physical, elder abuse can take many forms and is a real-life problem that Deadly Trust seems to take inspiration from.