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In addition, how to get her to attend senior center?


Mom has been diagnosed with dementia after having a stroke 2 years ago. She is only 68 and I am 40. I am single and have to work. My sister and I can't pay for the nurse all day, don't have that kind of money. Mom finally signed POA, but she threatens to take it away, she always wants to run things and secretly make phone calls "thinking" she transacting business behind our backs. All our lives she was a very private person and kept secrets. Now we are having a time trying to transact her business. It's hard to get her to take her medicine at times. She lives with me and I am struggling with lying to her about things, but she is making it hard to get her affairs in order. How do I keep her from the bank? She use to own her own business and people don't know her medical issues and so she gets calls with referrals from people and she is telling them how she will be back in business in the winter. She has her own cell phone. Should I take that from her? She struggles some days on how to use it. She is in the early stages of dementia...still somewhat functional, but not to do her finances, she not allowed to drive, but we believe with daily recreation she can have some better days for as long as she can.

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I am having some of the same problems. While it's good from a personal standpoint that you mom is in the early stages of dementia, it's also a time of great difficulty because she is lucid enough to think she's still herself, and often to convince others that she is, too, but you know better.

I am going to start having mom's mail sent to a post office box so I can screen it for financial stuff. You can also sign up for "paperless" options for bank statements, credit card statements, and the like. If they're out of sight, they will be at least partially out of mind.
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I too have to temper my frustration with my father and vent where it is safecto do so. He is constantly complaining that he doesnt have money and what am I doing with his money, that when he was in NY he always had money and was able to do A, B, C. I have to constantly remind him that 'yes you were but thats because you werent paying your bills and that you spent about 500-700 a month more than you had and were going further in to debt each month. That for the past plus year he has been (actually me) paying off old debt and thats why he has less "spendable" money each month.' I sometimes throw in thatvonce the debt is paid, he still wontvget more money because HE needs to save money for future medical needs because I am in no position to pay his bills and if he doesnt have the money set aside, he will suffer in the long run.
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I'm not sure why you are feeling bad about saving your mom from financial ruin, since her brain is not working properly. It's the right thing to do and her getting upset is really just not something that should effect the decisions. She's not dealing with reality. Trying to keep her happy or satisfied is probably not a goal that will be achieved. Of course, as she progresses, she may forget all about her bank account and never ask about it again.
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Hi Goldilocks! thanks for the response. I actually am joint owner on my mom's accounts so I recently got a debit card and started paying/setting up electronic payments for her bills. My mother is not one that you ask about financial things, because in her mind, she pays her bills, but in reality, she hasn't paid any medical bills since March. She thinks she has paid taxes and when I called the tax consultant, she has not received anything from my mother since 2012 taxes. So, I talked with the family since my last post and we agreed that it's in my mother's best interest that I just go ahead and organize her bill payments so that she doesn't get into collection for everything. My mother had a bad divorce with my father over 20 years ago that left her in high debt and so that is why she pinches a penny and always says, "She has no money" when she has it. I will just have to deal with the talk back from her when she reads her bank statements showing bills have been paid, but I say oh well, because if I don't pay it, it won't get paid. It took me three months to convince her to write a check to the doctor for $45! Discussing finances with her ALWAYS makes her upset and not want to spend her money, BUT if I say I'm paying for it, she will gladly calm down. Manipulator she is, for years her siblings told me she was selfish and I paid no mind, until I found out how much money my mom actually had, I was livid. Over the years, she would call and tell me how she couldn't pay a bill or something and I or my sister would send the money,not knowing that she just didn't want to spend her own. So, I am placing her on payment plans for her bills, trying to get some of them forgiven and praying that all will be accepted and she doesn't kill me in the process when she finds out I have been paying her bills with her own money..OH MY..how wrong is that??? Sorry to vent...just having a flashback moment.
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Do you have access to her account? What I did (because dad was over spending) is set up a second account and when his ss comes in, I transfer all but about $100 out of his account and into the other account and pay his bills for him. Also, I set hip the statements to be eStatements and go to an email that I set hip just for his financial things. I don't know if this will work in your situation but good luck.
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I agree with above comments esp the bit about going for guardianship. I have seen this exact situation play out with a close relative who owned her own business. Her closest relative finally had to get a guardianship over her because she was terrorizing the neighborhood with her driving and strange behaviors. You are really going to have your hands full with her. I hope there will be enough $ to afford assisted living and dementia care for her because as she progresses, your life will be sucked in to her delusions.
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Countrymouse, that's a good point. I should have added mom can see her bank statements anytime, I just print them for her but she rarely asks for them. She just asks what's my account balance. When she started getting anxious about them and getting her bills she just said you take this over for me. The other reason was because my dad had a habit of looking at her statements and then ask her for money. I caught him one time when he quickly left the room. So in this case, it serves those purposes.
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I carry a small photo copy of my mother's advanced health directive, The POA paperwork including the page that has the lawyer's signature, and copies of the 2 Different Drs. letters written that stated that mom could no longer live alone, make financial or health decisions due to her having Dementia. One letter was from her family doctor the other from a neurologist. I carry a copy in my purse and my car.
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I so love this site! The feedback is great and it is making me feel good that I am not alone and having some good tips is great. I know each situation is different and so I will take it all under consideration. Yes, Countymouse, my mom is about her money and I have no problem with her seeing her information, just the backtalk about me allowing "people" to take money out of her account is tiresome. The "people" is her health insurance. SHe never liked her bills debited, however, I can't sit with her to right out checks, because she doesn't want to pay bills all the time, she wants to do what she wants when she wants to. She has always been this way. It's like my moms crazy behavior before now on steroids! My siblings and I are trying to appease her by "including" her in some decisions, however, we have to do what's best for her, because at times she doesn't make sound decisions. Yes, the senior ctr is not equipped for her, but I'm monitoring her at the moment (first week). She likes going there for now. Yes, my siblings and I will have to sit down this weekend to see how we will move forward with her when she refuses to go to the center. You guys are awesome! Thanks again!
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PS You ought not to prevent your mother from seeing her bank statements. She has every right to be kept informed if she wishes - after all, it's her money. I'm sorry, I know this can be problematic and wearying in practice, but it is unethical to withhold information from her if she asks for it. Hope it all gets easier as you go along.
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Sistasoul, what sort of business did your mother have?

