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My mother has been experiencing depression and anxiety last 2 years. She was calling from Florida that she can't handle my father. We ( brother and sister) had trust set up for parents money. Have taken over banking ( bills). We made 4 trips in 5 months to evaluate and hire home health aids. Mother fired them X 2 after we left. Moved parents from Florida to PA to be able to help. Parents chose and bought in Independent living situation. Moved parents to new independent arrangement. encouraged participation in many activities Had 5 hours daily care for father, so mother could have time to participate i Bridge , Church , Shopping. We visited frequently. Had them every weekend. Dad died 3/14. Mom was depressed and anxious. We requested she seek help. We took a family trip without mother 7 months after dad's death, Mom 87 with walker not capable of trip and tour Mother bought airline ticket and had a cousin drive her car to Florida. House there taken care of by caretakers. She left the day we were to return from trip. We agreed if that is where she wanted to be Fine. We flew down to make sure all was well. She did not bring key to house could not put heat on in house when it got cold . Didn't know how to work the TV remote. We were frightened to leave her but she was belligerent and saying hateful things about her being independent and we were trying to take away her independence . She wants to " die in Florida". So we left. She is forgetful , repeats herself constantly. I suggested again she seek Phycological help. She has given away money, lots of money. She is physically capable of taking care of herself but questionable mentally. She started hateful statements and argumentative behavior in December. We begged her to come home for Christmas. She at times is delightful and happy but for the most part can't remember thing we told her. She told us she saw a doctor and he said she has the mind of a 25 year old . There is always some neighbor or friend who has a drama going on with their children. We hear it every call. She called both my daughters in tears that My brother and I are stealing her money. My one daughter does all her bills electronically and is on her checking account . She looks over my mothers spending and bills and tries to keep her in check. We all looked over her accounts and saw nothing out of place. Mother insisted she go to a lawyer and seek help with the matter. We agreed . Mother went to lawyer who conference us on a call. Lawyer suspects dementia . But gave no direction on how we can help.
She calls me and everyone at least once a week crying that we are greedy and can't wait until she dies to steal from her. From what she tells me is still going to church daily and having dinner with friend. She told me she would call the police if we came. She is not going back to PA . We are lost . We don't know how to help her and she is very good at being normal at times. I cry every day I can't help her or comfort her. We have suggested everything you can imagine. A care person to check up on her anything she wants. She wants to sell property in PA and not come up for settlement . We have set that up. She wants me to get rid of all the furniture and clean up the place for sale. We have begun to do this. She called today and want to change her will and give money to church. My parents had already given over $100,000 to church. my mother gave church another $20,000 in the last 3 months. We don't care what she wants to do with her money after she is gone but she needs to keep it for her care now, and considering genetics, that may be a long time. My mother had an Aunt who acted the same way. Paranoia and aggressive behavior. My mom took her to Florida and had her placed in a nursing facility . Aunt was there for 12 years. My mom's aunt caught the kitchen on fire trying to cook. So there was no question about taking over her
care. Her Aunt exhibited all the strange behavior my mom is doing now. But we were told we had to wait until she was a danger to herself or others. Is this the same case now? My Aunt burned herself in the kitchen fire before she called 911.
Screamed in the ER at the top of her lungs to get the police when my mothers brother came to help. Screamed that he was stealing her money. So it was quite easy to have her declared incompetent and have her placed in guardianship .
What do we do ? We are at a loss. HELP!!!

