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Any suggestions for how to stop my 78-year old mother's habit of on-line shopping? She receives a package every day in the mail and has been doing so for years. But, now her income is cut in half due to the death of her husband. Is there something I can set in her computer?

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I think my mom shopped Lindenwold a few times and then Lindedwold offered unbelievably cheap trinkets if she would buy more things. For example a flashlight the size of a chapstick tube you could put on a key chain. It was waaay out of hand. We had hundreds of boxes of stuff around the house. This was a while ago, but I believe I contacted the company who was bilking her, found someone with authority, and faxed him directly the POA and asked him to please stop or we would raise this to the courts. I also followed up with a letter with a description of the conversation and a little more detail about mom's condition - doctors description etc. Then I called the credit card companies and explained the situation and asked them if they could offer some relief for those particular purchases. Perhaps the credit card company could block the sales from that company.
It took two years to clean up my mom/dad's CC situtation.

ALWAYS FOLLOW UP WITH A LETTER. A PAPER TRAIL WITH A TIME,DATE,WHOM YOU SPOKE WITH AND THE FOLLOW UP PLAN DISCUSSED.

If you aren't comfortable writing down as you talk, tape the conversation, and then put it in a letter. Then you can put the copies of letters in a file folder or scan it into your computer so when the trail gets twisted you can fax the copy of the letter they say they never recieved to refresh their memory. Anyway this is a good start to the process. An attorney can help you fill in the gaps as you go. Just ask for 15 mins of his time, (or how much time you think you need) have your questions ready and watch the clock. You can ask the receptionist of his office what he would charge so you can be ready with the dough. Hope this helps.
You will feel much better once you are on the other side of this, and pray for GODLY help to focus your efforts to the people who can help you. Jerome.
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The only issue about having the credit card company give her a small limit is to make sure that once the limit is reached they will not allow any more charges. Some credit card companies let you go over your limit (so as not to embarrass you) and then charge you a huge over the limit fee.

Could you block the Home Shopping Network on her TV? I'm assuming it's a cable station.

Julie Q
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Okay, I posted somewhere on one of these boards about online shopaholic.... on Windows XP you can set up your account to have a password (make it complicated) where they can't even log into your system or create one for them that has just the basics and everything else blocked.

I would also have the POA on hand (for financial) to contact the credit card company and discuss the issue at hand (they will want the POA proof). You can also have them put a REALLY small limit on her card that gives her some freedom without the worry.

Hope this helps. Maybe sell her stuff on ebay or some other website after any of this is done? LOL
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Thanks for your valuable post, Jerome. We can all learn from your sharing.
Continue taking care of yourself,
Carol
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Hi Anne, I am sharing what I am learning as time goes on. Different posts stimulate events that happened to us currently or in the past, and for me gives me ideas that may help someone else. You are right that it is a continual discovery, and it may take a while for someone to find the physican who wants to help and is encouraging.
I didn't drop my mom at the mental health ward by the way, she settled down.

But for a year and a half I didn't get any REM sleep, she would run away from caregivers while I tried to work. She would try to exit the car while I am driving in City rush hour, she would scream at police, or anyone for that matter, that I was kidnapping her and trying to kill her. It was quite difficult to find that balance, and forget about a personal life.

Change is happening all the time, and we have a picture of what our parents are/were, and then they get hit by this tragedy. I learned to let go of my frustration, anger, pity party to myself, and just simply be kind to her (and to myself by the way) and love her where she is moment by moment.
When she can no longer converse with you verbally then you will discover new ways to communicate, but you will miss the words.

When I finally got to a point where I was stuck and all I could do was clean up after her and eat out of cans (soup, veg. etc) a social worker with Hospice told me I needed to see a psychologist. So I did and that started all the 'stuff' inside to unravel and fade. It is a process, I am taking better care of myself. Finally, no more dirty dishes piled in the sink!

Everyone must learn to ask for help, and continue to pray for guidance.
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Thanks, Jerome. Excellent suggestions. Are you responding to another thread or post of mine? It's all a time of discovery isn't it? First a diagnosis, finding the right meds, adjusting them, and ourselves, and our approach and expectations. Finding what works and what doesn't. What a difficult disease. Talk about shopping... We're "shopping" for the "right" Physician, the right meds, the right interactions, and the proper balance for everything. Just when we think we have it figured out, things change. All except our mothers, that is. Ciao
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Anne, I learned to love the 'fight ' that my mother would present. It wasn't until I was ready to drop her at the mental center in town, that I discovered you must take one to the emergency room to be treated first and then they can be admitted. Well, at the emergency room and later we found out mom suffered from depression and anxiety on top of Alzheimer's and that she had been suffering from this her whole life!
Finally some pieces fell into place and that explained a lot of her strange past behavior. Once she was properly medicated, using the "less is more approach" she leveled out beautifully. But back to the arguing the running etc. At least the fight is effort against the ravages of the disease.
On the other hand my cousin took his mother off the Alzheimer/dementia medicine and she responded more normally.
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Two things I would consider.... one is that if you have POA and your mother shops from a regular online store, write a letter to the store with a copy of the power of attorney and you are recommending they don't sell to her.

