Charity contributions out of hand

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How do you handle a generous mild to moderately demented 88 year old Mom living in a different state who responds with $10 to $15 checks to every charity solicitation letter. I don't want to take her checkbook away, but for a while there would even be two to three checks in one month to the same questionable charity. She particularly is on the list of those that send "gifts" and ask for a contribution. I get her bank statement on line to keep track and after showing her copies of the checks, at least for the moment it has slowed down. I am afraid she will forget again and start responding. She loves to get mail, and the more she sends, the more lists she is on to get more.


Dear emmakay,

Oh boy, does this ever bring back memories of ugliness. My 88 yr. old sister responded and donated to EVERY charity, church, politican, until her mailbox would not hold her mail. She'd even get cash back from some of them. (5 cents to $5). Hopefully you get a "handle" on it soon, or it will be terrible and take years to get off all the mailing lists. Publisher's Clearing House is another abuser of Seniors, especially in Florida. My sister owed them over $2,000, because of all the trinkets, books, candy, collectibles they delivered to her door. We had to rescue her from this, though she wasn't happy with us, by bringing her to live with us, where she's been for 18 months. Now her 10 yr. old disease is very bad, and we're trying to get more help for her and move to elsewhere. She is refusing to move now, which leads to another whole story. I'll stop here though. You're lucky to watch her account online and she might understand what you're doing and why you're doing it. It's truly an ugly disease. Seems like these charities, companies, etc. really prey on our seniors. Take it seriously, and good luck!
Thank you. I know I am not alone. At least I got her on the do not call list, and somehow she hasn't gotten in the Publisher's Clearing house. Auto pay bills has given us some peace of mind, but like you said, dementia is a progressive disease and the challenges keep changing.
You can have junk mail stopped. Call the post office and see what the steps are.
How can I get on your mom's list?
Seriously, this problem causes a lot of collateral damage to responsible organizations like the Salvation Army and to legitimate businesses that serve seniors. My first question to you would be Do you have POA for your mother? If not, that will become increasingly important as her dementia progresses. You will have no control over credit cards, bank statements, health insurance matters, billing errors etc. An estate attorney can be helpful but choose carefully. And do so while your mom can still comprehend the need and sign the paper work. It will be costly and more difficult if she is not able to consent to the POA. You should also have her complete a Living Will that states her preferences for "end of life" medical treatment. This varies from state to state but is an inexpensive way to prevent the Health Care Industry from bankrupting her estate by legally forcing her doctors to perform expensive treatment procedures that she may not have wanted if she were able to speak for herself. Without these two instruments, if your mom is determined to be incompetent, you will be pushed aside and all decisions will be made in the interest of those who have a financial interest in your mom's health and well being.
Yes you can place a change of address form at the postoffice. This will olny last for six months if you ae not the power of attorney. If you are you can get it to stop, check moms wallets and any place aper work may be even rolled up socks making sure she does not have any credit cards she can use, they can be cancel with a power of attorney. Also if you do not have a power of attorney you must get one, so you can be charge of her bank account, the bestt thing is having you has her personal rep on her social security banking accounts you will also need a note from her doctor in some states that she unable to handle her finances. I went through this with mail order of clothes, my mom had over 500 dress and blouses hanging in her basement in new york with the price tags on them, plus many more things. Check her mail and cancel ever catolog that comes in the mail and also check her paper work you may find bills or checks that have not been cashed. the best of luck i went through the same thing. mom sent checks to everything. She moved to Florida and had to go into a assisitng living but was with us for a short time, and you know who gets the mail juck mail now. I call when ever I get a credit card in her name or a organziation to give money. remember they forget, but sometmes you are the one left with the mess. I did do someting else I called all three credit company and got credit reports to make sure no money was owed and looked on unclaimed money on the internet. good luck, My mom now only has a few days left. I did give the best care I could, yes i got upset but forgot, we sometime sat down and looked at old pictures or listen to music. patrica61
I already have POA and living will etc. I weed out things when I am there, but I live 550 miles away. We (the 4 kids) did get her, somewhat against her will, into a wonderful Independent living place in the town she has lived for 60 years. It was amazing how the solicitations got her change of address before some of the other places. I have all her bills on auto pay. She is still able to manage her own money and I have not had to take that away yet. She is finally, after almost a year, adjusting to and somewhat enjoying the new apartment, but likes to be on the go all the time. A two room apartment is a big change from a 4 bedroom house with a huge yard that was her pride and joy.
I will check with the post office to see what they can offer, short of cutting off all her mail.
You may have to edit her mail. I did for the same reason; too many begging for money. I even edit my husband's mail! Sounds as if you have made some right moves. Good luck.
The change of address is good. Rent a PO box in yours and her name and have someone you trust collect the mail and discard all junk mail. If there is no one who can do this for you in her town, rent the PO box in your town and have her address changed to that. But first get the POA.
I was asked by my parent's bank to step in. Upon investigation, I was shocked at what I found, but already suspected. In just one box of cancelled checks, I'm counting 33 sent to charitable contributions, ranging in price from $5.00 - $175.00, each. There are multiples to some organizations.

