My mother is in denial about her dementia. She wants total control of her finances, but has made huge errors that have cost her thousands. What can I do?

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Nothing you can do, but to move forward with the circumstances, assuming you have financial power of attnorney? You haven't shared much background, but is it guilt you are feeling? If she has dementia and has signed over financial power of attorney, that is the best thing to protect her from ruining herself financially even if she is complaining.
Use her money to hire an elder lawyer and take it from there and you need to be strong she probably knows it is too much for her to handle and may be relieved someone understands and is willing to get help-there will probably be anger on her part at first but it is what it is.
im in the same boat with my 84 yr old dad, hes been double paying bills, even paying stuff we canceled. a lot of people try to rip off elderly, but he doesnt want to feel 'stupid', so he hides it. im thinking i may have to get a POA on him, but then he'll be hell to live with!! hes always been a real proud guy, but his judgement is not too good anymore. he keeps stupid papers he doesnt need, and shreds the bills he does need. then he wants me to 'fix it' but he doesnt even have an account number or proof he paid.
recently, he asked me to contact a few things on his bank statement he says he sisnt want, 2 were magazines,etc. ( he cant understand the 'press 1 2 for/..) well, one of the charges was for the alarm system on the house!! i contacted american express first, they wiped it off, then gave me a number to contact the company. assuming it was another magazine, i went to cancel it, the guy on the phone was 'ma'am, this isnt a magazine, this is eectronic monitoring for your home security system'..i called american express right back and told them to continue to pay, that my dad mixed a few things up...
yikes!! now i look like a fool and lost all credibilty with american express, i know this because 3 months later, he had another charge that they completly ignored me about.
when i moved in here, he was paying close to $500 a month for his cable/phone/internet package with verizon. since he was long out of the contract, i canceled it and switched to comcast. ( now he pays $145 a month for same servies) well, direct tv started sending bills, when they didnt before, it was billed trhough verizon, well, i contacted them a few times, then one day they got my dad on thephone, and got him to agree to pay the balance!! i contacted this colection agency telling them i was going to goto court with direct tv, but because its a collection agency, and he paid one installment, it started a new contract that hes now locked into...GGRRRRRR!!
Here's some more info on my mom. She included the power of attorney in her living trust naming me as the executor. I was able to get her (via her original primary care doctor) to a psychiatrist to check on her memory a few times, but then my mom got wise and kept saying "I'm not stupid! You think I'm nuts - I'm not going back there again." She refuses to take the meds the psychiatrist gave her to help her memory. I was able to obtain a letter from the psychiatrist indicating that she is in dementia and early stages of Alzheimers. Her primary doctor had a stroke (the one who also thought my mom had Alzheimers) and retired before I could get a letter from him and the new doctor doesn't want to commit in writing. He says he hasn't seen her enough but I think it's just a matter of not wanting to be the one to allow the power of attorney to commence - not getting involved. She's always on her good behavior when with him and it's a struggle for her to keep her stories straight with him but he just doesn't get it. Her thyroid doctor also sees what's happening with her inability to reason or remember to take her other medication for her thyroid and wrote a letter to her primary care doctor, who has ignored it. In the meantime, although the State of California recognizes one qualified doctor/psychiatrist letter to enact the POA, her bank requires two letters from different doctors. The letter from the thyroid doctor isn't recognized by the bank. I've been very successful with other accounts she has (phone company, electric company, medicare, etc) in acknowledging the one letter and the signed power of attorney document that my mom signed when she created in. I'm on her bank account and have written checks to the bills she insists on paying herself but never does...after they are very late and notify me. She is in total denial, thinks I'm stealing her money but right now my hands are tied as far as the bank because my mom refuses to go to another doctor other than her primary care doctor and the thyroid doctor. For the last 5 years my mom has been a hoarder in her two story house (nothing dead or garbage) just lots of STUFF. She had 20 brand new portable tv's buried under 100's of new clothes that she bought - most still with new tags on them. Many many other new and slightly used items. New cd player in the box. She didn't want to open it up and use it because someone would break into her house and steal it. There was a path through the house to the bathroom. If you've ever watched Hoarders on tv, you get the picture. I took pictures and showed them to her primary care doctor showing him how she was living. Didn't phase him. We were able to convince her last year to move to a senior complex (not assisted living) where she has regained her weight (she was down to 98 pounds, now up to 115) and make a lot of new friends. She agreed to sell her house, reluctantly as she'd been in for 60 years and I understand that was a hard decision. So for the last 6 months I have been cleaning out her house, brought it all to my house which has a very very large yard area, and had a 3 day estate sale last weekend. When she asked me where I took all of her stuff, I told her I had a huge sale, made lots of money to help pay for the repairs on the house, etc. and she wanted that money RIGHT NOW, it's HER money and I was stealing it from her. Trying to explain where the money was going was like talking to a wall - and I know that trying to rationalize with someone with dementia is futile (much like the Borgs on Star Trek who told Jean Luke Picard that his efforts to crush them was futile for those of you who are trekkies like me). I'm 63, recently unemployed, so fortunately I had the time to get her house emptied. My husband has been very supportive, but it has put a strain on our marriage - thank goodness he's such a wonderful man. My adult son has also been helping me but my mom doesn't trust anyone so anything anyone says to her she thinks they're out to get her money.

