Follow
Share

Mom had a lot happen in last year, kidney removal due to a mass, gallbladder removal, then she let herself go completely in a matter of 3 months she wound up on dialysis after being in full kidney failure. I found out she has a fantasy relationship with a Nigerian scammer who is catfishing her and she is sending money, she knows the truth but is still sending money, she lies all the time, tells me one thing and siblings another. Then she made up stories about me keeping her prisoner and hostage and want to keep her off the phone and facebook. She was seeing people in her house before she got really sick. But she remembers other things clearly, things from 50-60 years ago. She figures out how to download new chat apps to keep up her fantasy relationship and download zelle app to send him money. She's back living at home alone and I don't know how to help her. I was so stressed that I backed off and told my siblings I can't do it all anymore. Is any of this a sign of cognitive decline or is mom just depressed and desperate? She does say weird things sometimes and she will get mad when I don't know what she is talking about.

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

I would take whatever steps you can ASAP to protect her and her assets. She should not be living alone.

An Elder Care attorney can determine if you can still get POA or have to get guardianship. If mom has assets, they CAN be used to cover these costs. Signing up as rep payee for SS is also a way to prevent her sending money to whoever. NOTE: she will receive mail about this from SS, so if you can divert her mail to a PO box beforehand, that would help - I did this from my own local PO, but also already had POA set up years before. Also, the best method is contact your local SS office and set up an appointment - you do NOT need POA or attorney to do this! The mail forwarding is temporary for up to a year - you would have to contact each billing/banking place to change the address officially.

Prior to gaining any control over her, her finances, etc, is there any way the bank might listen to you, if you show what she has been doing (the texts, or have them review the account, etc.)? Have her cards replaced with a new number?

FREEZE her credit (may need that POA, but the good news is this is now FREE for all of us!) You will have to do this at each of the three credit bureaus, but since she has given out her SS, someone can rack up all kinds of new credit in her name! IF you know her SS, technically it is not legit for you to do it online, but it isn't like YOU are trying to scam her! Sooner is better than later. You can also while there request her credit reports (hopefully set up PO/forwarding first!) NOTE also that this will NOT prevent charges on existing accounts - that has to be handled separately. Again, we were fortunate that two of us had POA AND were on her primary account - made life much simpler - still a lot to do, but fewer roadblocks!

I am not techie enough, but perhaps you can enlist help to put restrictions on her cell phone/computer - I know there are child protection add-ons that can be used. Never needed them myself, so either find someone who is techie enough or someone here on this site might be able to advise you. There are SO many robo-calls, to both cell and home phones, that too many people get scammed and someone with dementia is even MORE vulnerable! Not sure if there is a way to "protect" a home phone, other than perhaps use call forwarding to your phone.

"She does say weird things sometimes and she will get mad when I don't know what she is talking about." Again, another possible sign... best thing you can do is NOT contradict her, agree as best you can (hard when you don't even know what she is saying!) and do NOT take any negative things she says to you to heart - this is not her talking, it is the dementia. She is now living in a different reality, so you just have to "join" her there and get along as best you can.

IF there is any way to work with her primary doctor, I would get her out of that house and into the hospital for protection - some have said in other posts that they can be put in psych ward for testing and potential medication (it won't cure dementia, but some meds can alleviate some of the symptoms that arise.) At the least she would be better off in a Memory Care place, probably a NH since she needs dialysis - again, safety first and protecting assets! She may balk at that, so the doctor/hospital route might be best, then you would have medical backup for moving her to a place, not returning to home. This would prevent her from coming to harm and stop the money drain!

You also mentioned a recent scan shows potential recurrence of the cancer elsewhere - is there a treatment plan and/or prognosis?

