My father has recently been diagnosed with dementia. My brother and I both live out of state and dad is still living on his own with visiting nurses and aides coming in on a regular basis. His DPOA has been activated and I have been handling his finances for the past 9 months. Now he has it in his mind he can handle things himself. This is the latest thing he is dwelling on and he won't talk with me about anything else. When I try reminding him of the conversation he had with his attorney, that it was best for me to handle everything for him, he gets angry and says we are plotting against him and he was never a part of that conversation. On our phone call yesterday he demanded I send all his things back to him and he is expecting it to happen immediately. What adds to the issue is, dad has shut my brother out of his life and will have nothing to do with him, so I can't get the help from my brother to try talking with dad.
I am planning a trip to go see dad in the next couple of weeks and know this trip will not end up well if I don't do as he wishes.

It’s sad, isn’t it? I guess he is terribly confused.

So sorry. I do not know how to deal with it. I don’t have experience with a parent with dementia.

Others with this issue will help. Stick around.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to NeedHelpWithMom

It’s good that you are going to see him. Try to find out what is happening in his life. This could be a sign that he has been ‘caught’ by one of the very unpleasant women who find an old man (usually one who hasn’t lost interest in sex), and end up inheriting everything. Perhaps don’t refuse to return the paperwork, just give excuses about why it will take some time. Be sympathetic and try to find out why this issue has come up.

If there’s nothing like a serious scammer moving in on him, a good reason to give him for you doing the paperwork is that it’s getting more complicated every year, and the phone scammers are getting so good, that a lot of older people are getting themselves in difficulties.

Does he have cash in his pocket still? Work out a way for that to happen. A lot of older people still think in terms of cash and a wallet, and feel that they have no control of their lives without it. Even if it’s in effect an ‘allowance’, find a way to give him a limited amount of cash to spend. Good luck, Margaret
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Reply to MargaretMcKen

I have been in those shoes, it is a horrible situation. To be honest, there is no real way to deal with the situation except stay off the subject. People with dementia do not always remember conversations and the delusional part of their brain brings out the worst. They can go back to a time maybe when someone in your family took a quarter from the table or jar without permission or they can think of the time that someone, anyone borrowed money and never paid them back and put this in motion that everyone is out to steel their money. My dad had a blue car which was 15 years old at the time and the paint job was peeling off. Well in his mind he felt that his new car was poorly made as the paint was already peeling off. He would go off in rants of shoddy workmanship and no pride in craftmanship, because his mind believed it was a new car. I am going to assume that your Dad was always good with taking care of his finances and now that is no longer part of his life and he wants and believes that he can do it. When my dad was doing the same thing, I decided instead of the continual anxiety of fighting over this to do the following. You of course would remain in charge, but they now feel they have some control. It’s important for older people to retain a sense of dignity and independence, even when they’re no longer handling most of their finances. I gave my dad a prepaid credit card. This way if he did want something he had money to do so. While some people can provide the prepaid card. You would have complete over-site should you elect to do this and of course it will depend on if he is really able to keep the card without misplacing it, or his real cognitive abilities. My dad never used his card as he forgot that he had it. He had a credit card while he was fully aware of his actions, so if your dad did have a credit card, get the prepaid card from the bank with the same logo. Are all the bills and such that he normally was paying now coming to the DPOA? Is your dad living independently in his own home or in a care facility? Is your dad taking medication for dementia? If yes, does anyone know if he is taking it on a regular basis? Do not stress about the trip to see your dad, while it is hard to do, relax and don't let him see you feeling stressed. People with dementia are often feisty and to some point obnoxious. Remember the DPOA must do what is in the best interest of the client (mon, dad, sister, brother) whoever they are managing their finances for. The DPOA must also keep good records of how the money is spent. Keep receipts, and a ledger to back things up. With your dad shutting your brother out of his life, remember that this is a part of the disease talking, and you are treading on eggshells when your brothers name is brought into the picture. I would recommend that you let that part of the situation rest and not aggravate the situation by pushing the subject of your brother on your dad. It is really hard on your brother so be supportive of him and remind him that it is not the healthy part of your dad speaking but his disease. DO NOT under any circumstances give in to your dad, just do what you know is best. Your dad is not really knowing what he is saying and it is not personal. I wish you the best.
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Reply to thingsarecrazy8

The end of the previous post is very valuable:
"Do what you know is best."