So there's my story. Many of the dementia/Alzheimers sites give you what should be great advice, but unfortunately, they all say
p.s. my mom is 83. My dad passed away in 1997.
Can you take her bank books away and all her credit cards or maybe go to court to have her declared un compant the docs will have to tell the truth in a court of law even telling them about it might make them decide to co-oparate you probably should have her see an elder lawyer if she refuses tell her you will not help her out of her messes anymore that should get her attention-you are not responsible for her debts.
man, thats a tough situation for you, i can understand your frustration, bigtime! im a neat freak, my dads not a hoarder, but hadnt cleaned in 20+ years. because of this, ive broken out in huge open sores, ive been to 2 doctors,2 biopsys that say im 'bugfood'.so we changed the carpets, i got better. we just had the house exterminated, so before putting ANY food into cabnets, im inspecting them for bugs. his 25 bag of flour is full of black specks. he insists he doesnt want to throw it away.'im not wasting a 25 pound bag of flour. ' he spends 3000 to get rid of the bugs only to bring them back in!!
my point is that its a health hazard having a house like that, belive me I KNOW. my dad got ripped off by my brother, so he thinks im out to get his money now, banging my head against a wall here, so i completly understand where you are. your so lucky to have an understanding husband for support, me, i cant even date with huge open sores on my body.i cant talk to him, he knows EVERYTHING, doncha know.
is there another person that can talk to her for you? thats what im gonna try to do next, he listens to nothing i say because im a woman, therefore im stupid.( in his eyes) if i can get somebody else to tell him stuff, he listens.. maybe that will work with your mom?
hang in there, your a great daughter for cleaning her house, i know how hard a job that is. especially if your doing it by far as the money you 'earned' from the sale, tell her you earned half of what you really got, then put the rest where you think it should go.
i think its just a thing with people of that generation, they grew up in depression era, so hanging onto money/stuff becomes a matter of survival, in a way. i learned when my mom had dementia, that she kinda got 'younger and younger' as far as her mental state of mind, now my dads doing the same thing. right now, he is like a teenager, you know, when you cant tell them anything because they know everything? he was in the 'superman' stage for a while there, im glad hes not in that so much anymore because i was afraid he'd hurt himself.he falls a lot because he doesnt pick up his feet when he walks, so when he gets stuborn, he does things to 'prove hes not old' like climb a ladder to clean the raingutters, stuff like that...
does she like your husband? can he maybe talk to her?
Hi Sebring - thanks for your comments. She really only will listen to men - because she is such a dominant personality, she doesn't like other women "telling her what to do"....I'm a lot like her so I do understand. It's just exaggerated now that her mind is going. He can usually calm her down and she loves him a lot (reminds her of my dad)...but, today was a disaster. When he called her, she went off on him with the stealing stuff, etc. She doesn't trust, me, my son, my sister in law(she's stealing everything too, you know) any of the other adult grandkids. I'm making one more plea to her bank's attorneys to let me take over her accounts...I'm just so exhausted. Sounds like your dad is a handfull too. Well, I'm going to have a glass of chardonnay now and try to forget it for tonight. My son and his wife are moving to Washington state tomorrow and I want to have a nice evening with them before they go. No matter how old they are (he's 38) they're still your kids. I know I'm still my mom's kid, but with her illness right now I'm her enemy. :)
you may have to contact the court to get POA, not the banks..most cities have free legal advice, most all have senior the elder abuse hotline simply because they have a lot of phone numbers and resources, not that shes being abused, only because they have the correct places to call.shes a handfull for your husband as wel, sounds like.
but you need to go through the courts, not the banks..good luck, God smiles on you!!
have you tried talking to her and asking her if shed rathr have somebody else handle her money, like a accountant? or is she not in the right mind to decide? im not saying your doing a bad job, i think you are doing as well as anybody, but if you tell her that there is an attourney, or an accountant handling her money, then she cant blame you..did that make sense? give her a 'mystery person' to blame.. that used to work when my mom was alive.

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