Final note - your siblings seem to be trying to stay out of all this. You can try to enlist their help, but understand that if they balk or refuse, it isn't worth trying to make them help. Some work together, others do not. At this point I cannot even get my local brother to even respond to a text message! It may be up to you to handle what needs to be done.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

My assessment, for what it's worth:

I did read through your posts and mostly skimmed the various responses, but just your title says it all for me - dementia. When living alone, sometimes the very early signs are missed. This was the case for our mother. I first noticed it during phone calls - repetition. Short term memory is the first to go, but long term memories do stick around, and your post indicates that as well. Also, many people in the early stages can muster up enough to appear "normal", especially to those who don't know them or see them often.

Mom's parents passed long ago (~40 yrs for her mother, maybe 56 for her father.) About 9 months after we finally moved her to MC, she asked me to drop her off at her mother's place on my way home (took care of things as best we could to try to keep her in her home, but it reached a point that this was not good for her.) She still believes now (over a year later) that her mother is alive and asks to go there, call her, wonders what she is doing on major holidays, etc. She hasn't mentioned her father to me, but staff member did indicate she has talked of him as if he is also still alive. So noting someone has clear long term memories can be deceptive. Dementia patients regress over time.

In your case, the various surgeries have not helped, as they can contribute to some mental confusion in elders, which sometimes abates some, maybe not completely, but usually returns to some normalcy. If she hasn't been caring for herself, that will take a toll as well. It has been long enough since the surgeries and it also sounds like she was having issues before the surgeries as well. Having some "delusions", including about you or others interfering, and lying are also signs. Accusations too - mom would be unable to locate items and accused others of stealing them.

Suggestions next (not enough characters left!)
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

First step, going to get mom appointment with primary doctor- she needs one anyway for prescription refills. Although she’s barely speaking to me since , because although All of my siblings know and continue to discover more info about her scammer/love if her life - none yes none will confront or talk to her about it. Despite find long messages , her wanting two new cell phones (one to hide her convos with Mr Right), taking her to pay a bill aka send money gram and western union. Also they saw she texted him her bank card, id and ss#. So no one else confronts her and still attend to her needs, makes me the bad guy. Funny though, it really hurts that she doesn’t miss me or call or text me compared to as badly as she keeps in touch with Mr Right. I’ll be needing therapy soon for the issues that’s causing but I willl power through and try to get her examined neurologically.
Fear: it will confirm one of two things 1. Mom has cognitive decline and future care and needs will be a long tough road for all of us 2. She’s well aware of what she’s doing and making a conscious choice, and doesn’t really care about our relationship. I’m not excited about either one of those
thanks everyone for the responses, it’s given me a lot to think about. Especially appreciate the hugs and well wishes.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report
lindasmom Mar 2019
Those two possibilities are tough. Sorry. Hard to believe your siblings are ok with Mr. RIght. Hope you are able to shut him down somehow. Good luck. You are doing the right thinking and planning. You care about your mother and you are doing the best you can. I think I've seen advice here saying try not to take it personally - it's the decline not you. Let us know what you find out!
(0)
Report
See 1 more reply
I set my late mother up with medication cassettes (one of differing colors for day and one for night). Then she had this bizarre idea to put some on a tiny saucer with a tissue over it. I never did figure that one out because it messed up the entire order of having the med cassettes in the first place. Good grief!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Definitely sounds like dementia to me. When things start happening it seems like it's so hard for us (in my case a child) to comprehend it's really happening. After a while you try to prepare yourself for the next level of loss and it's still a catch up game. When my mom was on the downhill slope and my dad couldn't handle her anymore, we put her in a memory care unit. Unlike some of the patients there, she still could read numbers and she would escape by watching people punch in the numbers on the keypad to leave. People lose their functions at different rates and different combinations I guess. You don't want to lose them to dementia completely, but in some ways it's a relief for the suffering they are going through. To have a little bit of themselves left is almost more cruel for them than just being gone completely. Now we're dealing with my 95 year old mother in law going through the same thing. Try not to take her negative reactions to you too personally. She's not in her right mind. Take care of yourself and do what you can to protect her from harm. Ask your siblings to help you. Be specific with what you want them to do. Take care. This is a good place to come for help.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report
lindasmom Mar 2019
Thanks for your response! I am not the original poster but your response helped me. You are a blessing to me tonight! Thanks again.
(2)
Report
Boy, do I get that! Both of us left mom's scratching our heads today....
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Oh my. Something needs to be done immediately to protect her (from herself) if that makes sense. If you're not able to, please let that part go and find someone who can. My Mom can be incredibly lucid at times, and my niece and I look at each other like 'Maybe it's us? And not her?' Are we overreacting? Give it five minutes and she says something else. Yep. It's not us.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

