I am the durable/financial/ POA for my mother (72 yo), who lived alone and independently. She had a life-event (CHF) in mid-February this year, and I suspected that something else cognitively was going on as well since December 2020. During her hospitalization, I demanded that the doctors test her. Based on those initial results, they recommended further follow-up with a geriatric Internist.
Post-hospitalization, we followed up and had her more formally tested (MMSE). Her Geriatric Internist suspects other medical conditions may be a factor and does not want to formally diagnose her (with Dementia) until she is under treatment for 4-6 months then assess her again. During her hospitalization recovery, we have hired a 5-day week care-giver to assist her with treatment plans, health and medication checks, social, physical, and mental engagement. My brother and I support these activities on weekend (alternating) so that it is not such a financial crush while she can still somewhat make meals.
I had a chance to peek into her finances, and I am appalled. She has more credit card (CC) debt than she says (flagrant spender personality); There are clearly fraud charges on her account that she has not caught or realized they are hers. She easily thinks money has not been received, which I have shown her was deposited into her bank account. I believe she is spending more money than what is coming in. I have shown her the CC statements and asked her which ones are actually her purchases/charges so that we can submit fraud. We have even received notices from a few of the CC companies that they suspect fraud on her account, but she has not actioned on them (loss of executive function?).
She has never been one to be fiscally responsible. I would like to set her up on a sort of monthly budget to address the debt, and so that she is aware of where her money is going and what is coming in. She has resisted my attempts so far, and I have even suggest if she is not comfortable with me doing that she hires someone. I want to make sure she has the funds to support her for the long-term, as I am concerned that we will get that formal diagnosis of dementia and need MC/ALH. I think she believes I am trying to take over. I have read a few posts about others with family members with dementia and this disease appears to be a long one (12+ years), and we are fairly early in her situation.
Am I fretting about financials too early? What lessons have you learned during your caregiving time that you wished you knew sooner or would tell your younger self?