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I see in your profile you live in a different state. This will make things a little more difficult, but still can be doable. Although we lived in different states, mom was within driving distance, but not close enough for regular trips (1.5 hr each way), however I was able to take over all the billing/payments.

The first question is whether you have any kind of POA set up. If not, it would be wise to make an attempt to get this set up. She can be in early dementia but still be deemed capable of signing the documents. You would need to find an Elder Care Attorney near her, set up an appointment and make the trip. It will cost some, to be paid by mom's funds, if she has them. It will be less money and time than going to court. However, she will need to be agreeable to this - you'll have to approach this carefully, ensuring her that it is only in the event that she is indisposed, say in the hospital. She doesn't need to know you need to do it now!

If you are already on her account, you can start by contacting the billers and having the bills sent to you, promising to "catch up" any that she is behind on. Once you have the bills sent to you, you can setup either autopay or bill payer.

Personally I am NOT a fan of autopay (nor electronic billing.) If you are not diligent, overcharges or duplicate payments can happen. I like having the actual bills in hand, so I can refer back to them. Electronic billing, sure you have it in email, but still, I prefer the paper - it is there when I need it! Certainly autopay/electronic billing can be helpful if you are juggling too many issues and/or don't have the time, but you should still review them on a regular basis!

Fortunately we already had DPOA set up and she had already long before added two of us to her account. I also offered to help at one point when she said it was getting too hard, but she reneged saying it gives her something to do. When I found she was over/underpaying, I stepped in and took over.

The DPOA is needed for the bank(s), credit cards (limited access for those), but NONE of the billers cared where the bill was sent. A simple phone call changed the billing address to my PO Box and I set up the bill payer on her account for all of them. It is a little time to set up most of them, but then it is as simple as you get the bill, log in, schedule the payment amount and date, done. I much prefer this method myself as I am in control of what goes.

The key here is having DPOA already set up - some banks, etc may request some kind of medical proof, but really it is none of their business. Even if you are not on her account, the DPOA should be sufficient for you to write checks (bill payer wouldn't need signatures!) Have checks/statements sent to you. Without it, once she truly is incapable of taking care of her business, you will need to get guardian/stewardship through the courts - very time and money consuming.

The only other issues are infrequent bills such as insurance, tax documents and any federal entities (for us, pension and SS.) Technically you should be applying to SS to be rep payee, but I wasn't aware of that then. It was after we moved her to MC I needed to change her address and could not without signing up. Same for federal entities - they have their OWN methods for POA and do not honor "regular" ones. It was fairly easy to get SS done (one appointment/visit to local office, and setting up a special account for those funds, along with a yearly reporting which can be done online - keep good records!) The pension took me about 1.5 years of trying to get the right words in the doctor letter. UGH!
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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Get POA if not in place already as her agent. Best yet, get financial POA. Set up auto pay out of her bank accounts(s) and as financial POA, you should be able to write the bills that don't or can't do auto pay.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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Unfortunately, when we tried to help my mother who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when she started not paying her bills, she was terribly resistant, even stopped speaking to my brothers and I, and threatened to sue us. We had to enlist an attorney and, go to court and do a “benevolent take over” of all her affairs. We did have to present medical proof of her dementia to the courts,
As her daughter, I became court appointment guardian, POA and trustee. With the court documents it was easy to change her accounts, take control of all her assets, even medical decisions. Taking things to court is costly and time consuming. But, full proof and necessary if the person is deteriorating and resistant.
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Reply to jackie2018
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Auto pay . Also, our utilities have a third party notification where a bill can be sent to a designated person in addition to the account holder to be sure it gets paid -or hasn't been lost in the mail, etc. You could put her checking account "on-line" and set up bill pay - most bills come about the same time each month - go online to them get amount and pay from her account. (That way you'll know if she has already paid bill.)
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Reply to desert192
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Auto Pay
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Reply to SuePeace
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If you want to pay the bills, call the companies up, explain the situation and ask them to send you the bill.
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Reply to RuthW29
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Agree with auto pay. Explain in detail why it's a great idea. Mother stopped paying her bills about ten years ago. She wasn't even opening her mail. I set up all her utilities and insurances on draft.
Of course her first reaction was, "Oh, no no no." So, I explained to her how it would work and how it could be a matter of emergency if her phone was disconnected and she couldn't call out, how she could still get a paper bill showing what was drafted, etc. Then she was in agreement and we went to the utilities and arranged it. At that time she was just beginning to show signs of dementia .
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Reply to MumsHelper
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First consult her Doctor and have a physical done. He may deem her incapable and in cognitive decline. You could take her to her banking institution and add your name to her account so you can pay bills. If that isn’t an option then you can consult a lawyer and have Medical information to prove she is incapacitated cognitively. You would become POA. It’s easier if your parent agrees to this.
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Reply to HonoluluBaby50
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txagt39 Feb 21, 2019
If you don't already have a durable POA run don't walk to the nearest attorney and get that setup now while she can be deemed competent assuming she is, once she goes beyond that point the POA is contestable by anyone that wants too and if there is any money involved there will likely be somebody that would contest it. I added me and my brother to my mother's account while she was still able to make some decisions but that declined quickly and we got the POA done just in time. Thanks goodness too because without it managing her affairs now would be completely impossible.
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Ive had auto pay for my insurance and long term bills for years and am beginning to consider for my phone too tho i just like having the ability to see the charges for it.