I remember looking at my mother's pills and wondering why there were big one's and little one's in the same row. She said, "that's how they are". Well, being a big dummy, I believed it, because mom never messed things like this up. Hey, it's mom. A few weeks later I stopped by and found her staring at her keys in her car. She couldn't start the car and it was like she couldn't figure out what the keys were or for. It was really weird because she was just sitting in the car staring at them. Needless to say, the car officially stopped working at that point and I started doing her meds for her.

It can be hard to believe what you see. Thing is, what you are seeing, probably isn't even the worst of it. She may actually believe all of that stuff she's saying. And remembering 60 years ago, well, that's kind of normal. My mother knew her SS even as she seemed not to be able to tell the difference between me and my father later the same day.

Anyways, you've got a problem, but then you knew that, I think.

Good luck!
Helpful Answer (6)
Report

I hate to say it but it sounds like dementia to me. No wonder the elderly are preyed upon by scammers - they are "idiots" because they don't think and do stupid things they should not be doing. If they were not mentally challenged, then I would think, and hope, they have some common sense to stay away from trouble. Often they recall things of years ago but the short term memory really starts to leave. It will only get worse and there really is no way to help them. They are stubborn and in denial and want help but not in the form it is offered. It is often time to consider what actions you will be forced to take so they are safe. Start thinking ahead so you are prepared with some ideas to implement when the nonsense starts. Do NOT wait until it happens. You will be stumped, in a state of panic and confusion. Start checking out options before it gets bad. And try to get a Power of Attorney and take over their affairs.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

If I were you, I wouldn't wonder at all. Take action NOW about that Nigerian scammer. Have you ever seen the Reality TV show, "90 Day Fiance?" Well, these are typically younger people, though there was one lady in her 50s who go half way across the world to meet their "perfect partner." Mom is not just depressed; she is a victim of fraud due to her dementia.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Given all you have explained in subsequent posts, your mom should have a head CT.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Have any of your siblings stepped up to help their mom?

This should be the first thing, so you are not having to add additional responsibilities to your already busy schedule.

My dad is the exact same way, if he doesn't look, it's not really there. He too gets taken advantage of by unethical scum bags. Yet those of us that care and want to help with his wellbeing are always the bad guy. It is beyond exhausting when our parent makes an already hard situation as hard as they possibly can. Hugs to you.

I would advocate for a brain scan based on behavioral issues, remembering 50 to 60 years ago is absolutely common with Alzheimer's, they actually regress to infancy. This is not a sign that all is well. Everything you say about her behavior is loss of executive function and that is dementia in a nutshell.

Can you apply to be her representative payee from social security? This will stop her from having any access to her ss pmt. I was advised to do that and I didn't want to take that away from him, i was worried about his feelings. Dumbo me. But we learn and share.

If I was in your situation I would have a family meeting without mom and get all siblings on the same page, you may have to ,for lack of a better term, strong arm the situation to protect her and yourselves. If she needs Medicaid at some point all this money gifted to her fantasy boyfriend may put you all on the hook to caregive for the duration of the penalty period. None of us wants to say, sorry mom what you want means zero, you have needs and that is what we have to focus on. Raising high h3ll or not doesn't change that. Tough love but sometimes there is no other option.

