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My father has always been very stubborn and never wants to ask for help. Unfortunately now he has dementia but still feels very capable. We are signing power of attorney papers this week. I believe he is paying his bills. Whether they are on time I’m not sure. He won’t let me look at them. I’ve noticed when we go out to eat he’s no longer able to calculate tip. So I’m worried he may not know how much to pay on credit cards before interest kicks in. He’s just had some dental work on care credit and I’m worried he won’t be able to calculate payments without my help. Any suggestions?

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I slowly started having my Mother's bills changed to automatic payment and paperless billing. I had the emails start coming to my email address so I could keep track of everything. Finally we were down to a few bills and I could see she was still having trouble keeping those straight. So one day when she was feeling really overwhelmed by the bills I just asked her if she would like me to start taking care of them and she seemed so happy to not have to do it anymore. I still printed out her monthly bank statements and went over them with her if she felt like it. That worked for quite awhile but her dementia worsened and she started accusing me of stealing money. I would show her the statements again that would sometimes calm her down. Then there were times she would forget about accusing me so I just let it go.
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Reply to mikejrexec
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YOU should set up as much as possible with auto pay as you can. Having trouble with number calculations may be a first step that something is amiss with him. Do you have financial POA? If not, you should obtain it through an elder law attorney. You could pull up the document yourself for POA, but if there are any glitches you'd want to have an attorney.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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When I was made power of attorney for two friends of mine who had no children or close relatives, the first thing I did was go to their bank with them. The bank had done the notary stamp on the power of attorney forms, but had not met me yet. They were so glad someone was taking care of their finances as the bank knew my friends could no longer keep things straight. At first, all I did was monitor their spending, looking at their statements online. As their conditions worsened and the wife needed 24 hour care, I got them to move to a memory care apartment and then took their checkbooks and control over everything. It took a while to get all their investment accounts figured out and my name added as a POA, not owner. It took another 2 1/2 years to go through all their stuff in their condo and get it sold. That check went right to their bank account to help pay for their care. I get all their mail sent to me and weed out the pleas for money and junk mail. Each step took some time to set up, but has worked well. The wife died after 5 1/2 months in their memory care apartment and the husband, now 93, continues to live there for more than 4 years now. He is happy and well looked after. It's expensive but he has been able to afford this so far. When I get down to his last $125,000, I will apply for his veteran benefits and they should be kicking in about the time I run out of his money. He was active during the Korean War, so qualifies for whatever those good benefits are supposed to amount to. The AL/MC facility assured me that after 18 months of regular payments, they would accept what ever public financing money is available so he would never have to leave. We are well passed the 18 months, so I anticipate no difficulties on that issue. I still have to learn what medicare will look like for medical treatments once he runs out of health insurance money, so there are some more areas for me to learn about. Luckily, he remains physically healthy, so my involvement with his needs has been easy--just pay the bills. I make sure any incoming money goes directly to his bank account and any outgoing money is by check in response to a bill. It should be fairly easy to show where all his money has gone to anyone that needs to know.

I like the idea of a simplified summary. I haven't told my friend all that I have done to get rid of everything in a good way and he doesn't understand how much his care is costing him. I never talk about it, just take care of things. He would not remember what I tell him and it was easier for me to just make the decisions and get things taken care of without asking or explaining.