If that is not an option, can you put an account on your computer like Windows XP has (even MAC). That way you can set a password and she can't get into your system. Heck if I'd leave her with a computer all day.

And what about her credit when she buys? Again as a POA I would write the credit card companies with proof of the POA and say to shut her credit line down due to dementia or something. You can obviously prove it with her excessive spending and probably debts she owes.

How about disconnecting a phone line somewhere? With VM and digital service, there are plenty of options to receive calls from people.

Do you need anymore ideas? LOL
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Hi all! Hope you are all having a great day. JulieQ, sorry I am late answering your question about the solicitation calls to my dad. These were various persons claiming to be from various organizations needing donations, wanting to offer him certain services to save him money, etc. You name it, they offered it. Dad has dementia, and cannot say no to anyone. He would get the phone calls from Jamaica saying he won anywhere from $400,000 to $1,000,000, but he would have to send them a fee first of about $200-$400.00. He would do it, thinking he had struck paydirt, because he has dementia. He would receive up to ten calls a day. They would be so friendly and call him by his first name, and talk like they were an old friend of his. I know, I answered his phone many times over a one week period at a time. Then, when they found out I was looking after his best interest and would not let them speak to him, they would get really nasty over the phone. Especially the ones from out of country, because they know we can't touch them. I loathe those that take advantage of lonely senior citizens and steal from them. They try to use the excuse, "Well, they gave me the money!" No, they did not, it was stolen from them, knowing full well they are not in their right minds. They will have to answer to their maker one day, and I hope they burn in hell for it! Am I bitter? Yes, seeing what has been done to my father, I am. I want justice, and will spend every ounce of my energy, as long as it takes, to see that it is done. Victims are supposed to have rights in this country, and I will exercise these rights on behalf of my father. He was a major victim of "Financial Elder Abuse" for those of you who have not read my past posts. He used to be worth $1,000,000.00. Now he will be losing his home that USED TO BE paid for, and he lived in for 40yrs. I'm trying to prevent that, so that I can be sure he gets the best care at least for the next couple of years. After that, I am not sure. Hopefully, some can learn by what those of us here have been through, and hopefully avoid some of these catastrophic situations. Good luck to you all! Have a good weekend!
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Julie, that's a fabulous idea! I think I'll send my Mom something today. Everyone loves surprises. What a great way to bridge the gap of their wants. I could send Mom some new "needed" items, as well, such as underwear, lotion, wipes, etc. It's the thought that counts, and you're so thoughtful. Thanks for the suggestion. You are a very loving caregiver. Bravo to you, angel in disguise, and your parent's hero!
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While it's true that the elderly lose "power" over their own lives - like giving up driving and spending their money - which are safety and financial issues - it's need not be all sad. We must do it because we love them and want to protect them. You can still give them choices. I ask my mother what she wants to eat. She loves chicken. She can pick out her outfits. She asked to go to church so we make sure to take her (even though it's a three person task :) If you give them the opportunity to make decisions in other areas of their lives they may feel like they still have some control.

We found with my husband's father that "getting the mail" was a big deal for him so we make sure lots of people (friends and family) send him cards and notes on a weekly basis. It keeps him occupied for a while opening and reading his cards which, btw, "last longer" than a phone call because he will pick them up and read them again. It gives him something to look forward to doing each day - getting the mail.

Maybe sending our parents a small box of something they enjoy - a snack they like, a bracelet, etc. - would replace sadness with happiness. I believe in a positive reinforcement so try to replace a loss with a gain.

Julie Q
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BGB this is not unusual. Your grandmother felt powerless for so long, and now she wants that power. The problem is, of course, she is not capable. It's so sad. Elders fell what power they do have over their lives leak away, and then when the youner generation takes over the money, they are furious. This is such a sad situation. Our hearts are with you.
Carol
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Nauseated - Were these companies calling your Dad to see if he wanted to order something? Sometimes these companies are proactive contacting the customer. If the salesperson starts chatting like they're a friend, it would be easy to get the elderly to order or give out their credit card info.

Anonymous - I would remove your Mom's credit cards and checkbook so she can't access them. Read the post regarding the psychic and see what you're up against.
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Dear anonymous, I posted on your wall. This is not only an addiction, but also a symptom of alzheimers/dementia too. Don't assume that if you take away her internet, that will cure the problem. There are also credit cards, checks, and a phone. This is another way that predators solicit elders for their money. My dad was also receiving package after package every day, all day, and getting the constant phone calls. They will find other ways to order, charge, receive goods ordered. You need POA, and you need it now, or she will end up like my father has, with nothing! Good Luck, nauseated
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I think if she couldn't shop on line, she would just call the 800 number for the Shopping Network. This is a person who has shopped daily "for years" so she is probably not going to give it up easily. This is a habit bordering on an addition.

Possibly giving her a dollar amount/allowance to spend or have her write down what she wants to buy and then decide at the end of the week what to get - if she can afford it. If you block her access, you will have some control over this. Would she understand that her financial situation has changed if you explained it to her?

