Milagros Angeles, 62, is charged with false imprisonment of an elder, theft by a caretaker and altering checks to steal thousands of dollars from her employer.
Deputy District Attorney Danielle Hickman told the judge that Angeles had been working for widower Arnold Bauer since 2009.
The war veteran's bank became concerned when employees noticed he hadn't been in since October and notified Adult Protective Services, Hickman said.
When deputies arrived at the home in unincorporated El Cajon on Tuesday, they found Bauer clutching a photograph of his ship, the USS Vestal, said Sgt. Mark Varnau of the Sheriff Department's Elder Abuse Unit.
The Vestal was moored next to the USS Arizona during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Bauer was dehydrated and disoriented, suffering either from dementia or Alzheimer's disease, and did not want to let the deputies in his home, Varnau said.
"He's frail, but he did not appear to have been physically beaten or abused," he said.
Bauer's wife died in 2007, according to an obituary in The San Diego Union-Tribune. His two children live in Santa Barbara and San Pedro but they ?were unaware of their father's living conditions and hadn't visited for a significant period of time, Varnau said.
"We see this all the time," he said. "We see ourselves in this guy. No one deserves to live like this."
Varnau said Angeles is a legal resident from the Philippines but doesn't have permanent residency status.
Over three months last year, she is suspected of stealing $28,000, Varnau said.
The Pearl Harbor Survivors Association confirmed that Bauer was on the Vestal.