Simple but powerful words that I need to heed better myself.

I took over mom's finances cuz it was just too stressful dealing with her stressing about it. She still knows bills come in (electronic now) and that I pay them electronically for her but she still worries and complains, etc. But at least it's taken care of.

I also took over doing her meds. She gets confused, just a bit. And gets angry with the seemingly constant calls from the pharmacy to renew this and that. Again, for me, it's easier to just do it than to listen to her complain and wonder if she's doing it right etc etc.

Good luck with your visit. I wish I had some good advice for how to deal with it. Maybe a little "lie" - The doctor/attorney said I need to take care of the bills for you dad.
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Reply to againx100

Enjoy your trip. Try to get dad to focus on the here and now and enjoy being together. Don't bring up the subject of his finances. But you need to be prepared in case he obsesses about his finances.

Consider trying an new tactic. Dad doesn't see his finances, so he worries about them. Bring copies of old bank statements and show him that all his bills are being paid. Show him how his money is being used. Tell him that "he set this up to streamline his finances long ago" (the streamlining was to let you take care of it, but he doesn't need that detail). Make sure none of the statements have his account numbers or contact information on them. Afterwards when he brings up his finances, "remind" him that you went over those details and that his money is safe.
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Reply to Taarna

Let go of the idea you can explain anything to him. You need to humor him and distract him. In a way he is right--you are taking over his money and his life, and you are plotting against him. He's aware of that, and he's aware his abilities are slipping, and of course he's angry and anxious about it. I agree with others--a wallet with a prepaid debit card and some cash. When my mother moved into assisted living for memory care after a devastating fall, she demanded her purse and her wallet. I filled her wallet with store discount cards, gift cards, coupons, bus pass cards--basically a lot of useless plastic. She loved it. She strutted around the care center with her purse slung over her shoulder, as if she were going somewhere. It was very sad for me, but it relieved some of her anxiety.

Another thing that worked: Together, make a big list. Bills that need to be paid, repairs that need to be made, whatever. He dictates, you listen and write it down. With my mother, that occupied her for about 20 minutes until she ran out of steam to think about complex ideas, but then she had the list to look at later, as if she had accomplished something.

It sounds like he's quite isolated. Aides don't necessarily provide companionship or activities. Can someone come to engage him in activities that feel challenging and important? Organizing the toolshed? Learning a new device like a tablet or phone wristwatch?

Maybe just showing him some balance statements would reassure him. My mother was unable to use the bank's phone system, and she did not go online, so she had no way to understand how much was in her account on a daily basis---so she went to the bank branch several times a week to find out!
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Reply to Beekee

What helped my bro a lot was a notebook I gave him , a three ring binder, and while it added to everything else I did have to keep records anyway; I would put his assets in, anything he owed, the bills I paid, the amount that came in that Month, and it would be "Your August Accounting" just as I was his accounting. Seeing his assets in black a white soothed him, knowing the bills were paid, and he said it was a great relief to have off his mind. He had his own "personal account" for spending. Which, true to him had more in it than he started with at the end of his life for some small antiques he placed for consignment with a friend with a shop.
You might also explain that once this is done it is impossible to go back because of files that say you HAD to take over management for him. Money worries plague us all our lives, often enough; no surprise they should hit us end of life also.
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Reply to AlvaDeer