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Mom needs to be seen by her doctor and he/she needs to know what you are seeing as far as mom's behavior & spending habits. this could be a sign of dementia. Go with your mom to an elder law attorney so she can plan ahead. If she is in the early stages of dementia she may still be able to complete an advance directive and may want to name a durable power of attorney for healthcare and finances in the event she is unable to communicate her wishes and care for herself. She may just be depressed after dad's death. You can arrange for in home assistance, give mom some choices, as much as possible so it doesn't feel like you've taken over completely. She may be afraid, knowing she is getting older and with dad's death she may fear death for herself. Be supportive, but remember she does have a right to life her own life. You can always contact adult protective services to check on her, it always helps to have a second opinion. Good luck.
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My mom had a similar reaction. Went so far as to have a lawyer send me a letter. She hardly had any money. She was not much later diagnosed with Dementia.
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Sounds like psychosis which my mother had. Have her evaluated ASAP. There are sometimes certain personality types that are prone to this. Took a year to turn my mother around and it was awful. She thought my husband was taking her things and trying to kick her out of the MIL apt. Thought he didn't want to feed her etc and he's more compassionate with her than I am. Start with subtle changes but can end up full blown! Definitely needs evaluation and many elderly seem to suffer from this. Best of luck.
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Your story is the typical transition of the first few stages of dementia. My Ma is beyond that now. but was there about 18mth ago, and in hindsight had dementia for the past 8yrs where really she had needed care for. But while Pa was alive the two of them, managed to maintain a false life of coping. Her paranoia, her wanting to be else where, the inability to do anything for herself is just the routine picture.
You are not doing her an injustice by seeking help. A mental health check where they test for compentency will bring home the cold fact. Your mother is not coping and needs 24/7 care. My Ma couldn't even do the clock face one. Abused the psychiatrist that came to the house to do the test, and only answered one of the questions, without first asking me, what the answer was. She suddenly couldn't understand what the doctor was saying and blamed his accent [he didn't have one] it was her way of denying she didn't understand the question. the abuse of you regarding the money is she doesn't know how to control her funds anymore its become difficult ..... so being human she is blaming someone else.
BTW don't worry that she will hold your trying to help her, against you, its one of the few things they remember !!!!! The rest they will forget within a week
So tuck away a few tissues, put some cardboard shoulder pads on, and take 3 ounces of humour with you, I promise that in 5yrs time, nah, actually 5wks time you will realise you did the right thing, the only thing, for her
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Please pay particular attention to Salisbury's advice to get your own attorney and not rely solely upon your parent's estate planning attorney. If they've made any mistakes, they are going to do everything they can to cover it up when you start investigating and asking questions. And they do not have to tell you the truth or anything at all, since everything your parents discussed with their attorney is privileged and does not need to be disclosed to you. Even the appointed POA doesn't need to be informed -- remember, that lawyer still represents just your parents, not the POA. A POA should always have his or her own attorney. My mom's attorney even let her change her POA, even though he should have known that she wasn't compentent to sign anything and she certainly did not understand it (she cannot read and never has been able to read). He knew enough to let me know that he advised her against it, but still allowed it and let her sign. If you have siblings, have the your attorney also draw up an agreement between the siblings to cover his employment and clearly outline the expectations and responsibilities of each sibling, in that agreement and include who is responsible for paying for that lawyer. Otherwise, I would advise each sibling to get his or her own attorney, so that your opinions are taken into consideration. Otherwise you will have absolutely no influence or say in any of it. I know this is expensive, but you can really, really get screwed, and your parent can end up in horrible straits.
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My heart goes out to you. My Mother went through the same scenario. It is so difficult to watch someone you love succumb to dementia. In our case Mother's doctor declared her incapable to make decisions for herself. We then contacted a lawyer to draw up the papers to become her Mental and Durable Healthcare Power of Attorney. The lawyer suggested we pursue guardianship of her until he found out she really did not have much money. In your case it sounds like Mom has enough money to manage that guardianship would be a good idea. Guardianship involves the Dr's statement that Mom is no longer able to manage her resources. You must go before a judge with your mom. Of course she may get angry with you but it is in her best interest. Give it some thought. It sounds like it may be the best course of action to keep her safe. Best wishes on this journey.
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There is a book 36 hours in a day which I read after coming back from the UK after caring for my Mum for seven weeks, She lost things on a daily basis and hid her money,credit card,bus pass etc in different places and at night in her pillow, it was a nightmare! When I got back she sent me a nasty letter accusing me of stealing all kinds of things,reading that book really helped,I got it from the library. As I am 4000 miles away it is tough and my sisters aren't speaking to me as they believe Mum,but I can only hope they will wake up and get her the help she needs before a disaster occurs,meanwhile I pray for my Mum,Good Luck because it is all tragic.
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May I expand upon what Zookeeper said:

Her "in between" period is what I call the DANGER ZONE: it begins when the elder is no longer able to make rational decisions and plans. It ends when the family figures this out and takes charge. The really scary part of the Danger Zone is that THE ELDER CAN SOUND RATIONAL TO OUTSIDERS. This is well-documented here and is often referred to as "showboating." As the nice person from the Area Agency on Aging said when she visited my mom," She can mask her problems but as the visit when on, she became unable to keep it up." The visit was three hours.

During this Danger zone, my mother called the stock broker and asked him to send her $30K. He believed her--she sounded rational. He sold stock to do this, and when I found and returned the check, he called and explained that "my mother didn't have any spending money." He actually gasped when I told him that my mother had $72K in a non-interest bearing checking account. The truth was, my poor mother THOUGHT she was getting money form her checking account (which she didn't need, BTW) when she called the stock broker. She was totally confused. She had forgotten that she could go to the bank to get money.