Good luck on this journey of care. It is important for you to do this and I hope things go well and easily for you, too!
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mikejrexec Dec 17, 2019
You are such a good person.
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Get a lawyer and letter from Dr and take guardianship.....this happens ALL the time. Dr Jack Grenan
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Before my mom got really bad she mentioned that she should put my name on her checking accounts. I finally said, a few years later, mom we need to get this done. THANK GOODNESS we did. Saved me from being in probate since she passed in Oct. You might say, Dad, maybe you should add me to your checking account, You know if you fell and broke a leg and ended up in the hosp and rehab for a couple months you need someone to take care or things while you are focused on therapies. Maybe you would get him in a good agreeable moment. Let's pray so. Another reason was my mom was scammed about of $11K. This gave me internet access to her banking and I could watch for any unfamiliar activity, which I did. She had given her checking acct number thinking she was getting magazines. It was just publisher's clearing... ya, they were clearing her checking acct. This was a 2nd scam. Do what it takes, but get you name on that checking acct and keep watch. Now that my mom has passed, it made it easier for me to continue to pay her bills and not be tied up in court and probate. The banks just set it up as me as co owner. If you have siblings let them know what you are doing. I just always gave mine a run down of balances and /or statements every couple months. Peace of mind.
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Reply to motherofdreams
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My Papa has Parkinson’s and is 92 years old. It got to the point where it took him over an hour to write a check, etc. to pay one bill! I asked if he would like me to start doing it instead and that was that. We did nothing formal. I write the checks and sign his name. I’ve been doing it this way for over three years without anyone questioning it.
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Reply to BeckyT
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Ask him to set up online payments and automatic payments to make it easier to "streamline" the financial responsibilities (especially since you are getting POAs done). You can then check up on payments online. If you noticed that he forgot a payment, you can remind him and ask him to "check" online with you. Just tell him you worry and it would help you sleep better after you have checked together.
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Reply to Taarna
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Tough one. In our case I was kind of lucky being under the same roof. Mom always handled the bills. They also regularly went out to lunch on Saturdays when I would have (and still often do) my "golden hour" when I can get things done if I move quickly. So I ultimately smuggled gobs and gobs of papers, the check books, all of it into the safe space of my locked bedroom to sort and organize and get rid of as appropriate. Created files, got a file box...hours and hours of work...all with Dad's blessings, and I took over the bill-paying. And while doing that, you know that little box to check with the change of address? Guess what, the address changed...to a long-established PO Box I had. with dementia they will ultimately forget especially what isn't seen. Of course you also will need to hit the bank once you are POA so that you can write checks and sign on his account. If I remember correctly about Care Credit, there is no interest, but you better make sure the payments are made on time...I might even give Care Credit a call to let them know Dad has dementia and you're in process of doing what you can. It was very hard for me, feeling like I was invading mom's privacy, but it was essential...if you have others who can help...as awful as this sounds and depending on your dad's memory...he may not notice things missing...so I'd try to have someone take dad out to lunch, shopping anything...and get in there with a bag and load it up and take the stuff home to go through. It took me several times even in the same household In the end I wound up with 15 pounds to be shredded at Staples...I think they sense something is not quite right and hold on to everything...
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Pasa18 Dec 15, 2019
I can relate to the "golden hour". Sounds like the process I went through exactly.

All the bills are on auto pay now and I can review online. I applied for all the senior discounts for all the fixed expenses if it wasn't already done. I was going to shred all the paper I collected to until I found some important docs. Just so I wouldn't miss anything I ended up getting a shredder and spent time shredding, The papers seemed endless in each closet, under the bed, drawers, etc.
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Definitely get the POA, but do not put your name on his checking or saving accounts or any of his credit card accounts. This may affect his Medicaid at some point. You can take the POA to bank so they have a copy of it and when you sign checks for him you just sign your name then put POA after your signature.  You can monitor his accounts online and pay any credit cards online.  You can set up his credit card that you are to be notified if a certain dollar amount is spent anywhere from $5 and up online and/or text message.  If he has several credit cards gradually start taking them away and closing them until he is only down to one card. This would be easier for you to control and keep track of. Also, you need to have an address change done for each account, banking, credit cards, utilities, mortgage, etc.,  and anything he has that is of importance sent either to you or to an PO Box and you will have to send a copy of POA along with an address change request.  You can also set up that his utilities and mortgage automatically be paid from his account, you may have to submit a copy of POA too.  If you know where your dad is putting his bills have someone distract him or take him for lunch or some way to get him out of the house so you can get to those bills so you can get the account numbers so you can submit the address's change; send POA too.  Maybe set up a basket for him to put mail into and tell him this will make better access for him so they are all in one place.  This way you could go through it he is in another room or outside.   When my brother would stay with my mother and mail came my brother would go out and hurriedly go through mail just to make sure nothing of importance that we didn't know about. After a short while all she got was junk mail.  Just do not add your name or anyone else's name to any of his accounts, otherwise you are equally responsible for that debit and if he has to apply for Medicaid you could affect that too.   We had to do this for my mother after my father passed and she had be diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
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motherofdreams Dec 15, 2019
I had my name on mom's checking a co owner and he never had issues with going to nursing care. Kept me out of probate since she passed, and yes I had POA but there are 2, one for medical and one for finances. Has made paying final bills easy, and closing her accounts.
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No if's, and's or but's - get a POA at once even if he objects. Remove the source of his credit cards by closing them or having his name taken off. You will need an attorney. As to your father, you must get very tough, preferably in private vs. in a restaurant. Tell him in no uncertain terms YOU are going to handle the bills and you will keep him fully informed but YOU are now in charge. And do it. If he refuses, scare him that he will be placed and he will have NO control at all. So he either listens to you or he has to leave. Be prepared to do what you have to do. You cannot allow people with dementia to control you or harm you. You do not deserve it.
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Reply to Riley2166
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Once the POA has been initiated - someone will get first hand on-the-job training of tough love. That person will need copies of the documentation to share with every entity your Dad has/is doing business with. Have no doubts - it is a job, it will suddenly evaporate 4 - 5 hours of your time. It is the last gift you can give to him. The companies (or entities) do have these conversations every day with POA's. Never hesitate to contact a president of a company to get them to do the right thing. Dad's opinions are not likely to change but he is no longer totally in the "real world". POA stops the moment he passes so, get all the ducks in a row while you have the power to do so. It might feel like you are being mean. You are not.
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disgustedtoo Dec 18, 2019
"That person will need copies of the documentation to share with every entity your Dad has/is doing business with."
Not necessarily - while I did need the POA for some, most "billers", such as utilities, newspaper, phone, etc, didn't care. Most of them I called and provided the account name/number and requested a billing address change. They don't care where the bill goes, they only care about getting paid. I did NOT add my name to any accounts (two of us were already on mom's credit union account.) The town water dept even ASKED me if I wanted the bill mailed to me without me asking first (called to check on the balance due, as the bill was MIA.)

