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How do you handle a generous mild to moderately demented 88 year old Mom living in a different state who responds with $10 to $15 checks to every charity solicitation letter. I don't want to take her checkbook away, but for a while there would even be two to three checks in one month to the same questionable charity. She particularly is on the list of those that send "gifts" and ask for a contribution. I get her bank statement on line to keep track and after showing her copies of the checks, at least for the moment it has slowed down. I am afraid she will forget again and start responding. She loves to get mail, and the more she sends, the more lists she is on to get more.

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We get mail and phone calls to donate to various vet organizations. It is sad to say that some fundraisers see vets as a cash cow. I would say to stick with the tried and true vet organizations.

Animal charities are another cash cow. If someone wants to give to animals, they should give to their local humane society. That way the money goes to caring for the animals. The fundraisers for the national humane society only give a few pennies on the dollar for animal care.

I know people have to have jobs, but when I donate money I really don't like most of it to go to the fundraising company.
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Jessie, regarding the veteran charities we get at least 2 to 4 envelopes a week at the office. My boss likes to donate to this well deserved cause twice a year, but enough already. He's almost ready to STOP donating.
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My father had mixed dementia. His biggest symptom was that he would shop til he dropped from catalogs and would send money to charities. It was nearly impossible to deal with, even though I lived in the same house. I got on Catalog Choice and had many catalog cancelled behind his back. One -- Harriet Wright -- wrote him and he was so upset. My mother was in collaboration with me. But when he got upset, she turned on me and blamed me. It was ugly.But he was spending $1-2K a month on worthless junk that no one ever used. He was entertaining himself, ordering and opening packages. Most of this stuff was worthless trinkets.

When I could, I would toss the catalogs to the side of the porch. That was hard to do because he sat in a chair looking out the window all day long every day. He could see when the mail came and what I took out of the box.

Many catalog companies paid no attention to requests to cancel. The only thing that made them finally cancel was when the orders stopped after his death.

And charities -- don't get me started. I think there is now one veteran charity for each person in the military. I believe most charities are to provide jobs for fundraising companies with some going to who they are supposed to benefit. I have a bad taste for charities now.

I had a nearly impossible fight to ward off charities and catalogs even though I lived in the same house. I don't know if anyone could do anything if they didn't. There are companies that want people's money so badly that they have no conscience at all about targeting seniors. I do think that 80+ mailing lists should be illegal, since anyone purchasing these lists are looking for easy marks.
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can you ask your parent to tell you who they want the donation to go to, and say you will take care of it? ( NOT) And screen the mail if you can, I know that;s hard from a distance. Can you have the mail forwarded to you, and send them a packet of legitimate mail once a week? My dad loved catalogues.. just to look at?
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Think what I'll do is censor his mail as I collect our mail all the time. Just give him one or two that come in just to make him feel good. The ones that I know are legit. And I answer the calls. We also have the answering machine.

Our cable company which provides our landline service has a feature that I use to block calls. *60. Works very good (If I remember to do it :) )
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The "Do not call list" blocks out telephone calls from just about everyone EXCEPT charities and political parties. Once someone orders from a catalog, you are placed on a call list and/or mail outs from that company and all the companies under that corporate umbrella.

The calls that really rattle my cage are calls from home improvement companies, the caller will say "You called us to come out for an estimate for new windows, what would be a good time?". With enough of those types of calls I could see if someone who doesn't have memory issues would think they had memory issues wondering if they had call the company to have estimate. It can freak you out sometimes.
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Had a bad time with this with my Mom. Eventually we took over her checkbook and put her credit card in a safe place. Told Mom that it was just a help and anytime she wanted to write a check to these people we'd be happy to write it out for her and she could sign the check. It has worked good for us. It has helped us to know where she was sending her money. And she has quit sending them money. I don't think she likes asking us to write out her check.
What I found is that a lot of these charities, political organizations etc. do is send out solicitations for money about every two weeks, long enough for a senior with memory problems to forget that they'd already sent a donation. I would talk with your postmaster about putting her on a no junk mail list too.
Regarding phone solicitations/scams that was harder to deal with. She was on a no call list but still calls got through. We spoke to the phone company and they helped as best they could. We also contacted the police when there were obvious scam calls. The calls still come but not as often and I usually try to answer the phone and I am not nice.
These folks that prey on the elderly like this are pure evil!!!!
My Mom like yours loves to get mail. I often think it's a shame friends and extended family can't take a moment once a week or even once a month to drop a short note to the older folks. They'd love it and maybe they wouldn't be as likely to get their mail "fix" from some evil scammer.
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Get control of the money. Get rid of the credit cards. Have someone intercept the mail and throw out the charity junk. Get phone calls screened through your I phone and or get a programable call blocker. (HQTelecom.com) I'm doing most of this stuff long distance so dad won't give all his money away to the bogus cop charities.
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Hubby is getting all kinds of political junk mail. I'd like to toss it all. How can I find out if the asking party is legit?
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What I do is I tear up what they sent to my mom then send it back to them in their envelope. It takes a few, times but it works.
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My mother was on all sorts of mailing lists. I guess they pass your name around. I have POA and control of everything as she's now in a nursing home. She called her bank last summer to try and get cheques but they have my POA on file and refused. She's at the stage now when she can no longer write or dial a phone.

