Mom is mismanaging her money and getting deeper in debt.

Follow
Share

My 77 year old mom lives in a city 2 hours away. I found out through her IHSS caregiver that she is borrowing from check cashing places and not paying them back, moving from one check cashing place to the next. I've been getting calls from these places for over 6 months because she uses my name as a reference.

In addition, when I visited a couple weeks ago I went through her papers while she was asleep. I found that she has been behind on her rent for 6 months (she lives in a government subsidized senior housing apartment complex) and had a shutoff notice from the utility company because she was behind in payments.. IN addition, her phone was turned off for almost a month because she couldn't pay the bill. Her bank statement shows 5 or 6 returned checks over the past month with accompanying fees.

Meantime she has been buying clothing and jewelery, but sometimes doesn't have enough money for food. She's very low income and can't afford to be mismanaging what money she does have let alone spending extravagantly on "extras".

I've tried talking to her about her money problems but she gets angry and says it's "under control" and that it's none of my business. Meanwhile she calls me,my brother and my aunt asking to borrow money.

She does not have officially diagnosed dementia or alzheimer's but I"ve noticed her short term memory is deteriorating. I'm not sure what to do about this. I see her getting into a debt spiral that is impossible to get out of, not to mention the threat of shut-off utilities and no food. Any experience around this would be appreciated.

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
19

Comments

Show:
JustMeAlone...
Wherever you are, no, no, no, don't give up. Bankruptcy sucks but it is meant to give people second chances. Life is ALL about second chances. Don't let your life be over. If you have to, come to Arkansas and get into OurHouse or one of the programs for people who become homeless and need to start over. Don't harm yourself, despair may seem appropriate now but no, no, no, there will come a day when you have hope again if you hang on and get help. Maybe your family and friends let you down, maybe you just hid your problems form them too well - either they did not care enough to stop you from digging your hole deeper, or they thought you would be OK. But don't let yourself down, don't sell yourself short.
(0)
Report

Make it clear to her you're NOT to be used as a reference. And don't co-sign anything. ... Instead of Park Avenue, the's headed for a park bench or a city shelter; and there isn't much you can do about it. The time will come when she'll have to file for bankruptcy.

Behaviors w/o consequences are apt to be repeated, and she needs to learn from her own mistakes.
(0)
Report

I would doubt mom would be receptive to hearing she may have dementia, but the rest of the sentence could work. Doc probably cant talk with you due to HIPAA, writing a letter could help if they read it...but probably this has escalated to where a guardianship could be justified and is needed, particularly if POAs are not already in force. Sorry it is SO hard!!
(0)
Report

So here's another question: Should I try to tell mom that she might have dementia and that it would be good to have her doctor evaluate her, that there is medication that might help? I've almost given up on going to the doctor with her and the doctor won't return my calls....I've also thought of writing the doc a letter or sending an email but not sure how to proceed.
(0)
Report

THank you Jeanne, I appreciate your wisdom and suggestions. And yes it is mind-boggling and heartbreaking, but reaching out to other people is helping a lot. Someone said the more people I get involved in mom's situation, the better.
(0)
Report

Sad as it is, I think you are right, mizdiana, to let the eviction procedures continue. Especially since APS is going to petition to have someone take care of her finances, don't gum up the works. Let nature take its course.

Let Mom know you and brother are there for her when she is ready to accept your help, and then step back.

Lordy, this is hard, isn't it? When I look at the aging process I have a hard time believing in "intelligent design." :-)
(1)
Report

Someone called adult protective services (not me) this week and because mom can't take care of herself anymore, and since she bounced her rent check for February and hasn't paid March's rent yet, the eviction process has started at the independent living where she lives. APS is also filing to appoint a payee who will be in charge of mom's money, paying her bills & rent, and then giving her what's left over.

When I was up there last week for her 4th visit to the hospital since Christmas, the doctors and I strongly urged her to consider moving to assisted living. She got angry and refused to talk about it, and when I offered to go look at some places for or with her she told me not to get involved and that she would "let me know" when she was ready to think about it. She doesn't want our help or advice. It's sad that things got to this crisis point. My brother and I are considering letting the eviction procedures continue because it may be the only way she will be persuaded to move into assisted living.
(0)
Report

I found that some primary care doctors just fall for the "show-timer's" and don't want to look any deeper, and some mid-levels will miss the most obvious neurological signs, but a decent geriatrician or neurologist will pretty much always assess objectively and follow through given the chance. Some psychiatrists will do a good job as well. If you live in Pgh PA, I can highly recommend the Benedum geriatric center there. Hope this helps. BTW, I was in Kroger's (a grocery store chain here in LIttle Rock) and they were actually selling copies of a magazine called Eldercare. It seemed pretty basic and I just flipped through, but it would seem our journey with our elders is getting to be pretty much a mainstream event these days...
(1)
Report

From my experience, getting the diagnois of dementia or altzimers these days is the hardest part.....doctors just don't want to get involved. Anybody else finding this?
(0)
Report

Thanks NeverKnew. I generally have used the tactic of hands-off, letting her deal with her behavior but I think her mind is deteriorating and she's definitely harming herself by not having sufficient food. Fortunately she has no credit cards so isn't doing further damage that way. I mentioned medial POA when talking to her last night and she seemed receptive, and my brother is going to work on her as well. She'll listen to him more than she listens to me sometimes. Good luck to you.
(1)
Report

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