My mother is 69-year-old and has Alzheimer's. What is the steps we need to take to control her money and help with medical decisions?

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Mother is 69 years old and has to retire because of her Alzheimer's. She is starting to forget bills or lose them so they get paid late. I am the oldest of 3 sister's. My middle sis is no help. So it is just me and youngest sis. My Mother's baby brother and his wife lives with her to help out and have for 4 years now. But we need to take some legal issues to help with the paying of the bills and to know what is going on medically. She is forgetting to go to her appointments and I don't believe she is taking her medications correctly. Any suggestions or advice?

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You need to get her to an attorney soon and have her assign someone to be her Power Of Attorney for financial purposes and also have a health directive (often called a POA for health) drawn up. Talk with her about the kind of care she wants and have this written into the document under the living will section, but don't say "I'll never put you in a nursing home" or anything that will tie your hands. You don't know the future. But you do want to know what she'd prefer.
With POAs, you can have secondary people assigned, too. So maybe you or your sister would be first, and the other a secondary person to be POA if you aren't available. That way you can pay her bills and with the medical POA, you can take care of her medical appointments and make decisions.
Good luck. The sooner this is done the better, because if her AD gets too far along, then an attorney may feel that she can't make the decision to assign a POA.
OMG she's 69, that is just so young. As Carol said, sooner the better. Realize since she is so young and with ALZ, it is likely that she could be with you all for a couple of decades and that you need to plan for the likelihood that eventually she might need to go into a NH and on Medicaid. So seeing an elder care attorney will be very good to help you with options for her in the long, long run.

I'd like to add to make sure that the POA is a DURABLE POA. It seems that in many states more & more it is that the banks and other financial institutions will not recognize a plain POA or one that seem to be pulled off the web and not done by an in-state attorney with the appropriate notary seals and clear witness. What they will say is that the POA is "springing" and that you have to provide documentation that the document has "sprung" into effect in order to use a POA. That means getting physicians to do letters on this. Most doc's will not do this, ok, well, will not do this easily as this is legal and not medical. Trustmark, which is a bank group in maybe 5 states, will not recognize POA because of litigation from families along the lines of "who took dad's $" lawsuits.

There are certified elder law attorneys in most states and if you can go that route , I would recommend it and get all the paperwork done: DPOA; MPOA, update will, Advance Directive (if you think that won't freak her out) and if your state allows it a document call "Guardianship in Case of Incapacity". If there seems to be no elder law attorneys in your area, I'd speak with the social worker at a rehab unit or NH and ask them for a couple of attorney's names. You could go and look at a couple of places, as if you were planning on moving mom, and ask what documents they would recommend you do in advance and who they recommend. The social worker reviews all these documents and will have a good idea of who is out there and understands the nuances of dealing with the elderly. Social worker will be most helpful, the admissions one's no quite so much as they seem to be all about closing the deal imho. This is not the time to get your nephews old roommate who went to law school to do this. Or you could contact your Area Agency on Aging to see who they have on their resource list. This site has the AAOA contact info by state and city. AAOA are paid for by your tax $$ so use them.

If you can get mom's SS and other retirement income direct deposited into an account, that will make your life easier too. For SS and federal retirement, you can do this on-line on her behalf. Also you could have it so that the 3 of you can go on-line to see where the $ gets spent, just in case your middle sister gets huffy.The attorney might suggest that mom do a "personal services contract" to your brother & SIL as they provide day to day care and management for her, and he may also suggest how to best handle the house (it sounded like your mom owns a home and bro & SIL live with her) that will work for how your state does estate laws and Medicaid review. Good luck and keep a sense of humor.

The best way to go is immediately contact a lawyer and for Power Of Attorney for financial purposes and also have a health directive. My Mom is 77 years old with dementia and two years ago I contacted a lawyer got the control of all our financial and health decisions. Act on it right away. I'm also, her caregiver which there are organization out there like catholic charity that will sign you or any family members as a caregiver. I get paid 4 hours a day Mon-Fri because I can't work to get some income. Also, I'm praying about putting my Mom in an assistant living facility. That way I have quality time with her and I can get out of the house. Prayers are with you
When you provide your mom with direct deposit account for her income, eg., soc sec.and or pension. Place your name, as a beneficiary., and if you become her poa,etc free to sign her checks for bills. All my moms bills, eg, utilities, cable, prescription premiums,health premiums were direct with draw. This way you know what's happ in her account in advance. It so much easier on you to be certain they are paid on time. Assistant living locations are typically private pay. If the time comes for Long term Nh, check with a social worker about Medicaid assistance. There's a lot out there that I didn't know about Medicaid. Be sure you talk with somebody that knows the rules better than you. Keep asking questions!!
Take care
Go to a Eldercare lawyer. They are up on all the newest rules and regulationsand will help you make the right decisions.
You need to set up a power of attorney at once. Since Mom already has Alzheimer's, she cannot legally grant you that authority. My suggestion would be to apply to be her conservator, get a power of attorney from the judge, and move her in with you so you can supervise her doctor's visits and meds. Likely she will want for you to agree for you to never throw her away into a nursing home and you should agree to that. She didn't throw you away when you were a handful! Home is the best place to offer loving care and there are many options for inhome help. Believe me, I have cared for a grandmother, and now have a mom with me. I am a single mom who works from home, has several kids including adopted special needs kids, all who are homeschooled, and have survived cancer. It can be done!
I agree with melaniemorris :) My father acquired icu psychosis while in the hospital, which is now a diagnosis of dementia, since it still hasn't went away, and the dementia type changes are in the cat scan. I do have medical power of attorney, but I still can't make him move in with me! He stayed for 5 weeks and now is back at home, and I am scared to death that something is going to happen to him. I am in the process of seeing what can be done to "make" him move back over here, but it is a long and hard process. I have talked to 2 different lawyers, and actually a judge in my county. The Judge said it would be easier with the medical power of attorney, mine is the health care agent which also was signed saying that if dad was ever deemed incompetent by a Judge that I would become legal guardian....but even though it would make it a little easier, it is very very difficult to prove them incompetent even with a diagnosis from a doctor of dementia. That Judges do not like to take away one's independence, and it takes months of record keeping and utilities being cut off just to name a few to start the whole process....and this came straight out of a Judge's mouth.....
Thanks everyone.
All this information is great if the parent will go see an attorney! We must remember the classic sign of the alzeimers patient....the caretaker steals everything!!! My question would be how do you go about it, if there is no cooperation on the patients side :)
Dear Kimmie, I feel for you. My husband was diagnosed in 2011 with ALZ (2nd marriage for us) we had separate accounts for everything. It took me 1 year with help of an attorney to:
1. Get a Durable Power of Attorney - Banks, Doctors, Pharmacies, Insurance agencies, medical and life will not speak with anyone else without. You have to send to them.
2. At Bank - with POA- add your name(s) to her accounts, then sign up for online banking with each financial institution she gets bills from. It is a breeze to take care of her payments.
3. Add your name (s) as beneficiaries to all life insurance policies, also her assets with banks/investment firms.
4. We have also arranged funeral arrangements in advance & paid too.
It took a good long year to get everything where I could manage without Husband's help. Thank goodness there is light at end of tunnel for us all with loved ones afflicted with this awful disease. Take care and Good Luck!

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