When her house was sold over a year ago I had mail redirected to me. On every piece of junk begging mail I wrote "Return to Sender - Deceased" and put it back in the mail. Eighteen months later they're still coming but fewer now. Those that do come, depending on my mood, I either do the "Deceased" thing or put them through my shredder to go out into the compost bins. At the NH the only mail that is given to her is something like a greeting card. All other mail is held at the desk for me to collect as I kept finding government mail just thrown in drawers.
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Let her be upset-she is making you upset-if she needs to go on Medicaid all the money she is putting out monthly unnecessarily may keep her from getting it and will have to be private pay for a long time-you have POA for a reason because she is not dependable moneywise any more she will be upset but will get over it after a while-she may have dementia and needs to be stopped or you will be considered unfit to be her POA.
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My mother is 93 and in assisted living, has been for 4 months now. She was living with me, her daughter before, and before that living alone in Michigan. Problem is, she now is spending each month more than her income is, actually taking about 800 a month from her savings. She however insists that her charitable donations must keep going, that is about 300 a month. Thus, costing about 1100 a month from her savings total. I can not make her understand that there is less money coming in than is going out now, I have a POA and am thinking of just stopping the payments but do not want to upset her. Any ideas?
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This is in a smaller town (12,000 population). We got a great Home Health nurse through the hospital nursing service. She suggested the private home health provider, and then when we needed more help that person suggested another private person.
I still can't believe we were so fortunate. I know the quality (or lack there of) that agencies often hire. I would not trust just anyone into my Mother's home, and now into her apartment.
Word of mouth sometimes is invaluable. I hope you can find someone.
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I have POA, but the boys are listed as co-owners of all her banking stuff. When she dies my job is done and they can take over. Works for us.
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I'm the one that pays my mother-in-laws bills. She and I sat down one day and I called all her billers and had my address put on all the bills. Of course she was okay with that. My address and phone number are listed on all but personal mail now. When someone DOES slip by and call her for money of whatever, she tells them to call me. They hang up real quick. The only mail she gets now is personal from grandkids etc. Again she's okay with that. I also have everything available online for her boys to see. They all have the passwords etc. to keep me accountable. It's kind of a pain to have to do my bills and hers, but it's necessary.
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It is so good you were able to find good caregivers for your Mom-maybe it is where I live but that was almost impossible for me and to get the hours I wanted was asking too much even the nurses in rehab told me the hours I should have help without asking me what was best for us even the agency I used was bad-most of the aides had no training but now I am able to help a friend find good aides for her husband and can tell her what to look for in an aide.
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Wow, what a terrible experience. Luckily Mom never got into the "sweepstakes" fraud--just the charities. One month she sent three different checks ($10-15 each) to one charity.
My Mom's situation never got that far out of hand. I cleared out at least 40 or 50 "gift" calenders and huge amounts of greeting cards and note pads in December. She was pretty good for quite a while after I pointed out the multiple checks etc. I get her checking account on line (I am also on the account) and send it to her. She back slid and got on the kick again the end of the year. However, her mental and physical condition has deteriorated to the point that I just took the check book and have all the bills sent to me. We are lucky to have found two wonderful private home health care workers to help her with her increasing needs, and still get her out and about and respect her dignity. I trust one of them enough to give her the checks to give Mom to write out each week for church, and to write out for cash at the back so she can use that shopping. This lady pays for most of the purchases Mom makes and sends the bills to me.
We are really blessed to have found wonderful increasing help to allow Mom to stay, at least a little longer, in her Independent Living Apartment. She otherwise would be assisted living.
God bless all of you caretakers.
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Before we were totally aware of what was happening, my father had run up $35,000 in credit card debt to "donate" to just about every charity on earth. He was inclined to give much more when it was offering a prize or a gift. The worst charity offenders were the police charities which claimed to be collecting for the survivors of murdered police officers.

By far, the Publishers Clearing House and Reader's Digest were the biggest offenders in the fraud of older people. We had so many unopened books and garbage prizes from these people we didn't know where to put them.

Opening a post office box was our only solution, but this did not stop the mail. We just intercepted it.

PHONE CALLS were worse-- usually based on foreign lotteries or from people who wanted to deposit Nigerian money in Dad's bank account. We also had counterfeit checks which initially cleared the bank. The purpose was for them to obtain his account number.

