Just as I thought I had our family finances back under control from my spouse's erratic behavior of a year ago, another new nugget hits the fan. Over the weekend, I was doing the final bits to our income tax return and I discovered that she had cashed out her IRA. I have no idea what she did with the money, nor does she remember what she did with it. She said she cashed it out to help pay for groceries. Now I have a huge penalty for early withdrawal to pay.
Of all the different aspects I had sought to control, I had forgotten about her IRA. Apparently that was one aspect she had not forgotten either. This woman is going to give me another episode of heart attack. If not, at the very least throw our finances back into turmoil trying to come up with the $ to pay the extra taxes and penalties.
Her progression lately has been rather weird. She seems to oscillate from one extreme to the other. Some days, she seemed perfectly normal. Well... comparatively normal. Then other days, she can't seem to follow a simple conversation. The difference is that her extremes are now more extreme, and they come on with no warning. Her memory, overall, seems to be least affected. Mostly the memory loss appears to be punctate. Where the impairment is the most evident is in the logic/reasoning. Like this morning she got upset when son said that he was going to go out to dinner with friends. She was upset because she thought he was skipping school because of it. I had to explain to her that school happens in the day time, and dinner happens in the evening, and they do not interfere with each other.
I just noticed that it was almost a year ago that I found this board. Back then, aside from her financial indiscretion, her most problematic issues were impulse control, with erratic mood extremes with angry tempers. Now the mood issue is mostly controlled, possibly by the medication. Today, the most evident are the punctate loss in some long term memories, and the decline in her reasoning is most pronounced. She still talks non-stop, but the ability to carry on a coherent conversation is hardly there. It feels like a totally different disease.
Just venting from the twilight zone in which I dwell. I feel very guilty when sometimes I catch myself almost wishing that she gets beyond this stage quicker. Her sons have largely abandoned her, and she has already alienated most if not all her real life friends. She seems to derive pleasure in complaining about my 93 y.o. mother, who is indeed showing signs of cognitive impairment. It's like pot calling the kettle black. Is it so bad that I have these feelings?
Just want you to know that you can report the early withdrawal penalty as deduction on form 1040.
Sorry to know that she withdrew her IRAs.
So the son ran into this thing again - StepMom thinks he skipped school. Same story that she always blames him... Sure hope your son doesn't mind her and can forgive her often. It is better if the son can stay away from her so he doesn't get hurt by her like this. Hope he is going to the university soon.
It is hard as the demented person never says she is wrong - you and others are wrong.
Talking about 2 people with dementia in the family: my sister also has some dementia issues - she drinks a lot too so she and my Mom are surely something. In the meantime, it is the younger one that acts out like normal and the older one gets the dementia suspicion. My sister talks funny as well. In Dec., she was talking like the medicare expenses go to the job CV for my other sister? Doesn't make sense at all.
Like I thought, it is common that people don't get the person diagnosed so my sisters are now quiet about it and they stop talking like Mom has dementia for sure, but they are not checking on it either. Mom is focusing on her leg issue - my nephew doctor said she won't recover that well since it is old age and the legs/bones are degenerative...
I can see that you are now dealing with more burden - wife and Mom.
By the way, just want to say that for tax, if the wife is incompetent one day and needs full time caregiver and cannot work on her own daily activities, you can ask the doctor to write a letter annually so you can report the caregivers/nursing home as total deduction. Otherwise, the IRS doesn't cover the cooking or cleaning. Just the nurse stuff. We had done this for my late FIL for many years. Lots of deductions! It helps if you have to pay the caregivers out of private pocket without LTC insurance.
Luau, you are human. Who wants to deal with these problems? Anybody in their right mind would want it to go away. I remember saying..."It has to get worse to get better" many times. We wish for an end... even though we know it will only get better by getting worse. We are all human and at least I know I have had the very same thoughts. I don't even pretend to wear spandex and sport a cape
Ooops on the IRA! It took her a second of thought that there was money there. Perhaps a statement in the mail that she comprehended or some other short burst of memory, and you are paying for that moment... literally. Money seems to be a problem for most with cognitive decline. They just can't understand the ramifications and consequences of what they do. Which goes straight to the very symptom that you see now. I do remember the time when Mom's logic and reason went out the window. Her memory was not too bad, or at least she was able to cover it. It was those irrational thoughts that were the most obvious.