It might be one option just to be frank with her loyal client base. Send a carefully worded email explaining that ill health prevents your mother from carrying out her business as she used to do and asking for their understanding. You could maybe provide a contact number for people to call if they have queries about work that has already been accepted.

If you have POA for her finances you need to write to the bank and give them formal notice that your mother's state of health means she is no longer able to understand or carry out transactions - this will be easier once the formal assessment is in hand and you have some kind of medical report as back up, but you could give them a heads-up meanwhile. They must have policies in place to handle this kind of situation. And if you get the brush-off from a snotty member of staff saying it's not their business, impress on that person that it very much IS their business and you wish to speak to somebody more senior and more knowledgeable. Unfortunately there is still a surprisingly low level of awareness of POAs and the like in many banks.
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I saw a lot of the same things going on with my mother early on with her dementia. After she gave her car away to my sister she would have her take her to the bank. My mother never understood direct deposit with her SS check. She would get someone to drive her to the credit union, go in move and money around, take out cash. We would then go on line and put money back into checking from savings. This went on for quite awhile. As for the phone at home we were stuck trying to figure that out also. Mom could not hear well and often would just say "ok or yes" to whoever called. Hence,Diabetic supplies from several companies, numerous coin collections mailed by the month, magazines, book of the month, goes on and on. At least for the time being you can monitor all of this since she lives with you. In my mother's case she respected whatever her Dr said do I used him as my authority to ask her to do something. It is imperative that she not be alone for the sake of the medicines issue itself. Maybe you could get someone to call when it is time for her to take medicines. And have them wait until she does. My mother had the memory of testing her sugar levels when we asked but once we checked her blood meter we found out that she had not been testing for 6 weeks! That was when her sugar level went over 600! That was when we started looking for a home for her. The beginning stage of dementia for us was long. It was not until she had a 2 week assessment done during the first 2 weeks of the assisted living home that we realized how bad her dementia was. We found that private home assisted living places for those with dementia are far cheaper than commercial places. Nearly 2/3 cheaper. Between moms SS and A&D benefit from VA the cost is almost covered. Her savings pays the rest. She knows that this is where her Dr wants her to live so she accepts it. Don't rely on the senior center too much as a place for her to go unles it is one where you pay for adult day care. In our area the senior must be competent enough to be able to take care of themselves while there. They are not responsible guide the people around to the various activities. It is not even up to them to be sure that the seniors get on the right bus to go back home. A lady at our senior center read me the riot act over the phone when I called just to inquire what went on at the center. It seems like ours is a social club not a care place.
Now might be a good time for you to get POA, advanced directives, and a will drawn up also if it has not been done also. Blessing to you. Know what you are going through.
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It's good she is not home alone. Perhaps, if she is constantly supervised, she won't be apt to go to the bank and try to improperly handle her account. You should be able to safeguard if you are always with her. If she insist on going to the bank to do business, I would think of excuses to avoid it. If she wants to see bank statements, I might allow her to see them, as long as she isn't alone and free to misuse the funds. If it becomes too much, then the guardianship route is available.