If OP can snag the bills, even older ones, just to have the contact information, then a simple call to most with a request to change the billing address should work. As with others who have dementia, if it doesn't show up in the mail, they will likely not remember that they should be getting it! Best first step is the POA paperwork. Second step should be the bank(s) he uses. From there it would be billers and CC. With CC, if you choose to let him keep it for now, check the available limit and have them reduce it considerably! Mom's was good credit, good payments, so her limit was some ridiculous double digit amount - ripe for abuse if card is lost, stolen or he gets talked into giving the number/date/CCV out! Next would be to consider taking over SS as rep payee and same for any other income he has (this was the only way I could get access/have documents sent to me.)

The only entities who required the POA were the credit union, the bank, and mom's credit card. That last one was the biggest PITA! They gave limited access and denied any online access. At some point I froze the account and then closed it.

It might not be the same everywhere, but not one biller (other than CU, bank and CC) ever asked me who what when where or why. I also avoid autopay - there are too many of my own accounts and mom's to juggle all that - I find have paper statements easier. Then there's always a chance of an oops on their side, resulting in taking too much! It is easier for me to have the paper trail handy if I ever need it! I DO use the billpay system, but it only requires set up once and then just schedule date and amount of payments. Push rather than allowing them to pull.
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I have not yet read through the other replies but here is my take. Not calculating a tip is the least of your worries. Dementia does not get better. His memory and ability will diminish. I was in the same situation several years ago. I did not want to take this element of independence from my mother. However, the actual realization hit me in the face when I reviewed her checkbook. She was giving money to whomever would ask for it. $25 here and $50 there. Long story but ultimately thousands of dollars. Expedite getting the POA done as soon as possible. Arrange to be added to his bank accounts. Take over bill pay. Have bills sent to your attention. Take away his credit cards. This may seem like a hassle but ultimately he will not be able to distinguish between a real bill and a request for a handout. Once the checkbook is gone he will be asked for his credit card numbers by unscrupulous solicitors. I recommend a cash allowance for him until he no longer needs it. I do not know your exact circumstances but I want you to be aware what is in your future.
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Reply to WVson1
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We went through this with mom. Get POA and setup his cc online so you can monitor his account. Also set a spending limit and put a credit freeze on his accounts in case scammers get hold of his contact information. My mom is on every list :( Get yourself on his bank accounts so you can review his checking account and also set up online bill pay when you finally take over.
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We struggled with this for a long time. My POA was only honored by one of dad's 3 banks. He would not give up control. We finally set the rule that myself or one of his caregivers would write the checks but he could continue to sign them. Now he is in AL and the mail comes to me (I am his guardian). He still owns his house so I take all of the household bills to him every week and I write the checks from his personal checking account and then he signs them. I keep a separate account for the conservatorship for the AL bills, taxes, etc. I would suggest sneaking the account numbers from his house and setting up online logins for what you can. (I have done this before to monitor).
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anilyn Dec 15, 2019
Really, selling his house while he is still alive will save you a ton of grief down the road. Once my dad's bank got the shot of money from the sale of his house, the return of his investments did much better (his "money making machine" worked better with a higher balance.
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It’s pretty much a given if he has dementia he can’t keep track of his bills. That’s one of the first to go along with medication dispensing. My mother had thousands of dollars in credit on department store charge cards because every time they sent a statement with the credit, she’d send them a payment to “ cover” it 🙄. Monitor his bank account and bills online if you can . A financial POA will help IF it’s set up to start immediately.
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igloo572 Dec 15, 2019
OMG 😱 I just love this.... every month she builds up her credit balance, even tho statements probably read Credit Balance No Payment Necessary. Lol. I bet your mom has always been quite the precise person for “bookkeeping” and ran a wellordered household. It’s so especially sad for those that are like this (my late mom was but on the flip side my DMIL was beyond a financial terrorist) when dementia sets in as they seem to intuitively know they things are going amiss and it scares the crap out of them & they become way way fearful atop the usual dementia paranoia.