I agree with Alva. Though my dad didn’t deal with dementia, the idea of me taking over finances was very hard for him. The only thing that calmed him was a notebook that I often showed him with everything laid out in detail, he liked seeing how it was done, and reminding me to do things (which I’d either done or would be soon)
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Reply to Daughterof1930

Thingsarecrazy, Thanks! Mom and I are in the middle of the phone wars; she had a flip phone for two years, but now keeps accidentally shutting off the volume, and can't remember she does that, so no one can get through to her. Bought her a portable phone and switched her to land line service, but she can't read/see the face, and is used to being able to see who's calling, so I got "the call" this morning at 8:15. Ordered her a new phone, one with black letters and backlit in amber; easier to read. If this doesn't work, I"m DONE. I've done what I know is best....

Anyone else have a better solution? It's hard to be "done", isn't it, for fixers like some of us.
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Reply to mally1
NeedHelpWithMom Oct 21, 2020
Best wishes to you and your mom, Mally.

You have been through the mill. No one would argue about that.

You have a heart of gold! Take care of yourself too. You’re doing all that can be expected of you.
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W/o taking time to read the other answers, and gambling that I might repeat what someone else had suggested, I would change your approach and tactics, and work WITH him, not against him.    This isn't a critical observation; it's just a different approach.

What you could do is create a very simplified system for him to pay his bills; if you have Excel, create a spreadsheet with receipt and due dates, amounts, and dates paid, and perhaps confirmation data.   Make it clear you accept his decision, and are trying to offer some help to keep track of what can be challenging even for people w/o dementia.

Help him fill out the first sheet, make a copy for yourself so you can ask, not remind him, when bills are due.    If he becomes frustrated, redirect and go for a walk, listen to music, go out to lunch - and bring back a good mood.

You can also volunteer to conference call when he pays bills (if he does so by phone) so that you can help him understand everything, especially confirmation numbers.  

Be his "employee", then his partner, and work with him.  He's going to do this anyway, so helping him is just part of being a daughter/son  and preparing yourself for when he is ready to take over.   That would complement and respect him more than telling him he shouldn't be managing his own finances.   And that's an observation, not a criticism.    These are learning experiences for all of us.

Good luck.  And please feel free to offer criticism if I'm way off, but I really do think that a different approach would make him feel more worthy and relax his attitude.

(I really feel strongly about finding ways to work with someone and help maintain his/her self esteem than to rely on legal documents to take over.   Everyone needs self respect; denying someone that does nothing to help either one of you.  

He may have some level of recognition that he's losing his analytical and or abilities, so I would focus on reinforcing him that he's still a valid, contributing member of society, and your loving parent, and establish that before moving on again to the financial issues.   He'll trust you more if he doesn't think you're against him.

This is what I did when my father expressed some concerns.  I asked how I could help; we sat down and discussed options, and he felt he was being helped, not displaced.     If he seemed to get stressed, we hit the road and went to the Dairy Queen, a favorite of both of us.

That didn't work for his projects though!   He knew more about carpentry than I ever could comprehend, so I asked him for advice, which made him feel worthwhile.   And I learned along the way.
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Reply to GardenArtist

I took over paying my Dad’s bills when it took him over an hour to write one check, because he kept messing up. He would occasionally ask to see a bank statement to make sure I was on the “up & up”. Then he would swear there was a check for some outrageous amount of money ($3500) that was actually $35.00 - on and on. It’s tough when they hit this stage.

Whatever you do, though, don’t give in to him. You’ve activated Power of Attorney because he’s unable to do these things himself. He’ll make an awful mess of things if he tries to pay the bills again.

Show him a couple of monthly statements so he can see how each account has been faithfully paid. And that’s only if you can’t get him off the topic.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to BeckyT

Imho, you are very much on point in taking over your father's finances. So for nine months everything was going well, I'll assume, with you handling his financial affairs? Now I suppose that something changed with his thinking, unfortunately. Suggest medication evaluation. Prayers sent.
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Reply to Llamalover47

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