Follow
Share

My elderly friend lives in an assisted living facility; she has no children or immediate family to assist her with managing her finances. Just recently her hardline phone service was turned off for none payment. She has dementia and has no clue when she last paid her phone bill. The facility only offers her room and board, meals, activities, and manages her medication. My friend apparently manages her own finances and has gotten to a point she has lost control in managing paying on her obligated monthly debt. What steps can I take to assist her with out completely taking over and still allowing her a sense of independence?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Cheribob, have you ever heard of fraudulent misrepresentation? You might want to do a bit of research on that before you recommend contacting an entity and represent yourself to be someone's relative.

I think Mallory has a valid point about conducting financial transactions online, especially if you don't have legal authority. If you read the entire terms and conditions of the bank website, you'll probably find something to that effect.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I would be very careful, online, if paying someone else's bills using their checking account numbers. ...I am.pretty sure there are some type of Internet laws which, if you were discovered to have set things up without proper "permissions" you might be committing some type of crime. I know that for my mom's needs she would ask me to do find something on Amazon...I would print out 3 prices for the item, bring it to her ( she didn't have wifi, and I didn't have tethering ). She would tell me which one she wanted and give me her Cc info. I would order for her and return the order receipt directly to her. It was all transparent and I never kept her Cc info. I don't think it is legal to conduct internet transactions, with someone else's accounts, without their written permission, is all I'm trying to say. Can't be too careful.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I currently have DPOA for my father. I pay all his bills on-line. No need to contact utility company or have DPOA. The only thing you need is a checking account routing number & account number (and the account numbers for what needs to be paid).

Also if you DO call someone on her behalf you can pretend to be her or her daughter. I once helped an elderly neighbor with a home repair by calling her insurance company & pretending to be her grand-daughter.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

She must have given any POA document copies to the ALF. check with them. If no POA was ever filled out, you could petition for guardianship (costs some good money).
In the meantime, you could get everything on auto-pay, if you have her checking account information, but, as someone else already questioned---what in the world does she need to be paying bills??? there is nothing to pay, when you're in ALF, unless she does a lot of online shopping.....but with dementia I cannot believe that is the case.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Oh where's the edit button.....
"There's a spreadsheet with the companies in Column headings JAN-DEC and Row labels with the company name. the Check No/date paid goes into that corresponding cell"
Should read
There's a spreadsheet with the Column headings as JAN-DEC and Row labels with the company name [i.e. XXX Gas Co]. the Check No/date paid goes into that corresponding cell for that month.
Sorry....
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

These privacy laws have gone way too far. Mom and i live together/same address for 20+ yrs, but if i call the utility company on her behalf to get the balance due, i'm refused. So with a previous bill in front of me [conveniently, the phone number and account number are right there, i call -- but am refused information. [We didn't get the bill on time, were planning to be out of town and another, the bill was delivered in a rainstorm, soaked and unreadable.] i was told that Mom needed to add me to the account so i could speak on her behalf. [Perhaps that's their way of making me financially responsible for the bill?] So i just punched the phone key for 'automated assistance" and the robotic voice gave me the information i needed. i just promptly wrote the check and mailed in the payment. i'm learning all too fast [or slowly] that sometimes, dementia causes that sense of time and/or taste to dissipate all to soon.

At first, since Mom's eyesight isn't good [cornea transplants], i'd write out the checks and she'd sign them. Over a few months, i'd realized she was regularly failing to tell me a bill came in [i didn't monitor her mail - she looked forward to it arriving each day]. i found it stacked up next to her recliner atop her pile of un-finished crochet project. i called and managed to get the late fees waived [they demanded to talk to my Mom -- and i had to write down [ALL CAPS] what she needed to say so she could read it back to them.

i did what GardenArtist suggested - but i kept the date consistent with the anticipated date of arrival, advancing it only 2 days. So, it would read [blank month] 14th GAS BILL. i kept the master blank in a binder, and a specific calendar in the same binder, and in the back is a list of the company name, address, phone number, account number and the DUE DATE. There's a spreadsheet with the companies in Column headings JAN-DEC and Row labels with the company name. the Check No/date paid goes into that corresponding cell.