on the plus side, usually once the $ hits a certain tipping point, the creditor should send her a check to zero out the account.
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Is there a way you can view accounts on line?
That will show if there is a balance
And if possible sign up for paperless billing so you will get the bills.
But ..how long will you need this? Is he going to remain in his home? At some point, and it sounds like soon you will have to manage all of the finances for him not just bills but taxes as well.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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You pretty much say to him what you have stated here. You remind him that you are available to assist him whenever and however he needs it.

When my mother passed, my father asked me to help him with the bills. I told him it would take me 3 months to get everything balanced (no, I have no idea why I said 3 months - I later learned that it really does take 3 months when you go in blind). When he said that I wasn't doing it the way my mother did, I told him nicely that I could only do it the way I knew how. I got his funds balanced and paid his bills for him. I took him shopping and showed him how to put out his pills on a weekly basis. He was on so many medications that the pills were split to morning, noon and night. I got out a pad and his medications and made a chart he could follow for which pills to take at what time of the day. Really it was a list and the pills separated by Morning, Noon and Night.

Just keep offering. Not demanding. Offering to assist. Never strip your father of his independence. Put yourself in his place - we were all children being told what to do when growing up - none of us liked it. So try to be patient and offer to help instead of telling him what to do.

I prayed for patience and guidance every single night and it helped me.
Good Luck and Bless You.
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Reply to RayLinStephens
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I was lucky, my dad knew he was having issues with finances. He already had a POA in place so that’s step No.1. Go with him to the bank and take the POA with you and get your name on his account and your name on his checks with signing privileges. Also have his credit card company issue a CC in your name on his account. If he has an IRA or CDs go to the bank where it is held and get your name on it too. If he has stocks, you’ll need to contact them too. I had to do this with my dad in the room so he could give them verbal permission as well as fax the POA to them. You also should have the address changed on all the above so that everything is mailed to you. Even dad's magazine and newspaper accounts were put under my email so I could renew them online.
it also wouldn’t hurt to review his will while he can still qualify to make decisions. And also if he has life insurance, check beneficiaries, same goes for beneficiaries on any asset holdings.
once POA is in place, you can talk to dad about how you’d like to make his life easier by setting up things so bills are paid automatically and you can take care of transfers or bill paying so he can just relax. If he wants you can show him a monthly accounting of his money incoming and outgoing.
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Reply to Harpcat
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Do You are only dealing with the beginning. It may become much worse than that especially when he begins to refuse to go to the doctor. He may develop anger issues and decide to revoke the POA. My mom and I took dad to a neurologist but we had to tell him it was for mom. In your instance, you can tell him you are needing to see a neurologist and ask him to go for emotional support. You can set it up ahead of time and clue in the doctor with your dad's stubborn issue. They deal with this quite often and dementia/Alzheimer's makes it 10 times worse. They can ask him questions "to better understand your family history".

My father hated to go to the doctor and would refuse. Playing the little "trick" was the beginning of getting him treatment. That was in 2011. My mom passed in 2013 and she was easy in comparison because her body fail but her mind was still clear. I have been my dad's caregiver for 5 1/2 years and he was placed in hospice today. I will see him through to the end. My advice is to get him to an neurologist so you have a doctor on your side. If he sees a general physician they can refer him "or you" to a good neurologist.
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Reply to BlancheD
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Don’t forget to talk to his bank. Some banks don’t accept any POA except their own. We’ve had posters who had problems with their parents banks when parents were incapacitated.