So, as Zookeeper said, do not drop the ball during the Danger Zone. Take strong, decisive action. And, of course, you need a lawyer to do this. Your mom's lawyer didn't advise you because he was, after all, her lawyer. You and your family need your own.
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Wonderful advice given. I'd like to add that realistically, You or someone in the family is going to have to file for guardianship on her. She is beyond making decisions on her own, even if she gets her behavior under check as dementia will continue to cause her decline. If there is no family in FL, then you have a hard choice: let her become a ward of the state ofbFL or you find a FL law firm that does guardianships within their practice - she has $$ it sounds like so I'd suggest this route. Also you can work with law firm guardian to get her moved from FL to wherever there is more family to oversee her person.
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when my mom started forgetting and getting very confused and was starting to think"others" had taken or moved this or that we went to the doctor and he prescribed her "memory" pills. I made a big difference however the first kind(Aricept) gave her digestion problems and sore stomach so he switched her to Exelon patch, she is on 5mgs now and there are no digestion problems however her memory isn`t top shape but when she switches to 10 mgs I am hoping it will be better because the 10mgs of the Aricept was fabulous (except for the digestion probs)...she was back to the way she was before. Maybe your mom could benefit by taking some of these new médications for "memory".
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Great advice on this site. If I had to do it all over again, I would have called Adult Protective Services earlier and pursued a psyche evaluation. Instead, I took my 80-something mom to her doctor, who was vocal about the drug side effects for dementia treatment. He advised to keep her independent but then plan for her long term care. It's what I'd call a passive approach.

As a result, I spent a few years 'going along' with things - as long as she was basically functioning. She could be delusional and paranoid (especially with me), but other times she seemed okay. She didn't drive, so that was a godsend.

Then one day, she had a medical emergency and after treatment, she was over the 'dementia cliff' and in a state of constant paranoia. My last visit with my mom (at a rehab center) was awful - it ended with her accusing me of all sorts of horrible things and then her threatening me. The contempt was unmistakable and quite frankly, I don't think it's reversible. I told her I loved her and left. I call the nurses every day and we're placing her in memory care tomorrow, but I haven't seen her since. Apparently, my visit agitated her so that she became combative and intimidating with the nurses. So that was it.

Now I'm trying to come to grips that after nearly 50 years, this is where the relationship will end. I'm not sure what I could have done to avoid this, but I do think acting earlier and being more aggressive in changing her doctor, doing a psych evaluation, etc. could have been a better approach.

Best of luck. In some ways, you get one chance with this. I don't criticize anyone for what they do. It's a fine line to walk. You try to honor your parents, but you want their safety and a chance at recovery even though it may mean confronting some pretty horrible demons.
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My mom has done almost exactly the same things, and these things were particularly perplexing before we admitted to ourseleves that it was dementia. Please note that this "in between" period can be the most dangerous and treacherous period; they often make huge financial mistakes and their decison making is completely screwed-up, but because they are functional, the dementia can be hard to spot. Mom also "gave away" lots of cash, would tell one sibling one thing and the opposite to another, pitted her 2 shared POA's against each other, and exhibited the same kind of paranoia. Mom even changed her estate planning decisions and her attorney didn't spot the dementia, even though he knew what she was telling him was out of character for her. We're stuck with those bad choices now and wish we had been more proactive when mom started saying and doing those things. We waited too long. Don't make that mistake, no matter how much they argue with you -- those are all behaviours caused by the dementia. When they start these behaviours, you have to step in and take charge, as many have advised above. Waiting until it gets worse will only make it more difficult for the person suffering from dementia, and I know from personal experience that is makes caring for them much, much harder, especially since the patient may already have deep seeded trust issues, too. There are some really good suggestions above for how to handle getting your loved one evaluated, if he or she continues to refuse to cooperate.
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First, you need to listen to the advice from the people on this board. They guided me through a very similar situation last year. I did not want to believe that the changes in my mom's personality were dementia....but they were. When they told me she needed to go to a geriatric psychiatrist...I was like she will never go. Thankfully they kept pushing me and I was able to get her proper care.

