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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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LynnPO..thanks so much for your comments. Unfortunately, she took me off of her checking account on Friday so I have no access to her funds at all. I'm still trying to get a 2nd letter from a doctor to show the bank. They are the ones being the sticklers. I have the Power of Attorney that is in her Trust, so that's not the problem. It's the bank wanting 2 letters from doctors, not the 1 that the State of California requires. Block wall....but it's baby steps. This website has been a God send to me. My family knows what I'm (as well as their interaction with her as well) going through, but it's really nice chatting with others who are going through the same or similar situations with their elderly parents.

I'm taking notes so that hopefully I won't be this much trouble for my son and his wife.....
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RDH - First - good for you getting her moved, leave her there. Second, 4 little words: Lie to your Mom. I don't want to be harsh but you're making things really difficult for yourself and it's all because you want to be a good daughter. You want to respect your mother and be honest but that's not working and it won't work with her ever again. Your mother is no longer in her right mind; you cannot reason with her. She will never see things clearly again. When she asks about her house and all it's contents tell her that you're boxing it up so it's better organized, washing it - what ever - that it's there in case she wants it. Don't tell her about selling anything ever again.

If she wants cash - give her $200 in $1 & $5's and tell her to hide it in her room. Tell her that all her monthly income goes to pay her rent at the assisted living center. Tell her that "they" don't want residents to keep money in their rooms. Do not ever let her have a check book or charge card. If she has TV or phone that are paid by YOU - tell her those are included in the rent and then have all bills sent to yourself.

At some point we can no longer be honest with our elders, especially if they have dementia or alzheimers. It only serves to confuse and agitate them even more. We move from being a child to being their care giver and it's a really difficult shift to make, it's painful, it doesn't feel natural but it's necessary. As long as you're honest with your family, ensuring that your mom has the best care possible, that all her funds go to make her safe and as healthy as possible - then it's all you can do. I hope you can learn some way to communicate with your mom - it will all be up to you, she can't understand - so that you can share some laughter and loving moments. It's hard but lieing to her will help - it will make her feel like things are all just fine and you'll be less stressed.
Best of luck to both of you.
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Good suggestions but she wouldn't do it in a million years. She refuses to pay ANYONE money if she can get away with it. She thought that I should only pay the two guys that helped me move all of her stuff (over 10 hours) $20 total. Paying an attorney would be out of the question. She is totally obsessed with money to the point where if a bill comes to $10. 02 she makes a big deal about getting the .02 cents from you. Hope this clarifies where her state of mind is.
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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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you may have to contact the court to get POA, not the banks..most cities have free legal advice, most all have senior services.call 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!!
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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. :)
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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, too.im 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 yourself..as 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?
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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.
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p.s. my mom is 83. My dad passed away in 1997.
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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
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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 for..press 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!!
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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.
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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.
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