I do hope this is the last of the financial surprises. Hang in there and make sure to take care of yourself and that heart of yours
Thanks for the support, Nina and Deb. I can count on you guys when I am feeling down and stressed. Managed to file the taxes on time, despite the last minute unpleasantries. I was determined not to file an extension; doing so would only prolong the agony. Now what I need to find out is what she did with the IRA money, which is not a trivial sum. The good news, if you can call it good, is that this should be the last of her "private" funds. So hopefully no more nasty financial surprises in the future. Nina, thanks for the heads-up regarding doctor's notes and future deductions.
Son is almost graduating from high school and will be away to university very soon. That is also good news. If not for that, I would have to make some very tough choices regarding wife.
I mentioned in another thread that Mom is in good hands at my brother's home, with 24 hour "nanny" support, and my brother, who is retired. Mom is also a "pleasant" cognitively impaired. So she is relatively content and much easier to care for.
Luau, you may never know what happened to the money. If it came as a check, it might still be in check form somewhere (or destroyed). If she made a deposit you should be able to find it. If it was put in another account there should be a financial report somewhere. Yes, I have tracked these things before and it's not easy. It takes some detective work. But in the end there were monies that I never did locate. Thrown out papers, lost checks, missing cash, nonexistent memories, and missing pieces all combine to make it very frustrating to find the paper trail. Mom would save magazine clippings related to memory enhancements and throw out important papers.... such is the beast we call dementia
Now I figured out what happened to part of the money. Sometime late last year, another dog appeared at home over, much to our chagrin. I had assumed that it was another rescue. Now I found the papers that go with the new dog. Holy canoli; this dog was worth its weight in gold!
Now that she has successfully used up the last bit of her personal savings, including her retirement savings, I am hopeful that there will be no more of this in the future. Unless, of course, there is another stash of money that I am not aware of.
Can you imagine? Using the last of your retirement savings to buy a dog, even while you have maxed out both your own credit cards while having no income and no plans to work? This is only possible with cognitive impairment. In the meanwhile, she is constantly angry with me because, in her words, I have a "secret bank account" and won't let her see how much money is in there. Actually, her accusation is true. I am in survival mode here. Unlike caring for a parent, caring for a spouse is different because a spouse's financial indiscretions will also sink the caregiver and the entire family.
I actually thought of that earlier but hated to mention it Luau. It actually makes sense. Dogs are what gives her comfort. Her ability to be logical and rational has disappeared. Why not spent the last money you have on yet another dog because you want one! Not only has the logic and rational gone, but the sense of self has warped to the point there is only her. On the flip side, you have always had money so she is sure you still have money. The fact that she has squandered so much doesn't makes a difference in her mind. Shame on you for not letting her waste the rest of it.
I watched Mom do much the same type of thing for a while. I did have to cut her access to her own money. It is no easier with a parent. The problem I had for a while was the parent/child relationship. Getting past that is a steep heel. Considering the expense of care that can be expected in the future, not many have money to waste in those early days.
Hope it will calm down a bit for you at this point with no new surprises for a while. Son's graduation is coming up soon?
I feel very guilty about my husband's dementia, which is diagnosed as vascular rather than Alzheimer's. His memory is reasonably good, but "executive function" is shot. I took over finances when he quit opening his mail and couldn't figure out how much was owed when he did. I've been told that vascular dementia is not a gradual decline, but rather one of fits and starts. I feel sorry for him, but he isn't the person I fell in love with, and I get angry a lot of the time both at him and at life. But what does one do? You can't divorce a person with dementia, and he isn't bad off enough to require assisted living, even if we could afford it.
