What can I do if my mothers Power of Attorney was changed by my moms neighbor? - AgingCare.com

What can I do if my mothers Power of Attorney was changed by my moms neighbor?

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My 86 yr old mother lives out of state. She is very sharp and able to get around, the only help she receives is from a neighbor who volunteered to take her to doctor appointments. Recently mothers personality has changed. She calls asking why we took certain documents (we didn't) she is convinced my wife (whom she has always loved) is stealing from her, and tells people that we held her hostage (.... She was ill and came to live with us until she recovered for approx 6 months ), and numerous other things. She will not move in with us permenentally, and she is extremely stubborn (always has been). We fly in to visit her once a month and spoil her like we always have. All her financial needs r taken care of. OK....there was the background... Recently this neighbor who helps out stopped talking to us, next thing we know is that the POA has been given to her. (we were notified by letter from an attorney who has yet to return call). Yesterday I went to log in to my mothers bank account to transfer her some money and pay her bills, but the password and email has been changed. The bank will not talk to me as I am not her. Now I find out that she (the neighbor) has been trying to contact the grandchildren and an ex wife from. 20+ yrs ago to tell them we r abusing the grandmother! The grandchildren laughed at this as they know how much we cherish her. I have tried talking to my mother only to get anger from her. I swear she watches too many court tv shows and thinks we r like those people in them. I am certain the neighbor is behind all of the changes and thing missing in the house. I do not know what to do as my mother says she is comfortable with this neighbor taking care of everything. I really don't know what my next step should be. Any advice or info would be welcomed! Thanks for listening !

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Wow. First, I would try to get POA back before there is a dementia, cannot handle her own financial affairs diagnosis. An attorney will not draw up a trust or will if someone does not know what is going on. Did your mother give POA to neighbor under duress, if so..there are probably legal things you can do to reverse this. The neighbor really has no business interfereing in this matter but she did. i feel strongly that you need to get POA back or in your hands and proceed from there. You don't want some neighbor handling your LO financial affaris or making medical decisions. I would correct this first and foremost. Get a ageing adults social worker to help you through this, you might have adult protective services do an investigation and of course an elder law attorney who will give you a free consultationl.
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Best wishes to you, Daniel. I hope you get to the bottom of this!
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Thank u all for responding. Dementia has entered the conversation between my wife & myself. Also depression and loneliness r definitely factors at play. We just spent a week with her and saw her go in and out of different moods. Mostly happy and playful.....but when confronted about what was going n she became defensive and argumentive. As for the neighbor, she is someone who never spoke to my mother until a coupe months ago. I am suspicious because that's when papers started disappearing and photos thats have been hanging on the wall for 20 yrs r now gone. My mother des not have much....just $600 a month and the land she lives on. I agree that there is a combination of things going on....health and outside influences. We have made plans to rent a house for a month r so near her so we can better asses what's going on. It is great to know that there r sites like ths to help people better understand and know that what they r going thru happens to different people everywhere.
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Danielday, your mother was sharp and able to get around, with only a little assistance from a neighbor. But something drastic has happened to change that. She is no longer "sharp" and able to manage for herself.

Your description of her behavior is very consistent with dementia, although I suppose other medical events could be involved. Figuring out the cause of this sudden change is urgent now. It may require a more extended stay by one or both of you to arrange doctor appointments and follow up.

When my husband first developed dementia (which came on very suddenly, by the way) he was sure I was stealing from him. He called the sherrif's office repeatedly (fortunately he wasn't able to dial correctly) and told our neighbors that he was being held hostage. This is very common behavior in dementia. It is the disease (or some other medical condition) that is causing this behavior, not that mother has suddenly been talked out of trusting her caring son.

If documents and other items are "missing" it could be that a) they never existed in the first place, b) they are safely stored elsewhere, such as a safe deposit box, and Mother at one time knew exactly where they are c) Mother misplaced them, perhaps even sending them out in the recycling bin, or d) Mother hid them because she knows they are valuable and now not only doesn't remember where she put them but doesn't remember hiding them at all. There is also possibility e) that unscrupulous neighbors have taken the papers for some mysterious purpose. In my mind a) through d) are much more likely.

Now this friendly woman who until very recently was sharp and could manage her own affairs complains to her concerned neighbor that her son is taking advantage of her. Mind you, the neighbor has known her a long time and she knows that your Mother is not a person to make such serious accusations up, especially about her own child whom she has previously spoken highly of. So the neighbor steps in to "help." I find this a more plausible scenario than that the neighbor is deliberately stirring things up, but that is still a possibility.

So, back to the first step. What is causing your mother to behave this way? Determining this is a challenge. Mother may not be agreeable to seeing a doctor. Not all doctors are trained in/skilled at diagnosing these kinds of problems. But this really has to be the beginning point. If mother has something that can be treated, or if there are treatments that would at least lessen the symptoms, that should be made available to her as soon as possible.

Once you have a better handle on the state of mother's mental health, you can begin to plan your next steps.Bringing the neighbor onboard with that is really happening might be a good next step. Reserve judgment until you have a better handle on it yourself. But once you know, surely the POA should know what the real situation is.

Also on the list of things to do is deal with who should have POA in your mother's best interests. But this isn't the first issue to deal with, in my mind.

I'm sorry that you are now on this painful caregiving journey with your Mother. Please come back and report how things are going. We care!
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Sounds like neighbor does not understand dementia and really believes the things Mom says you have done. Maybe the grandchildren can straighten it out for her, if she is just doing what she thinks is the right thing to help an abused elder. The supposed changes and things missing form the house are a common symptom of dementia - the person may not remember what they did with something or may lose it, but does not realize they have a memory problem, and therefore really thinks someone else is stealing...they often do not have the judgement to remember that the person is a loved one who has never/would never do that sort of thing, and assumes they must have changed because it is too hard to believe they are losing it themselves...hugs and prayers for you to get this straightened out as much as possible, and cope with the rest. It is so hard to see these things happen, and so heartbreaking, but probably not in any way your fault!
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Daniel, it sounds like you will have to go to see your mother and straighten things out. While you are there, contact an elder lawyer or one in your city. It sure sounds fishy, this neighbor doing these things.
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