You mentioned that your mom had depression and anxiety..is she on tranquilizers....ativan, xanax etc?? My mom was on ativan a very mild dose, but accidentally took too much and it became impossible to get off. What I did not know was it increased her risk of Alzheimer's by 85 %!! She went down hill rapidly and the paranoia got really bad.........I got her to a geriatric psychiatrist and eventually when the paranoia got to the point that she was not sleeping, was afraid people were trying to murder her etcetc.....the doctor suggested I put her on Seraquoel. I read the black box and was very scared. But once again the folks on this board said if my goal was to keep my mom at home, I should try it. The drug eliminated her paranoia. Which was wonderful. She was much more peaceful. She was going down pretty rapidly though. I had hospice evaluate her and she was put under their care at home. And yes get an elder care attorney and make sure that all of the paper work you and she will need are in order. Hugs. It will be stressful, but you will get through it. Once more help comes in you will start to relax a little bit.
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I want to agree with Davie,

Let the doctors and ER place your mom. then, you just have to say, "This is what all the doctors recommend." I had to say that to my mom just the other day. In our case, my mom had complete trust in her doctor. We also had the Area Agency on Aging involved. They visited my mom for three hours (!) and were rock solid in their assessment: placement.

I have written this here elsewhere but let me repeat it: there is refusal and refusal. Your mom may be refusing--but in the face of doctors, an Area agency on Aging, psychiatrist,t he family, etc. She may knuckle under. In any case, she has dementia and should not be calling the shots.
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I feel your pain. I am sole caregiver for my 87 yo mom who exhibits the sames signs and paranoia. Unfortunately, until something "happens" my hands are bound. I have to let her do what she wants.....doctor and EMS won't assist. I had to call the police one Saturday morning, because she was very agitated. Currently, she tore her Achilles tendon on Thanksgiving...a blessing (no driving) and a curse (she has gotten whiny and very demanding). The police chief said he will take her license for me....and pass it to me.....but that has been put on hold. All the medical professionals tell me if she drives and hurts or kills someone that the consequences of her actions are hers. That's great, but they are not hers alone......my husband and I will bear the brunt of them. We are very near a placement for her. My best advice, talk to family, clergy, friends, professional counselors whomever you can. This is too large to keep inside. Sending hugs and good thoughts. Chris
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A trip to Florida sounds in order to make appointment with her doctor and go to the doc with her. Before the appointment send the doc an email or call, giving info on Mom's erratic behavior. She really needs to be evaluated asap. Get rid of the keys and the car immediately!
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OH, honey, well, first read a whole lot on this site.

Second, here is some advice:

Take charge. Don't ASK your mom how she feels about this or that doctor make the appointments and tell her It is time to go.

Get your mom to a geriatric psychologist. What she is experiencing is straight out of a text book and there are great medications to help her/you. She can be seen in Senior Behavioral Clinic where they will observe her (for about ten days) and get her meds fine-tuned. You won't believe the difference. My mom went from calling the police (to report that I had stolen her car, etc) to being a happy, gracious, grateful human being.

See an elder lawyer a.s.a.p. This is a very dangerous situation. If you mom hurts someone else, you will never hear the end of it.

I, too, am sorry about your dad. Your mom can still live an acceptable life with a degree of serenity.
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She needs to see a Geriatric Doctor who can treat her for dementia...I could have written this story...Mom has been through it. I am trustee on Mom's trust and I was the one stealing from her. She called her attorney rambling and attorney called me asking me about dementia. I have legal guardianship now (cost me $500) but she can't make any financial decisions or write checks anymore..she still has bouts of paranoia...some days I'm the good daughter and some days I'm stealing her blind (I've been here for her for 14 years since my Dad passed and for the past 35 for both of them...Mom's dr wanted a psych-evaluation because she kept calling him saying she can manage her own money...haven't done that...she seems to have accepted the fact except for a few episodes...she needs medication and if there is any health issues - contact Hospice for "Comfort Care"..it's Palliative care...not the terminal kind..
Good Luck
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In hope you have met with an elder affairs attorney. I hope you and your family members have all the estate documents in place.

driving is dangerous and why kill someone before stopping her from driving

When she is in ER do not let her be sent home, let ER place her someplace
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Your mother is in desperate need of a psych evaluation. Call the local Adult Protective Services, tell them your concerns, or better yet, fly down there and be with her when they come. A 72 hour hold can be placed on her in a psychiatric hospital to evaluate her, and it really sounds like she has dementia, but without testing it could be a number of illnesses. Get her help now before she spends all the money needed for her care. I am sorry for the loss of your father in 2014.
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Call APS in Florida and report her erratic behavior. Do you have the number of a neighbor who is competent and nearby? Or someone from her church? You probably need to file for guardianship, but that will almost certainly have to wait until something terrible happens, as it did with her sister.
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