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Old 07-12-2012, 09:17 AM   #1
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living in a dementia house

Hello
I am living with a mother who has been showing all the signs of dementia,we are currently getting testing done,but in the meantime,my mother is making very poor decisions with the finances and no matter how i try to explain what she is doing is setting us on a path to forclosure,she ignores everything i tell her and still spends money she does not have? I am desperate for ways to get her to take me seriously? I have already contacted the CRC and local mental health board,and they tell me undeer the circumstances,there is nothing i can do? I am now falling into a cycle of depression and am worried what is going to happen next!Thank you for listening,any advice will help?

 
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Old 07-12-2012, 09:50 AM   #2
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Re: living in a dementia house

Hello Depressed Son -

Sorry for what you're going through. You said in your post that you're getting testing done. How far along into that process are you? Do you know if your mom has given power of attorney to you or someone else? That would be a good thing to look into. This would be the time to put the power of attorney to work.

This disease is so tough......and you're in a tough spot. Please know there's lots of great support on this board. Feel free to post anytime I lost my stepdad to this disease 6 months ago. This board was my lifeline throughout dealing with his disease. You are not alone! If there is any way you can get control of the finances, I hope that you can. They do not make good financial decisions when they are plagued with this disease. I know from experience about that. I also know how difficult it is when they still think they're capable, rational, when they're really not.

Hope you'll keep posting and let us know how it's going. Try to keep your chin up! I know, I know.......easier said than done

 
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:02 AM   #3
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Re: living in a dementia house

First of all, welcome! It's a shame you have to find your way to here, but we are glad you have.

Can you tell us a bit more about your household organization? For example, how old is your mom, how old you are, who is employed and sources of incomes for the household, who else is living there, and what other close relatives are in the picture.

You are in a tough spot. I can say that I have been and still is in some way the same spot as you, except that the person is my wife rather than a mother. Determination of whether you or someone else have POA (power of attorney) is important in that allows for that person to execute financial decisions on your mother's behalf. Determination of the mental status is also important. In the meanwhile, you will need to do whatever means necessary to make sure your household does not sink from financial strain. How does your Mom spend money? If she writes checks, hide her checkbook. If she uses her credit card, call up and report the card lost to inactivate it. Sure they will replace it in time, but that will buy you a week at a time. You are going to have to assume full responsibility for all household finances, money coming and money going. Do you have a good grip of the household finance cash-flow? If not, that's your first task. Then offer to your mom to take over bill paying and money handling, since you are sure that has been a huge burden for her. Don't take no for an answer. Then offer to set up a separate account, or give her a set amount of pocket money for her each week for her own discretion... e.g. allowance, but don't call it that. They hate the word. You just have to do that, one gentle step at a time until you are fully in charge of money going and coming. Good luck!

 
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:11 AM   #4
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Re: living in a dementia house

Depressed... welcome to the world of mid stage dementia! It is good that you are moving forward with her diagnosis and that will be important to you. In the mean time a few questions. Do you have the necessary legal paper work related to your Mom's.... Durable (financial) Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, Living Will, Medical Directive... what ever is appropriate in your state? If not you need these NOW. It will involved a trip to your local elder lawyer (or family lawyer if you have one). Mom will need to understand what she is signing but it is still possible to get these. Explain to her that everybody needs these, and even do your own at the same time. Tell her it is "just in case she has a medical crisis". You don't have to tell her it is because she has dementia now and can't handle her own affairs. You are "doing her a favor"

The spending can be a huge issue. I went through this with Mom for a while and it will make you nuts. You need to limit her access to the monies. If she is using credit cards the substitute her open ended credit card with a prepaid card. When it is empty or the purchase is more than the balance on the card then it is not accepted. She might get angry but it stops that purchase. If you had the proper paper work you could move the monies to a different account that she does not know how to access. Have bills drafted. Hope she doesn't meet some flim flam that tries to take all her money!

In my case Mom was double paying bills, not paying others, and money was disappearing as if flowing in a big dark hole. She spent large amounts of money on home improvements and big ticket items. She spent smaller amounts of money on computer purchases and services she didn't need. Then she tried to give $250,000 to a B rated insurance salesman she met in a restaurant for an annuity that was not suited for her using monies that had lots of penalties and capital gains attached. She would never ever recoup her loses and it would tie up her money when she needed it most. All this from a financial wizard that had built a portfolio out of nothingness.