Children often want something impulsively. If you make them wait a few days, they will usually change their minds. This is similar to what happens with elderly adults. It's the act of shopping that drives them, not that they need anything.

Does you mother have other activities she enjoys? Is she able to get out of the house and attend church or an adult day care? Can you take her shopping? She needs something to replace her shopping addiction which she may see as socializing with her "friends" the people she sees on TV.

Julie Q
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It's always good to have a POA in place (for anyone) in case it's needed, but I agree with blocking sites on her PC, if you can. That would be good anyway. You could maybe find a computer video game that she like to catch her interest. There are a lot out there. Shopping online and video games are a lot alike to some people.

Carol
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If she is not having any other problems, you can set Parental Controls on her PC, and you should be able to block her from going to certain sites. Less drastic than getting the PoA, and if this is her only issue, maybe more appropriate.
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thats funny my grandmother only speaks of her money when she mad at the world. i guess what, i've used it all. guess what i say, i sure did on depends. LOL like i said, she knows nothing about finances, never worked a day in her life, nither has she ever had to pay bill, i had the PoA before my grandpa passed. I started paying bills then. so when i say never, never.

BGB
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I have never heard of a PoA being rescinded once it has been invoked unless it would be for negligence. If all you have is the PoA intent, that can be changed but the person would need to be of sound mind to do it.

In order to invoke the PoA (which puts it into affect) I needed the signatures of two physicians who deemed my mother unable to take care of her finances. Once the PoA was in affect, I could take it to my mother's bank and get my signature on her account.

I have a separate PoA for my mother's medical needs.

It's surprising to me that my mother wonders about her finances. She was inquiring as to whether she had any money or not and then said maybe she should ask "Jack" my brother about it. Of course, he is a man so he would know more than I would, right? :) She made the decision many years ago to have me be her PoA. I showed her her checking account and told her I paid the bills. The reason she wanted some money in her purse was if she wanted to "buy me a gift." Awww. That was gift enough for me.

Julie Q
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her never having a life of her own, breaks my heart. and it is sad. you live all your life the way.
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Awwwww. :( so sad.
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for my grandmother she has never worked outside the home so she knows nothing about credit cards so thats my saving grace. and in her mind she think i have total control and she can't do anything with out me. Just has she did with her husband he had total control, she never had to pay bill, etc. it sad but she has never had to make a life decision, and now that he's passed away she thinks shes the boss,and want to tell people what to do. LOL
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God bless you ladies! POA was not enough for me. That still gives them the power, even though it gives you some, too. I have full Guardiasrhip, and full control. And Mom's been deemed, "Incapacitated," by reason of poor judgment. It's sad, but necessary, sometimes. Also, with POA, they can also rescind it at will, so if they get mad at you, they can just as easily take it away.

My Mom is furious that I'm in total control, and very anxious about it. She does not understand anything about restraint, responsibility or repercussions. She blames me for her consequences, and is very bitter and angry about my imposed restrictions. They are necessary, and for her own good and future well-being. Not a pleasant position to be in for me, but absolutely better than allowing the tyrant rule of an out-of-control spender. She tells everyone I won't let her attend social functions (because "I won't give her any money..."), then turns around and spends her cash on dog biscuits and bird treats, leaving nothing for her necessities. Lately, she tells me, "I don't need anything from the store." Then she tells others that "I'm abusing her by not giving her any groceries," etc. It's a sick cycle. But she was like that with her husband, too. They spent 50 years together, fighting about this very same problem. Now I get her wrath. Thank God Dad's Alzheimer's has allowed him to forget so many grief-filled years, and he can live his remaining ones in peace - away from her, and protected in a safe place. Did I just vent, or what?
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That's what your going to have to do, is get the POA, i'm so glad my grandmother don't act on it. she just set's looks at the shopping channel, but she has that thing about she needs to have money, but i stop giving that to her because i founded out that she was giving it away. (to her sons) after i got that POA she was mad at first but she just tells them i won't give her any money. Since i the boys as she calls she them, stop coming for money, i gave her 20.00 over a year ago and she still has it. i'm like you JulieQ i get everyting she need she has no need for money. some times she might ask the caretaker to go to MickyD.

BGB
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Does anyone have Power of Attorney for your mother? They need to have the PoA invoked and take away her credit card. I know this sounds harsh but it is reality. If she were twelve doing this, you would have no problem. If she were ordering up sides of beef, you would have no problem doing this. You need to protect her from herself. That's what Powers of Attorney are for.

You should also notify the online shopping company to the situation and tell them that all her purchases would be returned. I have heard this happening with many other elderly folks who can't get out to shop. Often the boxes stack up because they don't really need/want what they ordered. It's being able to order.

Can you take your mom out to shop once a week so she can buy what she needs? My 90 year old mother wanted some "cash" in her purse even though I will get her whatever she needs. $25 was all she needed but she wanted to be able to "buy something" if she needed to. Money is freedom and as their other abilities decline, being able to buy proves they are still alive.
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