Ask about POD, etc.
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Reply to 97yroldmom
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I suggest that Dad contact all the creditors he pays each month and ask that ur name be put on the acct as a person to contact if payment is not made or not made in the full amt. Should also allow you to talk to them.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Agree also that you should wait to broach this topic until he has signed all legal documents. Auto Bill Pay, ACH pay, PayPal... I would have all critical bills paid automatically. After you get durable PoA call up those vendors and have billing address changed to your house. Don't tell him you're doing this. Seniors like to get mail, so don't divert all his mail, just critical paperwork or sign up for paperless billing, etc. Get him a magazine or special newspaper subscription so he has something to look forward to. My 100-yr old aunt gets (and reads!) the Wall Street Journal.

Also FYI having durable PoA will still not allow doctors and hospitals to release or discuss your father's medical info with you...he must sign a Medical Information Release form at every doctor he sees (and names you on it as his representative). This is very important that you do this. HIPAA rules make no exceptions for close family members.
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JoAnn29 Dec 13, 2019
If the person is found incompetent thats when most POAs become in effect. At that point, Drs can give you LOs medical info if u have Medical POA. You are now the person who has to carry out the principles wishes concerning their care. Same with Financial, you r now responsible to see that bills are being paid. Yes, if father is still competent he then has to sign something to allow someone to see his records.

I have an "immediate" POA for my nephew meaning it was in effect when hecsigned it. So I can handle his money and talk to Drs.
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For us - we found that trying to help with her pills or her bills is a minefield and can cause explosive blowups by MIL.  Certainly it relates to losing control -- but boy!  It can get ugly.  So, tread softly and try to get his cooperation.  But my advice is, if there are sneaky things you can pull behind the scenes, do that too.  Bottom line is, you want the bills paid - and his stubbornness (much like my MIL) is going to have to be managed in some way, to get this accomplished.  You can try to include him, but if it doesn't work, trickery on some level may need to come to play.

We have changed many of MIL's bills to auto pay as suggested by others. She was still "with it" enough to understand and approve that move -- although sometimes she grouses about it these days. She can see them on the bank statement (on the rare occasion she looks at those).

All medical bills go to SIL's home address -- she has POA. SIL will bring those over and show MIL, and give her the opportunity to pay them by check. If MIL balks or doesn't believe she owes it -- SIL goes home and writes a check from MIL's account and pops it in the mail. MIL gets cranky about her daughter "Taking over" -- but it had to be done, MIL had let a $12 bill go to collections, and taken over 7 months to pay the $400 she owed to the nursing home for her rehab stint (She had the money, just didn't think she needed to pay it).

The tricky part for us, is the odd bills that still come to the house - property taxes, a plumbing repair, etc. I try to monitor the mail piling up on her coffee table and dig through it for bills. If I can get her to pay it, I will. If she refuses, I'll sneak off with the bill and get it to SIL - let her know that her mom doesn't believe she owes it and won't pay it. Then SIL can try again, and if it fails she just writes the check and mails it.

So I guess, we try to let MIL handle some of it, when she is willing, but we have a big safety net in place to catch things before they go to collection agencies (it's happened!) or she loses her house over not paying a $5 property tax bill!
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Reply to calicokat
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Judy79 Dec 13, 2019
Good idea of having durable poa. That is what my brothers have. I am now her medical representative.
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When you get POA can you sign him up for automatic bill pay? Just about everyone offers it now. Tell him “who wants to spend time paying bills, Dad?” He can always keep track of his accounts on his bank’s website.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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Well I'd get the papers signed first! You wouldn't want to rock the boat by raising this discussion right now.

So: when he struggles with working out the tip, what happens? Does he just go for it, throw in some change, and let it pass? Do you intervene, or does he ask the waiter to see to it?

This is a very delicate situation for you and it does want careful handling. First of all, pick the right battles - just suppose your father does incur one or a few months' interest on his credit card, how much will that cost him in total? Is it enough to be a real worry for him, or just an annoying waste?

Once the papers are in hand, then you can start agreeing with him which tasks he can first of all "explain" to you so that you will know how he likes things done, and then once that goes smoothly - fingers crossed - you can begin to take over certain routines and then eventually all of it.

Work out with him how you will keep him informed, too. This aspect is likely to get seriously repetitive and boring, but you'll want a simplified summary that you can show to him for reassurance.
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