Arleed, you are right about the Vascular Dementia coming in fits and starts, usually associated with some cardiovascular event. My Dad had Vascular Dementia. Unlike your husband his memory was shot but his Executive Function was pretty much in tact. You could reason with him but he didn't remember the outcome and you just had to do it again.
Being angry with him or with life is non productive. No, he is not the person you fell in love with but he is a person you can loved. When I got through being angry, I actually found a whole new relationship with my Dad. Mom had Alzheimer's so I was doing their financials... and just about everything else. Life is not about what we are given to deal with... it is about how we deal with it. What does one do... make the very best of what we are given
The other thing you can do is find support. Find a local support group and go. Stay here, vent, ask question, and get support. Make sure that you get some time away from your husband on a regular basis. If you have children ask them to go stay with Dad so you can go out for a day, a night, a weekend, a week. If that is not a possibility then perhaps a weekend of respite care to give you some me time. You may want to consider an adult day care program a few days a week. Before he progresses you might want to have someone come in once a week for him to get used to somebody else being in the house. Do your grocery shopping or get your hair done at that time. As time goes on you will need help. Know that you can not be there 24/7/365. You may also want to check out the local facilities. Fine one on each level that you like. If a crisis happens, and you have to find placement for him, you will know where you want to place him. Also check with an elder lawyer regarding medicaid. You do not have to lose your house for him to be on Medicaid. Half of what the two of you have is yours. But you will need to know what to do and what records to keep to make it work for you. It is better to be prepared
Gabriel, thanks for the advice and encouragement. We actually moved back to Memphis after 24 years in Atlanta into an "independent living" community near our children. I still have some money in our retiree travel budget that I want to use, and he doesn't have the stamina or the interest in overseas travel, he is almost paranoid about it. He refused to stay with the kids while I traveled--he said he was fine left alone, but it was clear to me he was not, especially since he shouldn't be driving. Since I didn't want to move too many times, we (really I) decided on Independent Living. The money from the sale of the house went into an annuity that provides for the increased cost....although if we live too long, we may have a problem! Anyway, here he gets three meals a day and isn't socially isolated, and the kids can check in without him being feeling spied upon. He says we don't belong here, but I actually like it and am glad we can afford it. I went to Morocco a few months ago, and all went very well. Not sure what I will do when things get worse. We could have a la carte assisted living at our retirement community, and we do have limited long term care insurance. Yes, at times he shows flashes of his former self, so one of my New Year's resolutions is taking from the recent movie Silver Linings. "I spent most of my life wanting to be right, now I am going to concentrate on being kind." You have no idea how hard this is for me! My husband's IQ has dropped 30 points (from 125 to 95), and the guy who was once an excellent bridge player can't even arrange his cards. He keeps saying that no one would realize that there was a problem unless I told them, and doesn't believe me when I say that people ask me what his problem is before I ever say anything. I want to give the children his neuropsych testing report, but he won't even let me give it to his new internist. I just don't know how much I should go against his wishes. He is so afraid of being labeled mentally ill.
The following user gives a hug of support to Arleeda: ninamarc (04-19-2013)
I feel that your kids have a right to know how Mom and Dad are suffering right now. You need to tell the kids what is going on and tell them to "hide" it from Dad. They don't have to tell Dad they know but they need to know to support you.
You alone cannot do this. Moving too many times is bad for a demented person as his memory was there in the old place.
He cannot drive and be left alone. Have you tried the caregivers from a home care agency? Try to hire someone to help out. So far you are doing fine and I am glad you had the trip yourself.
I do feel that family should stick together for this and the kids don't have to tell Dad that they know. Family doctor has to know for sure. It is essential that the GP knows so he knows what is going on. Do it behind your husband's back.
I see that you feel guilty that you cannot do things behind his back, but it is the disease. My late FIL had so much confusion and we didn't tell him anything that is real so he would get too confused. The doctors and family have to know. My late FIL denied it anyway but people around him needed to know so they can cope with the situation. We put away his car without him knowing the details. We sold his old house after fixing it and he was too sick to know as he was in the memory unit in another state.