One almost amusing incident was a phone call from a supposed bank in England. My Mom had hysterics and told my father to hang up and stop bankrupting them. The caller phoned back five minutes later and asked my Dad who that "b*tch" was on the phone. "Oh," says Dad,"that's my wife."
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God!!!!!!!!!!!! What a thankless job, good luck
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Yes, I can relate. My Dad received at 1-foot stack of mail each week from charities and those scam sweepstakes. His bank and the post office were useless for help. My mom said it was wrong for her not to mail his mail. Now my mother gives me his outgoing mail and she does not feel guilty. She also captures his incoming mail and gives it to me. She lets him have one or two a week so he doesn't figure out what we are doing. You now have to write REFUSED on the mail, cross out the bar code and put it back in the mail box or give it to the amil man. I put these stacks back in the mail box boy the post office did not like that! I also sent the ones that looked like goverment notices/letters (Office of the Treasurer...) to the FBI White Collar Crime Branch. When I realized that he was spending $500-$1000 mo on this I closed his bank acct and opened a new one. I cried for a week about how he would react. Then I discovered that the overseas charities and scam sweepstakes were taking auto debits from his account. Little amounts of $5.23... but it was progressive. It started1 x month the 4x month and the amount got larger. Again, his Bank branch was not helpful but a gal in the Branch by my office help me reverse those debits. She helped me get 3 months of money back and yes not the corporate office and the FBI were involved. This is why it is really important we capture his outgoing mail so it can't happen on the new account.

One problem is he wonders why the bank is not depositing his winning checks. He accuses the bank manager of stealing his winning checks. While I am at work he goes and closes out the account and opens a nw account at a new bank. I find out go to the new bank and they treat me like I am a criminal saying they talked with my 91 yr old dad for two hours to make sure he was mentally competent (while he had a taxi on the meter waiting in the parking lot).

Friday he told me he wants me off his checking account so I don't know what this week will bring. Re: conservatorship - in Calif there is no guarantee that I would be appointed his conservator. I don't have it in my heart to turn him and consequently my mother, over to a court appointed stranger.

Thank you for letting me vent and knowing that I am not alone. Let me saay gain, it your bank is not helping you go to the FBI White Collar crime unit.
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the worst is "Bottom Line" newsletters - they never let up. I wish that with all this talk about new green businesses, there was one politician whow would make it a priority to stop targeting seniors with expensive junkmail ripoffs and buying their personal data to sell them more stuff.

Publishers clearinghouse is bad - the car warranty company that signs up seniors who can't drive is worse.
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I was asked by my parent's bank to step in. Upon investigation, I was shocked at what I found, but already suspected. In just one box of cancelled checks, I'm counting 33 sent to charitable contributions, ranging in price from $5.00 - $175.00, each. There are multiples to some organizations.

Since I'm in the process of "defending" my position as Guardian and Conservator, I am filing this information into a spreadsheed to establish the pattern of misuse of funds, and prevent future misappropriation. Mom insists she does not need a Guardian or Conservator, because "she had her own checkbook." Except that was part of the problem. She treated her personal health the same way, with excess and addictive tendencies, and needs someone to care for her needs. I say defend, because she claims she's "fine," and doesn't need my help.

My mom loves to spend, shop and give to charities. She was stingy with family, but loves to look "good" to everyone else. Don't know why, but it's all about image. That image was a horrible one to live with at home, and few see that side of my mom or dad. Unfortunately, Alzheimer's got the better of dad, and mom is struggling with the consequences of her choices, as well.

When things get out of hand, someone needs to protect their interests and assets. The government shouldn't have to suffer the consequences of a lifetime of someone's poor choices, by covering unsecured debt, foreclosure and bankruptcy. Sad when children and society has to "pay" for the bad decisions of a lifetime of waste and squander. When the addictive patterns of behavior bleed from everyone else, it is truly a problem that needs to be addressed and cared for. When a person's freedoms produce negative consequences for others, and infringe on the finances of responsible people, it makes one wonder what is right and what is fair.

I always wondered how my parents were able to be so "giving" to so many organizations. To find out they mortgaged their home, and accrued credit card debt to cover their compulsive behavior, and have to spend my own personal resources to help them clean up the mess makes me glad I am stopping future misuse of precious resources. Can the world get by without my mom and dad's charity? How about the price they pay to house my parents because they spent every last dime trying to "help" everyone but themselves.

I didn't feel it was my business to interfere, and was silent for 50 years. But now I have to use my own personal time and funds to clean up the debris and chaos left behind. Fortunately, I am able, and willing. Otherwise, someone else would have to do it. I would hate to see it continue, because ultimately, society would have to take over. Guess that's my charitable contribution to my family, and to society.

