My husband's dementia took a plunge after having a stroke. Any advice?

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This was a week after telling his doctor he wanted to do whatever was needed to help me. We had already decided to get a reverse mortgage but we have to have a power of attorney to get one. My sons and other family members, as well as his doctor, know this is what he wanted. What do I do? He has good days where he knows what you are asking him and other days, he doesn't. He has not done anything such as handle money matters or healthcare matters for over 4 years. I have been the only person to take care of him and his affairs for these 4+ years.

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Frusotrate32, while I am definitely not a financial expert by any means, I highly suggest you do a major amount of research on Reverse Mortgages. I caught the tail end of a Suzie Orman program on TV, advising Seniors to do everything in their power to avoid them, as they are almost never a good investment choice for the best return on your safest investment you probably own. Definitely seek counsel from a large investment group, and Not just the Bank you are doing business with. As they will do everything to talk you into one, and there may well be much better options for you such as selling your home outright and reinvesting your monies into safe alternatives, which pay you monthly payments. Again, I known little of such things, but do recommend googling Suzie Orman--- reverse mortgage, and see what she says about them, as I do think she is pretty darn smart, though extremely blunt. She really rallys for women's investment protection, and is a good step to getting more information on this topic. Good Luck! Stacey B
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I second Windy's concern about the reverse mortgage. Those are full of "gotchas" for seniors, where you wind up worse off than you were before. Make sure you've had some wise counsel (and NOT from someone selling you the reverse mortgage) that it's the right thing for you to do.
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Frustrated, I'm concerned about the reverse mortgage. There are some folks on this forum who are very kbowled gable about the issue, I'm not one of them.

I'd suggest you post a new question asking for advice on the reverse mortgage. You'll get good advice. Much of that stuff is very suspect, especially for elders.
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My good friend is POA for her 95 yo mother who has dementia. I know that in the last several years my friend helped her mother sell a huge house, buy a townhouse, move into a ALF, and just this last week close on the sale of the townhouse. Friend does not have guardianship. I asked her just now if her mother signed the house selling and buying and selling documents. Nope. My friend was able to handle all this as POA.
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I did have POA of my husband. I never needed guardianship. Almost all of our assets, including bank accounts, were jointly owned. I didn't need his permission to manage or change them. We did go together into the bank to open a small checking account for him in his name only, and we removed him from what had been our joint checking account. If he had objected to that (he didn't) I would simply have withdrawn all the money and opened a new account in my name only.

My mother has no assets to speak of. Nothing much to manage. Several years ago, when she starting getting confused about her bills she put my youngest sister on her checking account. When Mom dies, more than likely Youngest Sis will probably own what is left in the checking account. None of us cares. What is most likely to happen is that the 7 of us will go out to a fast food lunch on that money and eat a few french fries in Mom's honor. :)

My friend also has very little to manage. One of her three daughters has POA and that has been sufficient to handle what needs to be handled.

Husband/wife situations are probably easier to manage with minimal paperwork than child/parent situations. And small assets are easier to deal with than large estates. Guardianship is definitely necessary sometimes. But it is expensive to obtain and onerous to comply with. I wouldn't take that step unless it was truly necessary.
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That sounds deftly managed by your EL attorney, Jeanne. Just curious: without POA or guardianship, how do you get past banks and things for managing their finances? My mother's bank wouldn't even admit to me that she had an account with them unless she'd given them permission first.
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When I obtained POA my demented husband had good lucid periods and periods of considerable confusion and paranoia. I explained that to the elder law attorney. She said she would make multiple visits if necessary to deal with the "real" him. Fortunately she hit a good (unconfused) period on the first visit. She gave him copies of all the documents, went over each with him, summarized them, and then asked him to tell her about each of them. "This one says Jeanne can make financial and legal decisions for me" he answered about POA. We got the POA, Healthcare directive, and Will signed that day. I have no qualms at all that this was perfectly ethical as well as legal.

I would not give up the hope that your husband can appoint you his POA until you at least consult an elder law attorney. If the attorney does not feel a POA is appropriate at this time, he or she can guide you to the next step.

It is not always necessary to obtain guardianship for someone who has dementia. (I suspect that most cases of dementia do not include a guardian, but I haven't seen statistics.) My husband never needed a guardian. My mother does not have or need a guardian. A friend who is in her late 80s and in NH with dementia does not have a guardian. So .... maybe you will need that eventually, or maybe you won't. Let an attorney advise you on doing it now.

My heart goes out to you in this frustrating aspect of caring for your loved one. It is very hard to make decisions and then clearing the red tape when you've made one can be exasperating! Hang in there. I wish you strength.
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Oh dear, I'm afraid this is a bit of an "I wouldn't start from here…" answer - if you've already been handling everything important for him for that long it is a great pity that POA wasn't set up much earlier. But there we are - me too, I missed the boat too, and it was a pain in the behind - it's been and gone. It really doesn't sound as if your husband would have the mental capacity to set one up now - not ethically, anyway.

But all is not lost. If your husband's dementia is worsening you are going to need to obtain guardianship for him at some point in any case, so you might as well start the ball rolling now.

From there, as long as the reverse mortgage can be shown to be in your husband's best interests (and I assume you weren't intending to blow the cash on gin and diamond earrings?), you should still be able to make the arrangements he planned to make. What did he want to release the money for?
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