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My dad passed away two years ago, and left me with an increased responsibility for my mom (69). Up until the day he died, my dad did everything for my mom, and she was very dependent upon him. She suffers from short term memory loss, heart issues, and is currently on about 20 medications. AND she is a compulsive hoarder whose condition has increased rapidly since the death of my father.


I live about two and half hours away, and my sister lives about 4 hours away. In the past year, we have become increasingly concerned about the safety in her home due to a LARGE amount of clutter from hoarding and now even some pet hoarding. Her compulsive spending has increased and her life insurance proceeds are quickly diminishing as she spends great quantities of money each month on more "stuff".


My sister and I feel that it is time to step in, and even perhaps move her to a safer uncluttered location (my sister has offered my mom a place to live with her.). My mom refuses to leave her home and all of her "stuff" that she is so tied to due to her compulsive hoarding.


We do not have power of attorney or any other legal documents. What if any are our first steps to move my mom into a safe clean environment? Is there any legal steps that would need to be taken to limit my mom's spending to what is reasonably necessary to prevent her from spending everything she has through her compulsive spending ? In the past two months, she has spent about $25,000 on stuff and at the rate she is going, she will run out of money in two years.


Help...with the compulsive hoarding and unsafe (and unclean ) living conditions, the increased dementia, and an extremely strong will, she is becoming very difficult to reason with. Any steps that could be recommended would be greatly appreciated.

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needhelp, I know a good bit about hoarding. From what you wrote, your mother sounds like a compulsive shopper who is completely disorganized. Though they seem crazy, hoarders are not necessarily incompetent. They just can't organize or plan. They love to shop and they can't stand to let anything go. It is a mental disorder that is difficult to treat, but it can be treated. Unfortunately, many times someone will have to be looking at great loss before they will be willing to get help. The help is fairly standard -- let a professional organizing company go in to work with her to recycle, sell, or trash the nonessentials that are in her house, then have her go through therapy.

I get the feeling she is taking way too many medications. Someone needs to do a serious review of them and get rid of the ones she doesn't need. I doubt that anyone needs to be on 20 medications! My mother is on seven and it seems a lot to me. I don't know if I could even manage 20. I wonder if so many is doing more harm than good.
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My beau's ex mother-in-law was a lot like your mum. Because she was so stubborn, nothing would work, until the Fire Dept designated her home a hazard and it would be demolished. Because of their designation, she couldn't go back into the home and she was sent to live with one of the daughters. I don't know if they were able to get any POA or get their names on her bank accounts to try to control the situation. Both highly recommended as the others have, but hard to do with someone who is so stubborn. The other thing is getting a doctor to diagnose her as disabled. That's to start the guardianship process. If you know her doctor, or find a geriatric doctor and tell him your story and see if he can diagnose her as disabled. You then have to go to court to obtain guardianship. Best of luck to you.
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Depending on how advanced her dementia is it's wise to get POA right away. If she can go out and shop I'm thinking that she can sign a POA. Along with the POA someone needs to be listed on her bank account (this is usually an adult child). Someone needs access to her finances so you can see where she's at financially. Once someone is on the bank account that person needs to keep a tight reign on the finances. This may be attained by setting up a whole new account for mom's money that she doesn't have access to and leaving her a little bit in an account for her to spend on what she wants.

Unless she's open to therapy your mom's hoarding will continue. The best you can try to do now is damage control. Or, as pamzimmrrt suggested, go for guardianship. She has to be protected from herself.

And if mom decides she wants to go live with your sister the hoarding will continue and become a huge issue in that household. Changing locations doesn't stop hoarding. Your mom will bring the hoarding and the anxiety with her. And your mom may be unable to pack in order to move as she won't be able to get rid of anything. She'll insist on moving the hoard and put her foot down.

These are a lot of issues that need to be taken care of. I would forego them all and obtain guardianship over your mom. Then all of this stuff I mentioned will be under the umbrella of the guardianship.
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Sounds like she would not agree to POA? I know how difficult long distance care is,, but I was lucky I had POA. you may have to go for Guardianship ( as I am sure you already know from other posts on here in other threads) This is NOT going to be easy.. I am so sorry you are going through this.
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