A warning about losing wallets/purses; Dad (89) was in the hospital and lost his wallet.

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Short version: Dad (89) was in the hospital and asked for his wallet (he's always looking through it). Mom gave it to him because that's the kind of marriage they have. He dropped it in the sheets and forgot about it. So did Mom. It's gone. Every bit of ID he had--including his Social Security Card and Medicare card! It was a nightmare cancelling credit cards because he didn't know what credit cards he had. He also had two department store credit/debit cards and a gas card. We finally got the cards under control (we think!). Had to go through piles and piles of old paperwork to see if we could locate bills from credit card companies. They resisted having my husband (their son) be a Power of Attorney because "we're in great health, we'll do it later." Now that they are suddenly "old" (not driving and moving to assisted living), they want him to be a POA. Turns out you can't sign a POA without a photo ID! Dad can't get a photo ID from the state unless he has a social security card. You can't get a new SS card unless you have a photo ID. Irony of ironies! His passport is invalid/expired, so that doesn't count. So, my advice to caregivers is this: 1. Get a front and back copy of every single credit card in your loved ones wallet. You can't cancel cards for them if you don't know what they are or who to call. 2. Make them leave their SS card at home--use Identity theft as a reason. 3. Become a POA before they get "Old". Show them this thread as a cautionary tale if needs be. 4. If the person you are caring for goes in the hospital, take their wallet home with you. Even if there is a spouse (like in our case) who will be certain they can keep track of it.

9 Comments

Ceecee65, lot of excellent advice :)

I know I made sure I made front/back copies of everything Dad had in his wallet, for those oops moments in life.

My folks had Power of Attorneys but those legal documents were older than dirt. When Dad went to the ER my Mom stayed at home because she was now legally blind and almost totally deaf. It was then when I told my Dad I can't make any choices for him since Mom was his POA. That got the ball rolling. I suggested both still be each other's POA, but to add a second person in case the first person cannot serve as POA.

I also got my parents to update their Wills as there were too many landmines in that Will. That is what happens when one doesn't use an Attorney who does Wills on a full-time basis. I had my parents see an Elder Law Attorney, even though they wanted to use their real estate attorney.... ah, no.

I kept Dad's wallet while he was in the hospital. He wanted it one day so he could go to the front desk, check-out, and pay for his room and meals. Poor Dad, he thought he was in a hotel :P
Good suggestions from both of you.

CeCe, who told you that a photo ID is necessary for a POA? An attorney? Or were you trying to have a non attorney prepare the POA?

It's been years since we had the estate planning done, and I don't recall needing an ID, so I'm curious. But then, I had worked for the firm which handled the documents, and they knew me, and Dad was perfectly cognizant of what he was doing. Same for my sister, although she was in respiratory failure at the time.
What happened to you is not unusual, but debilitating, as you now have to move mountains.  Once you have the IDs again, here is what I did...
I made copies of all of mom's IDs before she went into nursing home. Because she is used to have a purse and a wallet - signs of her independence - I left in her wallet color copies of her health insurance and of her ID (not Medicare or Social Security cards). When she looses her wallet and calls me frantic about it, I can say: "Don't worry Mom, I have all the ID originals, as well as your credits cards (I had closed them already) so you have not lost anything. There is no money in the wallet and no value there at all. All is well. Relax." And after a few repetitions, she does.
there are things that are so important to them
Here: shaver (nr 16) and watch "winding" and changing it, and wallet
to take every thing out in public. After all these years it puts a smile on my face and sometimes I feel sorry for him to see all this "actions". He loves to do it, so who cares.  Oh and the cane! A thousand in one tool :)
Our city gives copies of ID for ALz/ dementia.  
I sew a tile tracker inside the wallet in case it gets lost which is often around the house. But if it gets lost some ware else any body who has the app download it will pick up the tile signal and send it to your tracking I pad or phone etc.with the address where it is and when you get close you can make it makes a sound so you can find it. Wish I had one on every thing but at around $ 27 each they only go on keys and wallets.
NO ONE SHOULD KEEP EVERYTHING IN 1 PLACE - this is not just for our beloved seniors but all of us - hubby & I keep at least 1 card for backup in house not on person - we use it once or twice a year to keep it active

You need photo ID to open a bank account, get a NEW lawyer to do documentation for you - my dad was able to use a very expired passport as it still had name, face & date of birth but he couldn't go any where on it -

Worth chequing not assuming about this - most provinces will make photo ID for those who don't drive so they have some ID - try where you live - usually for young kids but anyone can get it

Never carry any card you don't use regularly - my S.I.N. card, birth certificate, marriage certificate etc are in safety deposit box - you don't need your S.I.N. card unless you are applying for a job or opening a bank account so leave it at home - just think what someone can do with the information in your wallet right now!
Sorry for what you are going thru it's a headache. BUT, If you go online or by phone you don't need proof. I got a new Medicare card for my husband with no problem. Passport may be outdated to travel but the info doesn't change. Best ID you have. When I renewed I only had to update personal info, like address. They sent my old one along with the updated forms and two weeks later I received a new PP with a hole punched into the old one.
That is correct-because the POA doc must be notarized, you need to provide current photo ID. But if you get a notary public that will let you "slide" if you have another document as ID, they MAY (and that's iffy) allow it. Case in point example--my late mother did not know that she had let her State of Massachusetts DL for ID only (no driving) expire. However, she had a Commissioner of the Blind photo ID and the notary public allowed it, but he wasn't supposed to! We got lucky! You may, too.o
In regard to replacing lost  SS cards, it's extremely easy to do online.
I agree with making copies, front and back. Lock that SS card somewhere safe. Never carry it on a daily basis. There is bare minimum IN Ma's purse. A copy of her Non-driver ID, my name and phone # as emergency contact and less than $50, finally a list and dosage of all medications, that she has a tube in her ear and both cataracts.

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