Getting over guilt when you have to take over parents finances.

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My dad has just been diagnosed with dementia and my mom left and went out of state. I had to take control of my dads finances because my mom has taken 90% of there life savings out in the last 4 years. I have been telling her for years something like this was going to happen and she did not listen. I now have to be the bad guy and I feel guilty. I do have a sister but she has her own issues and cannot help me with my dad. I have moved him to my house and I am using his last bit of savings to put a mobile home on my property for him. I feel guilty about moving him also. He wanted to go back to his own home but in the last 2 years he has given his debit card to a neighbor along with the pin and of course they cleaned the account out. There have also been breakins in the neiborhood and they neighbor was shot in the head. I feel its a very bad area for him and I know I need to be with him in order to keep him safe. I just need to not feel so much guilt. It is keeping me form not doing things I need to do. Could someone please share experance with guilt so I dont feel so alone

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Echoing the above (excellent!) comments, I think you are going to have to think about going 3 different directions simultaneously (sounds fun, huh!). For what it is worth, I've only had to deal with bits & pieces of what you have going on, but if we were friends sitting over coffee this is what I would come up with (free advice being worth...well, you know ; )...so, here goes;

1). Get Dad safe (Done! Good job!)
2) Getting Dad's $ protected - again, Good job, & not easy, BTW!
3). Prepare for his future ..as if you won't get a dime back that was taken. VA benefits as suggested above. & check out every conceivable other assistance avail (whether needed now or not). For VA at least "no assets" helps. Consider hiring a lawyer to help, just because it's HUGE amount of complicated & confusing paperwork, and if one little thing is missed it may have to start ALL OVER AGAIN. We hired a lawyer for my Grandmother's application & it took only 3 months vs. the 6 months we were told to expect (maybe the lawyers were somehow able to fast-track it, or maybe because the paperwork was "right" the first time it took less time than "normal". Don't know, don't care, just happy w/results). Contact your local VA office for references. The lawyers who do this are VERY limited in what they can legally charge. I think it was about $700-800...less than one month's benefits for her, so we were actually ahead, with a lot less stress.
3). You didn't say how much his cleared-out bank account was, or what the story was. If it was a smaller amount (say under $2k) & they were getting him spending money & groceries over a year, that could easily be $2k LOOKING like fraud but being perfectly innocent. If your Dad was giving $ to long-time friends his own age to "help them out"...harder. If he was giving younger (unemployed? addict) folk "loans"...um, "fraud", but good luck getting it back. If it was more fraud-like activity maybe send a lawyer-letter to the neighbor asking for the $ back, explaining that your Dad has dementia & didn't understand what he was doing, and he now needs the money for his own care. File with the police/APS, small claims court, or whatever seems appropriate but don't spend all of your energy agonizing over it. Recovering assets from neighbor would be nice, but be realistic about how much it will actually help out (above posters are correct though--taking money IS elder abuse, and APS & the police take a very, very dim view of it. Even if he "said it was OK", if he obviously has dementia it's wrong. Who knows, maybe a cop or Gov.;t worker showing up on their door might bring on them a sudden bout of "ethics". If it's a large amount, obviously fraud and they end up with "elder abuse" after their last name on the police records... isn't that sooooo sad! Contact a local "free legal services for seniors" clinic for lawyer letter to find out where to start.
Don't know if it is feasible to ask for assets back from Mom (is she sitting on a pile of stashed cash, or did she spend away...she may have dementia too, BTW). Again, if you are talking about $100k+ & she has more income than your Dad it might be worth finding out what recourse there is. Jointly held assets between spouses are tricky. If it's already spent, & she has little income, probably not going to accomplish much .
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First, drop the guilt. You are the person who SAVED your Dad. You are a HERO, I commend you for your selflessness! Many good suggestions already given as to financial assistance. Heed the advice of Terrim & Rhonda60. Prosecuting those formerly in your Dad's life IS a hard pill to swallow but, already a victim of his disease, he has been further victimized by those he trusted. You can never push hard enough to rid him of the disease but you CAN do something about those who took advantage of him. Push, push, push! You'll be too busy to worry about guilt. Remember, you are the HERO of this story.
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I agree with Terrim. Contact the police to report fraud then follow through and press charges. Without knowinf the law, I would think dad could get mom to return half of the savings
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What do you feel guilty about? You sound like you are doing the right thing. If you can get a power of attorney, you should file to get your mother to return half of his savings. You can apply for Medicaid for him and tell them what she did. You should also report to police about the neighbor cleaning him out. Since he got the PIN # from someone with dementia, that is fraud.
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It sounds to me like you are already doing a super job. It sometimes just gets so overwhelming for me that I need to vent and this is a good spot to do that. The advice about Aid and Attendance from Veterans is a good place to start looking for some financial relief if he was a veteran. I feel guilt also at times even when I am doing the best that I can so try and take it easy on yourself. One of the biggest challenges that I face is trying to get a little time for myself without feeling guilty. When I discovered that I was a much better caregiver when I do get time to recharge it diminished my guilt about wanting time for myself because I realized it was a necessity for both of us. It is a long and winding road and I wish you the best.
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You might want to check out a website: eldercare.gov. On this website you can search for local resources. I'd recommend calling your local Senior Information & Assistance office; they might have some good resources for you.