What I did was get the necessary legal paper work first... just in case a medical crisis occurred and she was incapacitated. Not saying it would ever happen but for my peace of mind please Mom Then I contacted Mom's financial adviser. He was able to stop the $250,000 money transfer for me even before all this happened (helps to know the people you are working with!!) We then executed a specific POA for that account. He would not even move money for Mom without my OK! So the bulk of her money was protected. Then I went to the bank and had Mom add me to her checking account. Be sure it is as a co-owner and not just signature privileges. That way you can move money in and out leaving just what is needed. It also gives you access to online banking and therefore a constant idea of what she is doing. I had all checks direct deposited and all bills drafted. Mom had a prepaid credit card and a debit card for an account with very little money in it. Quickly the debit card went away and she was left with that prepaid credit card and a little cash. Yes she got annoyed when purchases were not approved but... oh my the bank must have messed up and we will fix that tomorrow Eventually her frustration created a situation where she just stopped because she could not deal with it. I did spend hours with her saying "Let me help you with that".... as she struggled to make purchases. Then I would create tales of why it was impossible at this time and how I would fix it later. Later never came. I went behind her back and returned items as well. I learned the value of fiblets.... little white lies that are for her benefit to keep her from doing things that she didn't even know she should regret. I listen to her complaints and frustrations with everybody including me... but it was worth it!!!

As you can see you have to be smart about it. You can not confront her with with this because she is going to balk every time. Her brain will not allow her to understand that she is using poor judgement. She is just fine and you are the one that is totally crazy to even suggest that she can't take care of herself! But if you get what you need and then take away what she can't do in pieces.... it will work out in the end. Yes, you need that legal paper work... and you will have to go behind her back... and you will have to use fiblets... but it is better than letting her destroy her future!

Love, deb

 
Old 07-12-2012, 11:11 AM   #5
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Re: living in a dementia house

Deb makes wonderful suggestions. I wish I had had her advice when I was going through with this with my parents about 12 years ago....I made the mistake of thinking I could reason with my mom. I first ignored things for a long time, which was easy as I lived half-way across the country. But eventually I had to face reality. Even then, I did not grasp the actual reality of the situation. I kept thinking my mom was much more capable than she was.

It wasn't in my nature to fib and go behind her back, etc. But, eventually you realize that it is about the only way to accomplish something. You will get nothing but resistance if you just try to reason with her or treat her as you always have. It is much easier to redirect someone with dementia than it is to convince her to do something she doesn't want to do.

I really feel for you. It is so difficult at this stage.

 
Old 07-12-2012, 01:02 PM   #6
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Re: living in a dementia house

We went through this stage too, which is really an awful time. Not only do you have to deal with the diagnosis and changes in your life, but the financial worries are scary. In addition to the suggestions that you've already gotten, consider whether you can get a post office box to keep mail and credit card offers from coming to the house.

I suggest trying to get into a lawyer asap. Try legal aid, a legal clinic (law schools may help) or your local or state bar association as a starting point if you can't get a referral to someone reasonable. Aside from the paperwork that may be needed such as Powers of Attorney, you may also need to consider bankruptcy if your Mom is facing foreclosure in order to stay in the house if that's what you want to do. You will need to have a good idea of income and expenditures, which may be hard if your Mom can't help. You need to take a look at your own finances too, and may be advised not to co-sign for anything for her to preserve your own credit. The lawyer will be able to give you a lot of information about things that your family needs to do, from the legal paperwork like Wills and powers of attorney to preserving bank statements and all financial records for possible Medicaid support down the road.

Do you have any other family members who help, so the burden isn't entirely on you? Did your Mom have any close friends, a church, good neighbors, or someone else who might help you too? Can the Alzheimers Association put you in touch with a support group, so you can talk to other people who have been through this? You need to gather up your resources, both financial and emotional, to help you get through the next months.

You must always remember that you are not alone. Most of us on the boards have had similar experiences. You will learn that you are the member of a very large club, as people around start to share their own stories with Alzheimers. We all discover that we're a lot stronger than we think. Eventually as we get to the point of handling the ups and downs of Alzheimers, we can even find some humor at times.

I think the very worst time of my spouse's disease was in the beginning, when we were just dealing with getting the diagnosis and figuring out how life was going to change. We had to deal with some financial crisis until he was eventually approved for Social Security disability payments (paid to me on his behalf, since as a result of the dementia he was not viewed as being able to handle his own finances). There were many adjustments, like when he had to stop driving due to the diagnosis and figuring out whether we needed to move to a different house or not. It was a time of upheaval. Eventually it all settles down. I lived with lists of "to-do's" at the beginning. I felt alone and overwhelmed, but by being able to strike things off my lists I got to see that I was actually making progress.