Can you find out if she can attend a cancer survivor group or something that gives her interactions without being on the Nigerian scam site? Anything to occupy her and entertain her that is not web based would be good.

You can do this, it will be one of the hardest things you will ever be faced with, but you can do it!

Hugs and strength to you.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Um...pull the plug on the internet, call DCF or similar agency in your area for abuse of an elder (if only by some scammer) and MAKE A REPORT. That will get the ball rolling, or stopped, or BOTH. She is a threat to herself if she cannot manage her own funds. I mean is she giving this guy 5 bucks with full awareness that that is just a fun and goofy internet relationship?? (like in video games that us older folks DO PLAY) or depleting her life savings and unable to buy groceries. Do you KNOW for SURE its one of those Nigeria scammers, as they have sort of died off, only to be replaced by the Chinese selling fake puppies.
She COULD very well be depressed and lonely. But as the saying goes, how many shrinks does it take to change a lightbulb? Answer-NONE, the lightbulb must want to change.
If she has the money, is able to pay her own bills and rent etc. then she can do whatever the heck she wants to do with her own spending money, like it or lump it. Bye bye inheritance. And some parents are mean that way. But if she is putting the roof over her head and grocery money at risk, DCF needs to be called. IF she is having some internet fantasy relationship-which is actually rather normal for older folks who just can't or don't want to do the real deal anymore, then that can actually be a good thing. Healthy. Sounds like she is not just putting a check in the mail to some email that says I will give you a million rubies if you send me a wire transfer for $1995.00. Sound more like she hooked up with someone in a chat room, a game, a dating site etc. And if she did, that's really her own business. If you have the emails, PRINT THEM and get proof-bank statements that she is paying someone in nigera. THEN you have a case to go to the police etc. Otherwise, it's her life to ruin.
And do keep this in mind, after an elder, or any of us has surgery with anesthesia, are on pain pills, etc. for a period of time, there is a bit of lasting confusion and fogginess and forgetfulness.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

your mom is, as you have related exhibiting many common signs of dementia and the first step is to make an appointment with her primary care doctor and ask to have a baseline cognitive test done. You should chronicle the same information you have given in your post here. The doctor May refer you to eithe a neuro doc or a geriatric specialist who can also do a psyche eval.these folks are indeed Angels. I would begin to put together a binder of information p. You also need to be in a support group for family members and continue to post here where there are so many who will encourage you in so many ways and Help you to navigate the future. You are going to encounter personality changes, many ups and down and she will express fear, paranoia, anger and confusion. Please be kind to yourselves. If there are financial restrictions, which I had so much of, there are not for profit groups to help with grants for some in home care as well. Please also contact the Alzheimer's Folks too. Hugs!🌻
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Dear stressedout,
You don't need to do anything that you can't handle!
But, your family needs to step it up & help.!!
You should however make the money giving stop because it's so wrong & she is going to need her money . Break that computer. I don't know how, take battery out, or go to settings * click do you need password to log on* click yes* & make one.
These stories just burn me up...
We all need help when our parents get old. Both my parents got I'll, at the same time. It took 9 siblings for us to get thru it. We divided up tasks. Health, wealth,
Ccaregivers, elder law, TO POA,
& eventual death. Bury both. 2 funerals, a will, sale of delapitated home, remodel, ($60k) taxes...
It's a long road.
Goodluck.
Helpful Answer (6)
Report
JanieR Mar 2019
I was going go suggest the same thing or maybe get rid of the internet. Maybe you could get an authority figure (like someone from the state atty generals office) to write her a letter or make a visit to her about that scumbag that's catfishing her.
(1)
Report
I am so sorry for what you are going through. Your plate is completely full. Of course you are stressed! This site is so great at helping. I find that the care of your loved one and dealing with the mental/dementia diagnosis is a process. You start noticing weird stuff then get hope it is nothing and then realize it probably is something. In your case you are dealing with physical illness (cancer, kidney) as well as cognitive decline. It is tough to sort through and since you are closest to your mom it falls on you to do it ie: the doctors etc don't just point the exact course to take. It sounds like you have siblings to help but you are dealing with the impact of it. Maybe your siblings could take on the physical/medical part (dialysis) and you take on the dementia/neurologic part. I think POA is a pretty common thing to get so once you find a lawyer it should be straight forward. My brother is a lawyer and my mother took care of that a while back I think. You can also start mentioning the hard stuff to her when the chance comes up. After you are able to open the door to how things are changing for her it will get easier to bring it up again. It is a process. And yes my mother gets furious at me, its hard to take since I am the one trying to help but I'm learning to power thru. My brother and sister-in-law don't have a clue sometimes. I have recently realized I have to be the one to bring it up in order to make progress in the process. It helps to know that other's are stressed by this stuff and I'm not just reacting badly to it all.