By having auto pay i know if i get sick i dont miss a bill and lose coverage.
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Reply to Betsysue2002
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I live in Texas and found that I was only asked for a POA by the credit card company when I wanted to cancel the card after my Mother died. Before that I simply called the utilities and explained the situation telling them I was trying to make sure Mom's bill got paid. EVERY one of them willingly changed the mailing address to mine. I was a signer on her checking account and paid them by check. Pretty much, all they were concerned with was someone paying the bill.
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Reply to GranJan
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I agree with autopay.  Also, if you don't have it already - get POA.  Very important, before she declines any more.
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Reply to dlpandjep
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Agree, set up automatic bill paying. I remember when my BIL had both his mother and his aunt, different residences, both with early dementia. And working and supporting his own family. He set their bills up on autopay, and slightly overpaid the utility bills that fluctuate. When he visited, he reviewed the utility bills and adjusted those payments. That way he handled their bills approximately quarterly, only utility bill adjustments. They both eventually needed AL, and finally NH. In my opion he was a saint.
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Reply to Girlsaylor
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So challenging, I know! Kindly show her late charges and warnings, and say this will continue to happen. Ask to look at her incoming mail with her, open the bills, and label all of them with sticky notes for they *should be sent* (vs. due dates).
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Reply to Zdarov
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I agree with others about PoA. With it, you can direct all bills to go to you at your address. Without it, it will be hard to do, unless you have access to her acct somehow and set up autopay.
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Reply to Worriedspouse
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Autopay is the way to go with dementia or not. I haven't paid a bill in over 10 years. It just happens.
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Reply to needtowashhair
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I was on all Moms utilities and other bills as the person to contact if payments weren't made.

My Mom asked me to pay her bills. It started out that we did it together. I wrote them, she signed them. Eventually, I did it all and signed with POA behind my name. I also was on her account.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Another alternative is to pay the bills through online banking, do you have POA and are you able to set this up with your mom's bank?
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Reply to cwillie
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Is this all one question? It’s been suggested that bills be put on “autopay”. Then they are paid automatically and checks don’t need to be written. Not being able to figure out how to write a check to pay bills or balance your accounts any longer is scary if you’ve been doing it all your adult life.

If the person with dementia was never previously interested in cut/paste or doing crafts,chances are they won’t be now. Think about what sorts of things this person was interested in. Music? Sports teams? Puzzles? Reading? (Children’s books-easy readers) watching old movies from their era? Listening to old radio shows or watching old tv shows on dvd? If this person does like arts/crafts, go on Pinterest and find some simple preschool projects.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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mild dementia, and what arts and craft skills can I do with dementia person?
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Reply to teresat12
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igloo572 Feb 21, 2019
t - there are all sorts of craft magazines & Michael’s stores have in store “how to” classes. Martha Stewart has oodles of projects on the MSL website (has paywall). I’m sure all of these are especially fabulous but imo inevitably require you to buy stuff and you end up spending $$ even with that 40% off standard Michaels coupon and getting stuck with tulle, beads, etc.

so that being said, here’s my suggestions:
- go onto Cub Scout sites to scan for arts & crafts projects. There are bunch of cub belt loops that are crafty. All of these pull from easily & cheaply available supplies. Some BSA area councils have their own sites with DIY on crafty and based on recycled stuff. Working with cubs is a lot like working with elders with dementia in ability to follow directions and stay focused
- if your mom likes working with florals, some resale shops sell bags of fake flowers for cheap. And they have old baskets, vases, teapots as well. Where I live (New Orleans) the Goodwill stores were meh, but the independent ones like Red, White & Blue stores and Jr. League resale sell floral decor super cheap. I’d disassembled them and take stuff over to mom, lay down a big white towel (clean, even surface that reflects light plus easy clean up) and with a couple of bricks of styrofoam, she happily spent hours doing arrangements.

Also contact the Area on Aging to see if there are senior day activities centers that have crafty. For my mom’s city, there was programs at Oasis & also with Jewish Family Services at 1 of the JCCs. Oasis had set class fee$. JCC activities for seniors was almost always free & welcoming for all faiths in my experience.
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