The first things I'd suggest putting on your lists would be to gathering up your resources (including identifying people who might be able to help), and getting into a lawyer. Even getting a consultation will help to give you an idea of what you're facing and what you need to do. I know it seems overwhelming, but try to stay calm. You are definitely not alone.

 
Old 07-12-2012, 02:52 PM   #7
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Re: living in a dementia house

Thank you for your response and advise. I am aware about the power of atty,but she will not allow me to handle things? She does not trust or feel she has dementia! I am also medically injured(back injury,Disc) So im limited to physical restrictions. I am looking at this forum as a way to heal,specifically when it comes to my difficulties with my mother? I will post more when im feeling better? Thank you you again!

 
Old 07-12-2012, 08:46 PM   #8
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Re: living in a dementia house

Will she sign the POA thinking it is for the future... not for today? You are right that she doesn't know she has dementia. That is typical of many with this disease. Because her world is so confused and she thinks she is ok... sure she is skeptical of others. It is hard to trust when you don't understand what is going on.

When you are feeling better tell her she needs to go to the lawyer to sign some papers. This is only a precaution in case a medical crisis comes up. That everybody needs this paper work. No big deal... just need to get it done for the future I do hope you are feeling better soon...

Love, Deb

 
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Old 07-14-2012, 06:53 PM   #9
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Re: living in a dementia house

good luck to you

 
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Old 07-16-2012, 10:05 AM   #10
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Re: living in a dementia house

Thank you! I am pretty much the only one who is dealing with this,i live with her ,so im seeing the changes first hand! My mother handles conversations with family and others very well. She has everyone fooled,she never tells anyone about all the near disasters she creates,plus she has poisoned all the family into thinking i mistreat her,so they do not believe anything i say?It is really a bad situation for me. She has almost had me arrested several times because of false accusations,but once they saw what was true,they did'nt follow up. Right now,dealing with my mother is a full time job,and i am starting to fall apart? I am looking into counseling,because ther is no support groups for dementia where i live. Thank you for your advice,it did not help,but made me feel better.

 
Old 07-16-2012, 11:28 AM   #11
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Re: living in a dementia house

Hey Depressed -

It sounds like you are in a very, very tough no-win situation Please do pursue counseling for yourself. I know throughout my journey with my stepdad's illness I was v-e-r-y depressed at times. We all need to reach out and get help when we feel like that.

I realize it's difficult to reach out for help when you feel so low.....but I'm concerned for your well being, and your mom's well being. It's too much for one person to handle. If you can even get one person in your family to realize what's happening, that would help immensely.

Let us know how it's going. I never found a local support group. This board was my support group for over 3 years . The people on this board are the best and I liked that I could talk / vent 24 / 7.

 
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Old 07-16-2012, 11:57 AM   #12
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Re: living in a dementia house

Thank you,even i know i cannot do it alone and know when to get counseling. I have a very hard time navigating through this message board? I have a lot of obstacles living where we live? On top of that my finances are nill and im on state funded medical support,which limits the kind of help i can get?You are on target with everything you have said,im just having a hard time getting anything done? I will keep u posted on any changes? Thank you for being there for me? It is good to know there are people who understand? Have a great day!!!

 
Old 07-16-2012, 12:00 PM   #13
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Re: living in a dementia house

Quote:
Originally Posted by TC08 View Post
Hey Depressed -

It sounds like you are in a very, very tough no-win situation Please do pursue counseling for yourself. I know throughout my journey with my stepdad's illness I was v-e-r-y depressed at times. We all need to reach out and get help when we feel like that.

I realize it's difficult to reach out for help when you feel so low.....but I'm concerned for your well being, and your mom's well being. It's too much for one person to handle. If you can even get one person in your family to realize what's happening, that would help immensely.

Let us know how it's going. I never found a local support group. This board was my support group for over 3 years . The people on this board are the best and I liked that I could talk / vent 24 / 7.

 
Old 07-16-2012, 12:02 PM   #14
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Re: living in a dementia house

Not sure if my reply went to post or to tc08,last post was for tc08.

 
Old 07-16-2012, 12:10 PM   #15
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Re: living in a dementia house

Hey Depressed - got your reply. Hang in there!!

 
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