And as a side note - I get stressed just thinking about how these scammers are able to attack and take advantage of the vulnerable. They come at them from all sides phone calls, email, facebook, text, even knocking on the door to sell "services". It seems that something needs to be done to prevent it! I spend a lot of time fighting off scammers from my 90 year old mother and I have an autistic brother whom they try to get. I want to start a crusade against scammers!
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

I found out you really have to treat dementia patients like little children. Never argue, just go along with their stories. Which are sometimes very entertaining! Get power of attorney and find a good elder lawyer to help. If she's not on Medicaid, start looking around, sooner or later she will. Just been through this whole thing.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

In the very short term I would disable her phone. Either hide it or take the battery out and say it’s broken and you have to get it fixed. If shes going online on a computer, remove it or make it password protected. Hide the checkbook.

Your Mom is doing more than “losing it a bit”. Since you see her every day, you may become a little conditioned to her behavior, but it’s not normal. She needs to be seen by a doctor.
Helpful Answer (8)
Report
Cherrysoda Mar 2019
If mom here is living alone though, the daughter trashing moms phone or internet would actually be a criminal offense!
(0)
Report
IF it is metastatic cancer, consider it is also in her head.
From your other question my mother was also scammed. If yours is able to get to a bank even if you tied the purse strings, then you are screwed...even if you got guardianship. You have to stay a step ahead. The only thing you can do is take her checkbook away and prevent her from getting to the bank.

However if she is determined to be incompetent, and you can gain power over her then she may be eligabe for a lockdown assisted unit.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report
lindasmom Mar 2019
(0)
Report
See 1 more reply
Hi stressed.
I know this is all just tooooo much.
I think we would all agree though it hasn’t been said.
Dont try to discuss this with mom. It’s more stress and won’t help. She doesn’t sound able to comprehend.

Make an appointment with a certified elder attorney well experienced in Medicaid law in your state. You need the legal authority to act for your mom. She will either have to sign to give you or a siblng authority while she still can or you will need to file for guardianship.

Just tonight there was 95 yr old former director of the FBI (or was it CIA) targeted for financial abuse. Even after the scanner found out who he was they threatened to kill his wife if he didn’t do as they demanded.
Your mom is not alone. Imposters call pretending to be from Microsoft or Apple or the IRS and pretend to be someone helpful. Don’t answer the phone from anyone you don’t know was the advice. Don’t open an email from strangers. Don’t respond to pop ups. Elders are targeted because they have money.

Take her to a neurologist for testing. It does sound like she has the beginnings of dementia. I’m sorry to say that. I have seen the tv shows where elderly women have been catfished by Nigerians and they don’t seem to have dementia, just terribly lonely.

But your mom’s health issues would make the sanest among us want to escape into one fantasy or another.

There are several types of dementia. Some are as you describe. One day there and the next day, not so much.