But MaggieMarshall is on spot - but the facility may require the approval of a family member or person with the POA, or they will stop you from getting involved. Perhaps the social work on site would have a suggestion.

Sunnygirl1 - you're on spot, too: Mom's dementia has taken a fast train ride [or is it a combination of the meds that i still don't agree with, mingled in with other occurences] .. a longer term arrangement needs to be set up WHILE Notthemama's friend CAN sign a document. As things are now ... Mom's awareness or cognitive status is MIA. And it's breaking my heart.

Notthemama ~ you may not be the mama, but you friend is very blessed to have you in her life. Sadly, when illness hits, even family runs the opposite way: the angels have blessed you both. i hope our suggestions help. Blessings ~
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Her need right now might be small, just for a bill here or there, but as she progresses with dementia, the need could become more greater. Do you want to get involved in something like that? I would seriously consider the time and commitment. (Also, with most utilities, the account holder can give the name of a person that they AUTHORIZE the company to speak with about the account. It's just piece of paper they sign. Most don't have to be notarized. It pops up on the account when you call and you can get info, pay bills and/or change features.)

If you think she needs more global help or will down the road, then I would explore to see if she has appointed someone else as POA first. Maybe they need to be notified so they can step up. And if she hasn't appointed anyone, is she still competent to do it now? If you aren't related, it might raise eyebrows if you step in and ask to be appointed as others state upthread. I would be very careful about it. Perhaps speak with the facility to see how they handle such matters or see if your friend has an attorney. If so, she can tell the attorney that she wants to appoint you as her POA. If it comes from her and the attorney is assured she's doing it freely, under no undue constraint and of her own volition, it might work out.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

At what stage is her dementia? Is she competent to grant you or someone POA? Like Maggie said. Tread carefully. Don't get blind sided by some family member who shows up out of the blue looking for a pay day.

Another thought.......If she is in AL how many bills could she have? Are there outstanding loans or credit card debt? Is this issue going to be short term?
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I would talk to the director of the assisted living facility. I suggest anything you do be with their knowledge. Perception often has the appearance of reality. Inserting yourself into this woman's finances is asking for raised eyebrows, in my opinion. I would be very leary of appearances.

If you do get involved, your actions must be COMPLETELY transparent. No checks made payable to Cash...all bill copies meticulously saved and clearly marked with date and check number paid.

This is the sad state of affairs we leave ourselves in when we don't have healthcare and financial powers of attorney in place for ourselves.

I just had a thought. Maybe she DOES have these things in place, and they just need to be triggered. Again, talk to the Director of the ALF. They may well have copies of such.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

You can visit daily for awhile, enough to see when her bills come in. When she opens her mail, begin creating a list/log of the bills, approximate receipt date, due date, amount and phone contact information.

Then calendar them in your own files and call to remind her to pay them a week or so after receipt, asking her to either give you the check numbers, amounts and dates or confirmation numbers if she pays by phone. Keep reminding her, gently, until you get information that she's paid them.

I also created a special place next to the favorite chair just for important incoming mail such as bills.

She still retains control, but you provide the prompting to make sure she pays. You could also ask if she would like you to help in other ways, but be aware that doing so w/o being named in a DPOA could put you at risk if there are family members who aren't participating and are concerned about her finances.

I've also made conference calls to utilities and others with my parent on the other line to confirm that it's acceptable for them to deal with me, so I can call to confirm payments have been made, as sometimes the elderly person doesn't remember paying or not paying.

This would also give you the opportunity to investigate automatic deduction of the bills, which would save your friend the worry about paying them on a monthly basis. However, it does take a sense of control out of her hands.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.