I would gradually try to limit the people who give her as a referral. Call and ask that they stop. Hopefully, the calls to her about business will stop.

I wouldn't hesitate to tell her anything you can to protect her from herself. I will say that dementia patients vary in the way they can be managed. Some are quite difficult and are constantly trying to call people, make purchases, visit neighbors, drive vehicles, move furniture, hide items, etc. It requires a lot of patience and time to keep them safe. Others are content to follow requests and allow others to assist them. That's why some people are not able to manage the care of dementia patients in the home. I would consider the options now, before it gets any more difficult.

With the senior center, I would just suggest that it is as a great way to meet people and to help others. Sometimes if the patient believes they are helping other people, they feel more committed to it. Does she have a hobby or interest she could share at the senior center? If she was not receptive, then I would just insist and say the doctor prescribed it.

In certain stages, medication boxes and reminders may work, but eventually, they don't, IMO. The patient is confused and forgets to look at the reminder and/or they decide they don't need the medication. They really can't be left in charge of the medication at this point.
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Thanks Maggie, yes, I'm awaiting the documents to arrive for the diagnosis. I was told verbally by the doctor before I left town based on her test results. Mom has an appt coming up with the new dr in the area and all will be revealed next week to her. Yes, I don't want to take the phone away, just don't want any promises being made or people sending her money for services she can not perform. The phone keeps her connected to family and friends that she left in our hometown. Three times a week is a great start for the center. I just can't afford two full days of a nurse while I'm at work. My mother's doctor says she can not be home alone. So that is why I want her to go to the center everyday..maybe not all day..it would help with the cost of the nurse. Thanks for ALL your suggestions, great ideas.
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Thanks for your response and request JB0928. Yes, I do online banking and was thinking of not having bank statements come to the home for her, but she always wants to know whats up with her account. However, I have not done anything besides set up her new health insurance and she was involved with that. But of course she doesn't recall telling the agent she wants it directly debited...typical. I have a whiteboard made into a calendar in her room and write the important event reminders on it. We are trying the new pill organizer that lays out the week by morning, noon, evening, bedtime..Some days she is good with it and somedays not. She doesn't want me to help her most days planning the medicine. I go back and check later and sometimes they are not in the right container. When I fix it, she gets mad. I thank you for your response, we will see how it goes.
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On the medication piece I write instructions for mom every day of the week in her notebook with morning, noon and evening details and have a checkbox by each of them which she does pretty good with tracking it. Can you do that or put up a chart/calendar on a wall with what she needs to take each day? Maggie gave you some good advice and certain others will chime in, but thought maybe that can help on the meds management. Don't know if you can do this but I stopped bank statements and bills from going to my parents house. I manage their stuff through banking online. Maybe harder since she lives with you, but it has helped immensely with keeping the budget stable and in good standing. If she gets online and can see it, well not sure what else you can do unless you setup a new account or change password, but I'm sure that wouldn't fly with her. All the best to you, we know it's tough.
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i guess the only way to solve this for real is with the nuclear option. Retain an attorney to get guardianship. Make certain, though, that you have that dementia diagnosis on paper. You'll need it.

Even though you have POA, that does NOT mean mom can't transact her own business. That could be catastrophic in some instances.

Personally, I wouldn't take her phone away. Let her tell people she'll be back in business soon. I'm not sure I see the harm. Check it as you would a teenager to make sure she's not getting in trouble. It would be unwise to leave her alone all day without a phone anyhow.

Call her to remind her to take her meds. If she doesn't take them, what else can you do? As far as a senior daycare, see if she'll agree to try it out three times...once a week. She might like it, and, who knows? It might keep her little self out of mischief.
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