Since I'm in the process of "defending" my position as Guardian and Conservator, I am filing this information into a spreadsheed to establish the pattern of misuse of funds, and prevent future misappropriation. Mom insists she does not need a Guardian or Conservator, because "she had her own checkbook." Except that was part of the problem. She treated her personal health the same way, with excess and addictive tendencies, and needs someone to care for her needs. I say defend, because she claims she's "fine," and doesn't need my help.

My mom loves to spend, shop and give to charities. She was stingy with family, but loves to look "good" to everyone else. Don't know why, but it's all about image. That image was a horrible one to live with at home, and few see that side of my mom or dad. Unfortunately, Alzheimer's got the better of dad, and mom is struggling with the consequences of her choices, as well.

When things get out of hand, someone needs to protect their interests and assets. The government shouldn't have to suffer the consequences of a lifetime of someone's poor choices, by covering unsecured debt, foreclosure and bankruptcy. Sad when children and society has to "pay" for the bad decisions of a lifetime of waste and squander. When the addictive patterns of behavior bleed from everyone else, it is truly a problem that needs to be addressed and cared for. When a person's freedoms produce negative consequences for others, and infringe on the finances of responsible people, it makes one wonder what is right and what is fair.

I always wondered how my parents were able to be so "giving" to so many organizations. To find out they mortgaged their home, and accrued credit card debt to cover their compulsive behavior, and have to spend my own personal resources to help them clean up the mess makes me glad I am stopping future misuse of precious resources. Can the world get by without my mom and dad's charity? How about the price they pay to house my parents because they spent every last dime trying to "help" everyone but themselves.

I didn't feel it was my business to interfere, and was silent for 50 years. But now I have to use my own personal time and funds to clean up the debris and chaos left behind. Fortunately, I am able, and willing. Otherwise, someone else would have to do it. I would hate to see it continue, because ultimately, society would have to take over. Guess that's my charitable contribution to my family, and to society.

I call each organization, asking to be removed from their mailing lists. One less envelope they have to send, less return address labels they have to print. (Dad's in a nursing home and can't use them, anyway.) That's less waste in the landfills, and less time I have to sort through useless mail. And if they send unsolicited "gifts," asking for donations, I just consider it a gift, and still ask no further mailings be sent. I've gained about 25 cents that way last year, not to mention all the monies I've saved by not writing checks and using stamps or their postage free envelopes.

And if I've upset anyone from the PC, ART, State Universities; MCC, HHV, the DDAL, FPCA, FPCF, WV, GP, PETA, Amvets, the LG, DV, AA, ADR, The NHES, RSV, VFW, Friends of _______ Museums, CF, CTF, EDF, GA, Inc., USHS, AF, The SA, ALA, NWF, NEA, CB, NIV, CAR, SAR, DCW, HS, BS, GS, GW, (and many more...), so sorry! But my mom and dad have financial needs and obligations they can no longer meet. Would anyone like to contribute to that???

Thank God for Medicare and Medicaid. Thank you to the many legitimate organizations who are a help to others. And thank you to the hard working men and women of this country who contribute through your hard-earned tax money to care for people who can no longer adequately care for themselves.

But solitations of funds from illigitimate organizations who are only looking for profit and personal interests, and take advantage of vulnerable and unsuspecting people, shame on you!!!
the worst is "Bottom Line" newsletters - they never let up. I wish that with all this talk about new green businesses, there was one politician whow would make it a priority to stop targeting seniors with expensive junkmail ripoffs and buying their personal data to sell them more stuff.

Publishers clearinghouse is bad - the car warranty company that signs up seniors who can't drive is worse.

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