We just spent 3 years shoveling out my hoarding In-Law's house, and it is starting again, HELP!

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This is going to ramble, I am so at my wits end...sorry!
We just spent the first 3 years of our marriage shoveling out my In-Law's house to save it from County condemnation. They both suffer dementia but somehow still drive....and even though all $ has been spent on flea market and GoodWill items, over $2 million in flea marketing is a lot of stuff, they are out shopping and filling house up again instead of paying health insurance and buying food. Their rooms are not safe, period. They haven't paid taxes in a couple years and I would hate to see them lose insurance, house, everything because they have no ability to manage money. They haven't spoken civilly in 28 years, but remain in same house, each are afraid that "someone" will favor one over the other and give them more leeway. It is ridiculous. I was raised in a matter of fact environment so to watch this is awful. First, how do you talk to Dr about elderly being unsafe drivers? The MIL has had several "incidents" where she left the scene.


First, do everything you have to get them both off the road! There are several posts and articles on this topic. I favor the doctor making the pronouncement, but if you cannot arrange that, then contact the DMV yourself. Meanwhile, take their keys, disable their vehicles -- whatever it takes.

Who has DPOA? One of the first symptoms of dementia is often inability to manage finances. Someone needs to step in and do it for them!
If a person is in danger of harming themselves or others this is an issue that you need to address. Coming here is a good start. Your concern in this matter means your a caring person (I've seen people walk away and not care at all). This is an overwhelming situation but if you can, you need NOT to look at the whole picture all at once. I find it's easy to take on step at a time or you will go on overload and explode!!! Someone needs to take control of finances, therefore you do need POA, there is a lot of info. on this site for that subject. Dealing with anything with a person who suffers from any type of dementia is battle to do anything. You should get them to a Dr. for a diagnosis of mental condition and then make sure someone is there to monitor medication if there is a need (they can't be trusted to take on their own). The car issue is definitely a problem. If you can replace the keys with phony's replace the originals with fakes. This way you will not have to try to talk them into not driving, that never works then you'll be the bad guy. That's just for starters. There are many others on here with excellent advice. That's why we are here to help each other. The main thing is to keep in mind you are doing a good thing no matter how tuff it gets. Keep us posted!!!
treatmenttime, this happens a lot with hoarders. You can clean up the hoard, but unless the underlying obsessive/compulsive need to hoard is treated, the hoard just returns. Have you ever watched the excellent TV series Hoarders? I don't like the fast and sensational tactics used in the series, but the series does show how to address the problem of hoarding. I used the tactics of the series in tackling my parents' hoarding problem. However, I went slower and tried to deal with the psychology along the way. It worked for me because my parents' behavior was not too entrenched. For other people, it would take professional intervention.
DPOA stands for Durable Power of Attorney. That is what I am for my parents. It means I have control over their medical needs as well as financial needs. I sold their house, car and home goods. I took their investments and put them into one investment to make the draw each month for the ALF. I had them both sign off on this before my mom got too sick too understand why I was doing this. It has been a Godsend. My dad was getting swindled by insurance creeps who took tens of thousands of dollars from them. They probably would have lost more but I was able to step in with the help of a good friend and financial adviser. It is the best way to go if you need to be in charge of all aspects of your parents lives. I ave access to their medical records and no one can lay a hand on them without my permission. You can find out how to get the wording right online.
Ditto- you need to be in total charge of their finances. setting that up is the easy part; you'll have to deal with their adjust to an allowance.
My father still drives at 97. He had one incident in a parking lot at a shopping center with a woman in one of those motorized store carts. She claimed he was backing out and hit her. She wasn't hurt and there was no damage to his car.
The police were called and followed him home. The officer took his license on the spot. A few weeks went by and he received a letter and a form to be filled out by his doctor. His doctor filled out the form saying he was capable of driving. I honestly couldn't believe it. Then he received a letter from the motor vehicle department with his license enclosed. In my opinion he should have had to have an eye exam and driving test. I feel the system failed EXcluding the police officer who took his license. His eye sight is not good and he uses a cane and at times stumbles around. I noticed he doesn't drive as often and has told me he will know when he shouldn't drive any longer. This brings it to the next point of hoarding. We live in a nice home in a nice area. He will bring home 'stuff' that people put out on the curb to be thrown away. We now have a pink bedroom apolstered chair out on the deck that he brought home in the trunk of his car. Every time it rains he puts it in the breezeway. He thinks it's great. I told him it could have bedbugs in it or something else. Now he realizes it's got to go. Since I have no support from family it will be up to me to get rid of it. He also goes to the basement and brings up old stuff and places them around the house. I could go on and on about this kind of thing. Like everyone, some days it's easier to cope with this then others. Just venting! :-)
treatmenttime - I agree with everyone's advice, but I know from personal experience that it's all easier said than done. It took an ultimatum for my father to hand over the credit cards and responsibility for monthly bills. The whole family stood together in telling him that he had no choice. However, he still regularly overdraws his bank account with his ATM card and spends through his money before the end of each month. Banks, credit card companies, and the 'system' in general is not on your side. His bank allows him to make a withdrawal when there's no money in the account (and then charge huge penalties). I've shouted myself hoarse with everyone who will listen at the bank to put a stop to it - no luck. One honest employee finally admitted to me "it's legal for us to do this and we make money doing it, so we do it."
It will take extreme measures to improve the situation and the sooner you resort to them the sooner the situation will become more bearable.
Thanks all of you, the reason we got involved was due to County threat to condemn property which is why we were shocked when we saw how quickly it happened again. So since I wrote this something miraculous happened, something my husband and I had warned of over and over. My MIL became ill and she almost died of C-DIFF and sepsis because FIL didn't want authorities to see her bedroom or his, which is on same level. Well, they came, they saw, they took notes and they made reports to Adult Protective Services. Thank you Lord! It took us out of the equation of "telling on Mommy and Daddy and their secrets". She is in ICU and all skin and bronchial cultures revealed unhealthy environment. My husband and I have required DPOA from each of them before we get involved again. I will keep you posted as the psychological separation from his stuff has already been horrible for FIL, and he can be aggressive. We don't threaten them, but we have made it clear that the refusal to clean up when faced with losing the house speaks volumes about their mental well being. We will clean MIL room while she is in hospital and we are required to dispose of her belongings that were not in dresser drawers or closet because of severity of bacterial infection and the contagion. The fact that I am having chemo drug therapy right now has shorten my husband's fuse with them and their behavior and that is a great thing as that fuse was ions long! Thanks again everyone, each of you had a part in this solution and I am forever thankful!
by "they" I mean the paramedics came to get her out of house to ER, and because it was a 911 call the police and fire department came along also.
Isn'tEasy If I may make a suggestion sometimes you need to do things for their own good, "Need To Know Basis" it sounds deceitful and dishonest but because your intentions are in the benefit of the one your caring for it's actually an essential duty on your part. So if you do have a D.P.O.A. or a P.O.A. you can go to the bank close out the existing accounts and reopen new ones. Before you do this make sure if he gets direct deposits you can redirect the funds without a problem from the businesses he gets income from. He will still be the bank account holder in name and you sign as P.O.A. no debit cards, just checks. If you don't tell him....and just do it, it's not illegal because as long as your acting in his best interest your actually doing the very thing a PO.A. is allowing you to do. Your protecting him. I suggest using a different bank than the one he goes to now. So he will have no way to access his funds, if the funds are in a bank he does not know of. Keep clear records and copy of all withdrawals and deposits if you are ever questioned about the transactions by anyone you have clear proof of your actions.

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