The Senior I&A should also be able to help you find a local caregiver support group. These other caregivers have gone through/are going through what you are going through, and they can be amazing supports. You are going to need support, because from what you said, you won't be getting any from your mother or sister. You are not alone in your caregiving journey, and I think every person who finds themselves in a caregiving situation experiences guilt! That being said, it sounds like you really love your dad, and you are doing everything you can to keep him safe and healthy so he can have a good and happy life. It sounds like he doesn't have anyone else that is able to do for him what you are doing-- but you need someone to support you, too! I can easily tell you "don't feel guilty," but I know that guilt doesn't stem from a place of logic, but rather a place of emotion and it's not that easy to just stop it. Maybe you can think up a phrase or mantra to tell yourself when the guilty feelings overwhelm you, such as, "I'm doing what's best for him," or "I love my father and this is how I show him I love him," or "when I was a child, he took care of me; now it's my turn."
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I am a mom that left the state where my TBI husband and our children live. There are reasons mom's leave dad's after years and years of marriage. The reasons may not be valid to on-lookers, but the dad knows. As for you feeling guilty, d o n ' t ! My children have formed a mutual support system around their dad. They love both of us; and my emotional, mental and physical well-being is also important to them. It is not easy for my children because it was not easy for me. Be thankful that you are in a blessed position to help your dad...do what you can...and know that your decisions are for his best interest. MomsAngel's answer was right on! Print out her last two sentences, post them in places around your home and read them every day until the truth of what she said becomes a reality for you. You sound like a good daughter. Stay blessed.
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Ferris1, please try to understand how hurtful it may be to say "just deal with it". The OP was asking for advice on HOW to deal with it. If it's your perspective that dealing with it is a simple matter, then , it might be helpful to remember that for some of us it is more difficult, and a bit of encouragement and practical advice can go a long way.

As for the question of how to deal with the guilt, Hopeforabetter, I think it's good to try to focus on how much safer your dad will be with you, and being with someone who loves him instead of being vulnerable to ppl who would exploit him. You are doing your best for your dad, and you are keeping him safe. The factors that brought you to having to make the decision to move him are beyond your control. You are doing the right thing by trying to deal with this new reality.
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When you do the best you can with what you are given, then why do you feel guilty? You are in control of your thoughts and somehow you are going to have to come to the realization your mom left you with your ill dad and take it from there. Just deal with it like the rest of us who are taking care of our loved ones.
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was your dad a veteran? If so he is entitled to Aid and Attendance benefits which is quite a substantial amount to take care of him. He can also get money if you decide to put him in a nursing home regardless if he has to go to a medicaid facility.
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