Government respite worker helped Mom cancel credit card while I was out.

Follow
Share

A few details for background -- I left a teaching job to move in with my mother 4.5 years ago and have had to take over all of her care except for respite twice a week. She was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease Dementia about 2 years ago and in recent months has been sliding downhill fast. She has bouts of suspicion and paranoia and becomes fixated on money. Now she is convinced I am "spending all her money". For evidence of this she accuses me of using too much toilet paper ( I have to do her toileting and she is also incontinent). And she thinks I spend too much on groceries ( I tried to make her diet healthier with more fruits and vegetables and whole foods because of the Parkinson's.) She gets the statements each month and can see where the money goes and that we are living well within her means (on a modest government pension), but there is no reasoning with her when she gets like this. She has lost her ability to reason and have good judgement.

She gave me her credit card to pay for groceries, the pharmacy and household things but then started to demand it back. I also have POA which she gave me 7 years ago before the dementia was a factor. I told her I needed the card to pay for groceries, so she called the local police who came to the house to investigate. I called my aunt, her sister, to come and she told him the true situation. Mom can appear normal to strangers but they don't see the 24/7 hallucinations, delusions and paranoia. Anyway he was satisfied and helpfully, not!!!, told Mom she could cancel the credit card if she wanted.

The next day when I was out the respite worker helped Mom to cancel the card. I was grocery shopping at the time which they both knew. I asked the worker to call me if anything happened but she didn't. After getting groceries the card was declined at the checkout. I had to pay for the groceries myself, which I do sometimes anyway, as I can afford. But what are we going to do next week or after that for groceries or necessities? I can't afford to pay for everything on my own. I think the worker showed poor judgement at the very least.

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Find Care & Housing
16

Comments

Show:
Best of luck, ttc, and please let us know how it goes.
(0)
Report

I have contacted our Continuing Care Dept and Mom has yet another assessment with her geriatrician. Not sure if they will provide incapacity letters this time or not, but either way I am gong to move for formal control of her accounts as I have a durable POA. I am tired of all the hassles about this and hope it works out. I am so close to walking out and letting her go into care. Wish me luck and thanks again, everyone, for your help.
(1)
Report

You need to report that worker. I mean tomorrow(Monday morning) with a phone call, than you follow it up with a very well written letter sticking to the facts. You find out who is in charge and you send the letter registered.

I'm serious. She needs to be put in check.

I agree with JessieBelle, let the food get a little low. But you should absolutely not be paying for groceries out of your pocket.
(0)
Report

toughtocare, just curious, back ages ago who handled the money and bills in your mother's life, did she or a husband? If it was a husband, I have noticed that the wife assume food would be on the table and a roof over their head not realizing money was involved, especially if the husband also did the grocery shopping. The reverse can happen, also, the hubby has no clue how much groceries and other household items costs, thus is shocked when he had to start doing the shopping.

My parents gave me one of their credit cards a few years ago to keep on hand in case I needed to run to the pharmacy or grocery store for them, or to order something on line. It made life so much easier than me using my credit card and they repaying me by check or cash. Hope your Mom will reconsider later down the line.

GardenArtist, my Dad thinks Motel 8 is still $8.00 a night :)
(1)
Report

I don't think you should buy the groceries. I think you should say that now you have no money to feed her. When food does not appear, then she will change her mind. This is what I would do if my mother did this. She will not go without her special things but for a day or two before she will figure out how you can buy groceries.

This is not your fault. You are giving so much to her already. Paying for her is going beyond what is reasonable. I wouldn't do it.

Another thing you could do is say that now she will have to go shopping with you so she can pay them directly.
(0)
Report

Sorry, I meant I would love to use online banking. I already do that for my own accounts. Very early in the morning here. :)
(0)
Report

Thanks to everyone who replied. I appreciate it so much.

Pam, we have different rules here in Canada. We don't have to have records examined retroactively because we don't have Medicaid. We are covered by medicare and special seniors programs like a seniors drug plan and Continuing Care, another program that provides home support and respite to elders who can't pay, on a sliding scale based on income. If a person enters assisted living, they take the pension benefits but not other assets, like a house. Not sure about savings, but I don't think so.

We have no joint accounts. I pay household bills with telephone banking from her account, and use the one credit card for everything at stores ( or did). I have my own finances separate. I would love to do telephone banking but Mom is so distrustful and suspicious ( and always has been, just now cannot understand or use good judgement about what she sees) that she would explode if she didn't see the bills. I would dearly love to just handle them and keep her anxiety at bay, but she is still aware enough to try to insist on following every bill even though it causes her so much anxiety. And me-- from the fallout and accusations about every little thing. She has always been very tight and obsessive with money and yes, since she hasn't gone shopping for groceries in years she has no idea how much food costs, but thinks I shouldn't be buying "extras" even though food is one of her few comforts and she enjoys every bite. We also have family allergies to dairy and gluten and substitutes are pretty costly. I try to bake for special occasions but am too tired, with everything else, to do so every day.

Anyway, I have told Mom I will be buying more of the groceries and paying a few of the household bills when I get my pension in a few months, but as I said, she is not often open to reason these days. She was a little calmer yesterday after I showed her her financial statements. Though she couldn't understand them clearly she could see the numbers.For now I am keeping them close so she can see them whenever she likes. Somehow she had got it in her head that she was in imminent peril, dropping several zeroes from her savings and that we would have to sell the house for "spending money". Sigh.

I think this week I will try to talk her into letting me have cash for the groceries and will definitely start a book with records and all the receipts. I will get her to her doctor and see what can be done. Apparently she has asked them to send another credit card but who knows if she will let me have it.
(2)
Report

Something you can do that may be easiest. Apply for another credit card in her name and manage the accounts online. Paperless. Have the money to pay for the bill each month come out of her checking account. You know you are honest, so if you think that will cause trouble, have everything at the bank done online, too. "Paperless" can save a lot of paranoid ideas that can form when people look at numbers they can no longer understand. If the need does arise that she demands seeing something from the bank, then you can tell her, "Oh! I think I can get one of those online."

Yes, this is how I handle my mother's money. She knows there is a charge account, but it is all online. She still sees her bank accounts, but if that ever got to be a problem, I would go paperless. All of her utilities are handled online, either through automatic charge or bank debit. Online services are a wonderful gift to caregivers. They save us so much work.
(3)
Report

Did your mother live through the Depression? If so, she might be harking back to times when money was so tight and they had to scrimp. Those long forgotten memories now resurface in old age and add to the list of things to fear, as fears become disproportionate and hard to combat or rationalize.

My father still thinks that $50 a night for a motel is outrageous when he used to be able to get them for about $8 a night.

I would have suggested opening a separate credit account just for your mother, but with you as the only signatory. However, that wouldn't easily be explained if Medicaid is in the future.

Another option is to get a debit card for her checking account and use that. Still, whatever you do, keep the receipts and document the transactions.

I agree that the respite worker was out of line. My first thought was whether your mother provided access to any other financial documents. It wouldn't hurt to get all those together and keep them in a locked fireproof box.
(3)
Report

OK, from now on keep every penny separate. No joint accounts. No credit cards. If you pursue Guardianship, you have to do that anyway. If she lives with you, get a written cost-sharing agreement drawn up by an attorney. Without that document, Medicaid will consider anything she gives you as a "gift" and invoke a penalty. You protect yourself that way.
(4)
Report

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Related
Questions