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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You need to see an attorney and get conservatorship or guardianship. Usually what happens is that an attornery will interview your mom and determine if she has a problem and she might sign the papesr and the attorney file it with the courts. You will sill need an attorney to file the papers if your mom does not but if her doctor will back you up then you can get them filed without your mom's consent. This will mean you will have to give her any money as she will no longer be authorized to sign anything. Also you will be accountable to the court so you will need to keep all, and I mean all receipts to show that you are being honest with her money and it is being used to care for her.
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You may be able to file a change-of address for your mother, so that all her mail comes to you. You can go through it and give her only what is safe for her to see. I have recently had to start paying my Dad's bills for him. He owed his credit card company $6.21 and was going to send them $1,000...his credit line, instead of his balance! Live long, and prosper! (Yes I'm a Trekker,too.)
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Hello, rdhdwmnscv

In reading your story, it sounds extremely stressful and complicated. However, it sounds as though you are doing everything as well as you can. If you have a joint account with your mother, you should be able to monitor her accounts without a full POA. Do you have a personal account with that bank? If so, you might be able to transfer funds for "safe keeping" and treat it as a "escrow" account. Does your mother have credit cards? If so, can you turn them off?

Now that she is in an assisted living facility/senior complex, have you seen the hoarding behavior subside? IF getting the second doctor's statement is still a goal, have you consulted with your mother's senior complex? I am not familiar with California law, but I would guess that the complex has a social worker on staff and possibly a geriatrician on call.

One last thought:
Alzeihmer's and Dimentia can have some extremely unpleasant sides to them. Just because your mom accuses her of stealing your money, does not mean that deep down inside somewhere in a part of her you will never again see that she does not appreciate everything you are doing. As hard as this is to share, sometimes you've got to just let things roll off your back. Decide what you are willing to accept (even if it sucks, is not in your mom's best interest, etc.) and what you are willing to invest extreme energy to impact. Know you are a good daughter and that your love will not be for naught. A nurse once told me that no act of kindess or compassion goes unnoticed, even if it seems that way in the moment.
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It is so hard to deal with these situations. While working with a current attorney, he tells me of some scenarios that sometimes those that even have a POA take advantage of an elderly parent in the name of "caregiving" so it is an uphill battle all the way.

All I can tell you is that in my case, God provided the way. Mom is still somewhat independent, although living in an assisted facility, but I have a durable POA which means I can watch over her decisions to make sure everything is on the up and up, but I also have the power to do something when necessary.

I have all mail forwarded to me (so parent's do not get scammed). I bring them legit mail. I write all their bills so dad (with Alzheimer's does not tear up checkbook). I ask mom if she wants a record of all her accounting and taxes. She chooses whether she wants to see it or not.

I give her the choices financially with all the information, then I do it her way. Sometimes with scams I have to protect her a bit, but its not too bad.

You need to work as a team with doctors, and any other support staff. Do not alienate, but provide facts and in my world I play "a bit dumb" to get them to come to decisions or suggestions. Works really well.

But perhaps if you sit with your father/mother and discuss all options and consequences, maybe you will find a different result. Sometimes you may have to be more fierce in your protection of our loved ones, but it might be a lot less fighting if you treat them with the dignity prior to their illness.
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rdh,

I'd go with the primary care doctor's suggestions and take her to the neurologist. Evidently Secure Horizons does not know that psychiatrists deal with mental illness and dementia is not a mental illness but a loss of brain function which a neurologist is far more qualified to determine.

I could not imagine that banks would be exempt from state laws concerning action on a durable POA.
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Hi! , Your story could be my story! Suspicious Mother in denial of her memory loss, thinks I want to steal her money, won't let me do anything, hoards stuff, buys tons of stuff she doesn't need or already has, piles of new clothes never worn, etc.
She fell and broke her hip a couple of months ago and while she was in hospital and rehab center for about 6 weeks, I cleaned up her house. Recycled tons of catalogs and other junk mail, containers from food, jars and bottles, etc., threw out old, useless stuff; put alike things together in few boxes instead of lots of boxes partially filled, etc. Cleaned, washed, scrubbed. You get the picture. Of course now she wants to know where I put everything! Good thing I have a memory.
I wanted to tell you how you can handle her bills. Have them automatically deducted from her checking or savings account. Even charge cards can be paid automatically. You just have to have all of her account numbers. You can even do this online. Since your name is on her accounts, set up an online account access and sign up for auto bill pay that way or through each individual utility, etc. It will take 2 - 3 months to start but then it's smooth sailing after that... unless your Mom closes that account! She might even like the idea of her bills being paid automatically. No late charges and the payments will appear on her bill copies or she can check them online anytime. Also can have her pension or social security check go to that account automatically so you will know that there are always funds available. If she has more than one account in the same bank, you can go online and transfer funds from one account to another. This was a miracle for me! My Mom doesn't know that I am keeping track of her expenditures this way, but it is for her own safety and well-being! Good luck!
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Some how you have to get her away from the checkbooks the bottom line is she is not responsible the bank does not care the sooner the money is gone the happier they will be you might want to apply to medicaide and let them find out where her money is going they will be sorry they did not co-operate with the family is there a local TV station who would do a story on this that bank will suffer very much get in touch with your local DA or state DA they would relish this spread the word every way you can about the scam and fraud being played out we have to protect those who can no longer help themselves.
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Her first primary care doctor wanted her to go to a neurologist, but her Secure Horizons under Medicare would do it...said she needed to see a psychiatrist.

I'll check on the bank and the two letters, but I think banks are exempt.
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One more thing, stop letting the bills go to her and have them sent to you so that you pay them directly signing the checks with your POA. If the CA state law only requires one letter then in my opinion that bank is breaking state law by asking for more. I would ask the lawyer who wrote the trust up for your mother about this.
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Does she have a neurologist? If not they could evaluate her and write a letter.

I had my mother's neurologist do this and he wrote up a notarized statement saying she was no longer competent to conduct her business in a business like fashion. Her primary care doctor did the same thing.
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