Mom's battling us trying to get control of her bills and get her house in order. Any advice? - AgingCare.com

Mom's battling us trying to get control of her bills and get her house in order. Any advice?

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Getting the house in order ain't easy. I like the previous comments about a little at a time. When I visit my parents I always freak at the mess. Junk mail everywhere, rotten food, cases of paper and cleaning products (my dad loves SAMs club. This is the worst thing ever for the elderly!) I've learned to prioritise. The closet can wait, get the fuzzy stuff out of the fridge first. Then every chance I get I start filling up garbage bags but as an earlier post mentioned leave a little of this and that to camouflage your work. When they move out it will be me and my four nephews and a large truck. It'll take a week to get it all out.
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Best advice that I have been given in this caregiving journey, and offer it here: always offer choices. For example, when Mom's doctors said she should not live alone anymore - she was given all other possible choices. I still give her choices frequently because it feels like a conscious respect of her dignity as a person.
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To pay your parents bills you need to be able to access and write checks on their accounts or set up direct deposit. I was lucky to have a POA which I took to the banks and got the paperwork to include my name on their joint accounts. Your parents have to authorize the forms with signatures but it does not have to be notorised and they can sign the papers at home, which avoids the drama of a trip to the bank and meeting with scary people. My mom was ok with this. She was tired of dealing with banking and bills, but dad has some dementia and "everything is just fine like it is. We don't need any help!". The way I approached dad was to say "your bank sent me these papers for you to sign. If anything should ever happen to you and mom I would be able to pay bills for you". Much to my surprise and delight, he said "well that makes sense. Probably should've done that awhile back" . What he doesn't know is that I've been paying all the bills for some time now. It's no big deal at all for me and I know they're not going to get the power turned off or end up paying huge interest fees because the visa bill wasn't paid.
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Setting up automatic payments online for bill payments with alerts from the bank for each check sent is a blessing.
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I agree, a few things here and there, allow the person to have some control. Don't make bug changes all at once, that just makes people more resistant. Getting one's affairs in order is big: try explaining it will help if she becomes ill.....
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Regarding paperwork: I got some bankers boxes and file folders (assuming they don't have a filing system). All paper must be scrutinized as my parents threw the junk mail in with important documents, some vital.
Purchase a dedicated shredder. You may go through more than one. Five years later I'm still sorting 50 years worth of paperwork.
Bit by bit by bit by bit...........
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midkid58 - yes we only threw out the many duplicates of papers that my dad made/collected and only basically junk. there is still plenty of stuff in the house, but not the "junk" papers, plastic bags, pieces of cardboard, etc. we all do what we have to and take care of the rest later.
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Thanks Patrice2oz, I just mimicked business model for accounts payable dept. All done on custom software these days, but easier for a senior to just pick up and look at hard copy of schedule. Especially when alone and has fleeting thoughts of "did I or didn't I pay", can go check and calm self down. Sometimes she can't operate computer, ...loses things, sometimes whole files/folders, ... Anyway, I figure the file box can be purged every year or two to the trash, a good place for her to file special cards and such from relatives where she can find them and enjoy looking at them too.

Ahhh, now, if we could just get better with organizing the clutter. I suppose it isn't hurting anything at this point, but she seems to bring it up a lot, I know it bothers her as she always lived in very clean houses, (her Mom too, kept house spic and span). I dunno, she seems to get lost in the "sorting" part, (as most of us do I guess), but will get hung up on stuff like why did I buy this little pack of buttons? Oh, I know I'll take them in the other room and have a look around in there, see if anything jars my memory! Then, on the way back, think I'll water the plant, see if you've read the article I saved you last week, hey, look at the the kinds of cookies we have, ...Hey, want some coffee? I have 6 kinds. :-) Ummm?
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This post hit a nerve--we moved Mother and Daddy from a 5,000 sf home to an 800 sf apt added on to my brother's home. It took 3 years. Both parents were packrats and we just sighed and took a day here or there to cull through the house. The final push was awful. ALL the stuff that were duplicates, broken, etc were sold at a yard sale and then the sons quickly and discreetly packed up the rest and whisked it away to the Salvation Army. We moved them into their apt..that was horrible and dramatic but after 3 years of culling and cleaning--the house had sold and they had to move. At first the apt was fairly tidy and nice. After dad passed, Mother reverted back to hoarding. Amazing how someone who cannot drive, goes out only with friends to Bingo and one day of swim therapy can accumulate so much garbage! She has 4 cockatiels in one small cage, the filth and mess from those birds is beyond revolting. She saves EVERYTHING!!!!!! My brother and I slowly sneak stuff out to the trash and she usually doesn't notice. We are just more concerned at this point about her tripping and falling than her "feelings". Counter space is 100% covered in junk. I try to clean when brother takes her to longish drs appts and we just do the best we can. Her failing memory has been a sad blessing--she cannot remember if she still has this or that item. I try to respect her home as I clean--so really, I just clean and throw out scummy flowers, old newspapers and junk mail and such. She fought us for a while, but now she is so bent over from back problems she cannot see above the 3' mark. We can clean "up high" as it were and she doesn't notice. Sad--she has priceless Lladro statues cheek and jowl with McDonalds Happy Meal toys. To her--same value. I think that says it all.
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yes that is one thing about helping an elder clean stuff up and out. we now take notice to our own "clutter" and start to de-clutter. That was a good idea with the phone to take pictures of where stuff is, as long as it stays in that place for when you look for it later. any suggestions are helpful on here. I will remember that for I am sure that our mother will at some point in the next couple of years start "moving" things.
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