I call each organization, asking to be removed from their mailing lists. One less envelope they have to send, less return address labels they have to print. (Dad's in a nursing home and can't use them, anyway.) That's less waste in the landfills, and less time I have to sort through useless mail. And if they send unsolicited "gifts," asking for donations, I just consider it a gift, and still ask no further mailings be sent. I've gained about 25 cents that way last year, not to mention all the monies I've saved by not writing checks and using stamps or their postage free envelopes.

And if I've upset anyone from the PC, ART, State Universities; MCC, HHV, the DDAL, FPCA, FPCF, WV, GP, PETA, Amvets, the LG, DV, AA, ADR, The NHES, RSV, VFW, Friends of _______ Museums, CF, CTF, EDF, GA, Inc., USHS, AF, The SA, ALA, NWF, NEA, CB, NIV, CAR, SAR, DCW, HS, BS, GS, GW, (and many more...), so sorry! But my mom and dad have financial needs and obligations they can no longer meet. Would anyone like to contribute to that???

Thank God for Medicare and Medicaid. Thank you to the many legitimate organizations who are a help to others. And thank you to the hard working men and women of this country who contribute through your hard-earned tax money to care for people who can no longer adequately care for themselves.

But solitations of funds from illigitimate organizations who are only looking for profit and personal interests, and take advantage of vulnerable and unsuspecting people, shame on you!!!
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The change of address is good. Rent a PO box in yours and her name and have someone you trust collect the mail and discard all junk mail. If there is no one who can do this for you in her town, rent the PO box in your town and have her address changed to that. But first get the POA.
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emmakay,
You may have to edit her mail. I did for the same reason; too many begging for money. I even edit my husband's mail! Sounds as if you have made some right moves. Good luck.
Linda
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I already have POA and living will etc. I weed out things when I am there, but I live 550 miles away. We (the 4 kids) did get her, somewhat against her will, into a wonderful Independent living place in the town she has lived for 60 years. It was amazing how the solicitations got her change of address before some of the other places. I have all her bills on auto pay. She is still able to manage her own money and I have not had to take that away yet. She is finally, after almost a year, adjusting to and somewhat enjoying the new apartment, but likes to be on the go all the time. A two room apartment is a big change from a 4 bedroom house with a huge yard that was her pride and joy.
I will check with the post office to see what they can offer, short of cutting off all her mail.
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Yes you can place a change of address form at the postoffice. This will olny last for six months if you ae not the power of attorney. If you are you can get it to stop, check moms wallets and any place aper work may be even rolled up socks making sure she does not have any credit cards she can use, they can be cancel with a power of attorney. Also if you do not have a power of attorney you must get one, so you can be charge of her bank account, the bestt thing is having you has her personal rep on her social security banking accounts you will also need a note from her doctor in some states that she unable to handle her finances. I went through this with mail order of clothes, my mom had over 500 dress and blouses hanging in her basement in new york with the price tags on them, plus many more things. Check her mail and cancel ever catolog that comes in the mail and also check her paper work you may find bills or checks that have not been cashed. the best of luck i went through the same thing. mom sent checks to everything. She moved to Florida and had to go into a assisitng living but was with us for a short time, and you know who gets the mail juck mail now. I call when ever I get a credit card in her name or a organziation to give money. remember they forget, but sometmes you are the one left with the mess. I did do someting else I called all three credit company and got credit reports to make sure no money was owed and looked on unclaimed money on the internet. good luck, My mom now only has a few days left. I did give the best care I could, yes i got upset but forgot, we sometime sat down and looked at old pictures or listen to music. patrica61
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How can I get on your mom's list?
Seriously, this problem causes a lot of collateral damage to responsible organizations like the Salvation Army and to legitimate businesses that serve seniors. My first question to you would be Do you have POA for your mother? If not, that will become increasingly important as her dementia progresses. You will have no control over credit cards, bank statements, health insurance matters, billing errors etc. An estate attorney can be helpful but choose carefully. And do so while your mom can still comprehend the need and sign the paper work. It will be costly and more difficult if she is not able to consent to the POA. You should also have her complete a Living Will that states her preferences for "end of life" medical treatment. This varies from state to state but is an inexpensive way to prevent the Health Care Industry from bankrupting her estate by legally forcing her doctors to perform expensive treatment procedures that she may not have wanted if she were able to speak for herself. Without these two instruments, if your mom is determined to be incompetent, you will be pushed aside and all decisions will be made in the interest of those who have a financial interest in your mom's health and well being.
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You can have junk mail stopped. Call the post office and see what the steps are.
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Thank you. I know I am not alone. At least I got her on the do not call list, and somehow she hasn't gotten in the Publisher's Clearing house. Auto pay bills has given us some peace of mind, but like you said, dementia is a progressive disease and the challenges keep changing.
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