I am sorry you are so overwhelmed. Dig deep and get your mom’s situated looked into.
It’s not likely to get better on its on.
Helpful Answer (9)
Report

I don't want to be alarmist, but has your mother had her head examined? - literally, I mean. If it were my mother I think I'd be asking her doctor if an MRI or a CT scan might be a good idea, if only to rule out certain possible concerns.

Was the kidney mass analyzed?
Helpful Answer (8)
Report
No she has not been examined. I guess this means another group of doctors and tests. The kidney mass was RCC (renal cell carcinoma) however because it was contained and margins were clear, she didn't need chemo or radiation. Unfortunately on one of our recent ER visits for stomach pain (unrelated), they did a CT scan of abdomen and found small nodules on the lungs and peritoneum. Have a follow up scan this month to see if they have grown (3 months later). They suspect it is mets of the RCC. So if we are really dealing with dementia or some other cognitive decline, its just more on top of the already large pile of issues. This one though is causing a severe strain in our relationship. Gosh, I am tired of me and my complaints, scratch that I'm tired in general. thanks for the advice, i'm glad i found this site so I can vent and get advice from others who have gone through similar things.
(6)
Report
See 1 more reply
I am sorry that you have some much on your plate. However, it does sound like your mom has dementia. Dementia in my experience may come off as things that we might see as just our parents getting older with little things...forgetting a word or getting words confuse...maybe a little white lie...calling something by the wrong name than being able to call it by the right name. In the beginning dementia comes and goes like the wind. Very hard to pin point it in the beginning. But like all things time will show its true form.

You should see an Elderly Lawyer about getting POAs and what needs to be done with Medicaid rules if mom has any assets. Start asking mom what she wants as far as what is her medical plans. For example, my mother had a feeding tube after she had a major surgery in 2012 for something unrelated, however, she has made it clear that she doesn't want a feeding tube and because she has had 19 surgeries and beat cancer 3 times she has opted-out for anymore surgeries and cancer treatments (if her cancers come back), which I understand. Sorry to say, you must start getting her and your ducks in a row. Like us here you will have to figure out just how much care you will provide your mom. How much of your life are you willing to give up? Start planning! This site and the people here are a God send; I wish I would have found it a year sooner it would have saved me much heart aches, time, and money. When I first found this place I read everything I could and I was able to get my mother Dx with vascular dementia, unfortunately, my mother's finances were already a mess, which now I am in the process of cleaning that mess up. No one ever wants their LO Dx with Alz/dementia. But it is what it is, so we do the best we can. You can always come here for answers or to vent or just read the posts. Some how this forum makes you feel like your not alone.

Moreover, depression and anxiety can company with dementia.

Good luck.
Helpful Answer (10)
Report
Thanks, I need to figure out how to start the conversation with her because she doesn't want to talk about anything difficult and wants to pretend that its all okay and she is the same person as always. Her mind wont accept her bodys limitations and she gets angry if you challenge the idea.
(2)
Report
Yes. Dementia's start very subtly. But your Mom seems to be further along especially if seeing things. Going under for all her operations doesn't help either. She needs to be evaluated. Short term goes first and then longterm follows later. You r probably noticing she is hard to reason with. Hence thinking her and this man are having a relationship. She probably needs time to process what you say. I would get her to a neurologist. Hope someone has POA.
Helpful Answer (8)
Report
I think the seeing people in her house was due to kidney failure, I asked doctors and they didn't really know. Shes not admitted to it since then because she knows we look at her as if she was crazy. I'm not prepared for this, shes already on dialysis 3 times a week. We have constant appointments with vascular doctors and normal appointments. The thought of now adding on - go see primary to get referral to Neuro, wait to get an appointment with neuro, do more tests and follow ups on test results. Sorry, i'm venting, my life is so busy with my family and i work a demanding full time job. I guess i was hoping for a different opinion that would make me feel like I didn't have to do anything more. I don't even know where to start on a POA. Life sometimes just piles on heavy :(. Thanks for the advice.
(6)
Report
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter