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My aunt has begun accusing me of stealing because I bought her a fridge, at her request! She ha called family members and I'm not sure who else to say I am spending all her money. She is convinced that there was nothing wrong with her fridge and I am just spending her money. She alternates between telling me how wonderful I am and how I am stealing her money. She is perfectly nice and normal with everyone else, including her doctor. I worry that I don't know who she is telling these hateful things to and how to defend myself

I am having a really hard time with the nasty late night calls, but I can't not answer because I am afraid the one time I don't answer, it will be an emergency. She is a very sweet lady, until you cross her, then she cuts you out. I can't afford for that to happen, I am her main caregiver. Help, I am really having a hard time knowing what to do.

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ANY & ALL MONEIES SHOULD BE THE MONEY OF THE CARE RECIPIANT'S NEVER YOURS -

you should remember you must take of yourself .... a wise person told me 'it is selfish of you to not keep up with your own health & well being' meaning what would happen to your loved if you were taken very sick & in hospital or worse died ....... how often have you heard about the caregiver dies before the one needing care] - you need to save for your own old age too so do NOT deplete your chance of a gracious old age to pay for someone who was not careful of their's if that is the case - mom fortunately saved regularly

Another wise person told me to never to learn to give mom her insulin - the gov't agency will not give as much help if you are taking on that burden but then we live in Canada so much of that is covered if you can't do it yourself - thanks to the medical coverage we get [we don't understand americans who are against this]
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BostonGranny: Whatever you do, do NOT deplete your funds.
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Mocam good idea, thanks! liamalover- so true. I have begun to look at places that I think she could adjust to. I know I cannot move in with her, nor can I quit my job so at some point, sooner rather than later, she will have to go to assisted living. I am grateful that she has the funds available- I'm not sure what I would do - I can't afford to pay.
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"The living by herself" is going to come to a stopping point soon. The dementia train is not one you want to board. This person will not realize her decline because her brain does not work right.
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When I took over my mom's care, I opened an account in her bank because I didn't deal with that bank. Money is moved every month into that account to cover her nursing home care etc. then I write cheques from my account. When she asks who is paying I can say honestly everything is coming out of my account then she is happy to use whatever is needed.
I know it is skirting the truth but it is so much better than dealing with her accusations. She doesn't get upset or angry anymore which is better for her health because besides dementia she has had 1 moderate stroke & 1 TIA & I worry the she'll have a stroke when she is on a 'tear'.
To GIVEAHUG - any reno will only increase house value & is protecting that investment until the day it needs to be sold so tell everyone else it is investing in future. Even things for disabled will make your dad's home more valuable because more & more baby boomers need those 'extras' not in most homes.
How ever if you are doing some of the work yourself [like painting] keep a log to so what you are doing with before/during/after pix. If someone from family actually come to help too [lol] log & pix them too plus all workers hired to keep a full record. Bonus will be that should help any warrenty that comes with reno but afterwards breaks down/causes problem - I have even gone outside & took a pix of licence plates of workmen. Stops 'I don't have a record of who did it' from management.
Good luck we all have family to juggle. I copy all emails to myself if I deal with family to have a record. I also send a report on medical issues with date, outcome, dr's name, address & phone number to other family members. I also get to have that report to refer back to if needed.
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I apologize BostonGrammy, I misspelled your name!
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DivineOne - Keep those receipts!!! That is the best thing you can do to protect yourself from accusations of financial mismanagement. It is so easy for siblings who don't live the day to day life you (and I) do to judge from afar. I got so tired of listening to the "you should do this instead" opinions, I almost didn't show up for family events for several years. I definitely spent as little time with the group as I could get away with ;-)

What about your father's will? Having his POA and healthcare proxy will not protect you from having to sell the home if it is one of your father's assets to be divided up between you and your siblings (unless you can buy them out). I don't mean to be so blunt about it however money does very strange things to people. You've already seen a minor version with the $4,000.00 your brother had your father open the separate account with. You might consider checking with the bank to see if you could put a restriction on the accounts for checks or withdrawals over a certain dollar amount - your discretion - that would require a double signature. I'm not certain if that is possible or not however it is worth a call to the bank(s).

Keep the faith! Both you and BostonGranny are doing your best for your loved ones! The complainers and whiners can step up or step out!
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BostonGrammy - You cannot defend yourself against what others choose to believe versus the reality of the situation. So many would rather believe lies than the truth... It somehow makes it easier for them to cast aspersions on your good name because they feel guilty for their deficiencies in avoiding taking on any responsibility for your aunt's care.
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Luckily my aunt was never rude about it, but I remember that we got a call that someone had stolen all her money, and I had hidden the key to her lock box to KEEP the nursing home residents out of it. Once I got it out, she saw her money and was ok.
I am also involved in a situation where siblings are acting like I am stealing from parents, when I have been paying their many bills. Also getting tired of defending from ridiculous accusations. I believe the legal name is slander.
You can forgive someone with dementia, but a lot harder to forgive deliberate hatefulness.
BostonGrammy I would tell you to make notes of every purchase with the receipt, and if there was a repairman who might have seen the bad shape of ther refrigerator, a statement might help - but my goodness it's not YOUR refrigerator so what good do they think it would do you?
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Cttn55. The attorney still hasn't gotten back to me, ugh. I am one of the heirs, but I don't know exactly what her will says. I have no idea what I'm going to do. My heart goes out to her, but if we can't get past her being upset with me I truly don't know what to do. Thank you
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Did you find out who her proxy is yet?

Are you going to be one of the heirs?

What is going to happen if/when she needs more help and she refuses to go to Assisted Living? What are you going to be able to do?
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Also, I don't want to ever sell it. He built the house, so my plan is to keep it in the family. My siblings on the other hand are thinking otherwise...
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Thank you.. I get really tired and frustrated at times but I am going to continue to do what I have to do as his daughter that he can depend on. My siblings don't come around enough to even look at any papers. They only speak to him over the phone and judge from there. His Dr. Said to me that if they aren't putting forth an effort then why am I worried about explaining and defending myself so much? That made total sense to me. Im still learning and need reminders of this..lol He wants to handle things on his own but each time I try to allow that, something major goes wrong. He once wrote our a check for almost $8000 to a Carpenter from the wrong account... I had to clean that up afterwards. I can't have those type of mistakes and chaos with the carpenters. They get angry...
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If the home is updated, when it's time to sell it, the benefit will be a better sale price. Maybe only show him one paid bill at a time? I don't think they realize how much things cost and they are used to having the "old" things and are comfortable with that. Continue to do what you're doing in his best interest. Make a copy of the bills and show them to the siblings; that may shut them up. It always looks easier from the outside and also easier not to have to deal with your dad. Bless you for the work you are doing for him (appreciated or not!). You are doing your best and that's all any one should expect. They family members should also step up, but don't hold your breath on that. :-)
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By the way, I keep every single receipt and also give Dad copies as well so that if he wants to go through them he can. Dad refuses to look at them and says they are old but I think it's because his brain cannot handle so many numbers so he looks for an excuse not to go through it at all. This allows him to still think the same thing each day about his expenses and money instead of seeing that the money is going into his house.
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Ive read all of the comments and I can certainly relate to the accusations and the different moods each day. My father is in the beginning stages of alzheimers/dementia and I just recently moved back home to be with him. He had lived alone for a very long time. I am his caregiver, POA and healthcare proxy and boy is this position difficult!! I had no idea! When I moved in, the house desperately needed renovations as it hasn't been updated since the 70's. It began to look like a garage in the kitchen with his tools and such. The stove and refrigerator were still yellow from the 70's. It was time for renovations. Of course Dad procrastinates and does not want to spend any money so I used my POA and get some renovations done after some advice from the Drs and the office of the aging. My siblings do not believe there's anything wrong with him at all and Because of what he says to them, they are all thinking that Im living easy spending all of Dads money. My brother took Dad to the bank and opened an account, had Dad put 4000 in it and he had the statements going to his house so that no one would see that he spending it. This was hidden from me and I found out about 2 weeks ago because Dad tried to use the card and there was only $11 left. I am so glad that I listened to the Social Security office when they told me to separate his money so all expenses could stay organized. Imagine if that was $60000. Since I separated his money into different accounts Dad is angry because he cannot take out large amounts. I feel bad that he is losing his independence but I am glad that I'm able to handle his finances as I am supposed to do. Isnt this why he chose me to be his POA? I am the youngest of all his children and I feel that I am fling everything alone. No one is helping because they seem angry that I have access to his things and they don't. They were never close to him at all but they seem to expect different because money is involved. I am spending his money on his home that he is living in and will be in for a very long time still. I don't see where Im wrong in that. I don't spend his money on myself at all. I have my own but Im tired of having to constantly defend myself. It's so repetitive and seems pointless. I get hurt when my father accuses me of spending all of his money because I know that everything that I do is in his best interest. Im glad I found this forum to join in discussions because sometime I am pulling my hair out!! LoL
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Thank you all so much. It is nice to be able to get advice from people going through it. I provide 99% of her meals. She shut her stove off because she hates to cook. She has no children, her husband and siblings have all passed. I live around the corner so it falls on me. I have a cousin that visits once a week and brings her coffee and visits, but she is not going to help with much else- afraid she will be left out of the will I guess. She has a long term health care policy and quite a bit of investment funds so she can afford a place, but she will not hear of it. I have scoped out places and am ready. I am so afraid that she is not safe, I have to work and cannot check on her during the day, but she still goes out for a walk and chit chats with the neighbors so she is not trapped inside all of the time. She "showtimes" just fine, LOL. I am willing to go all the way with this because I love her and she has no one else, but with the ideas she has in her head, the iffy part is whether she allows me to help her.
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Does she have any children or family other than you? I don't know how much you are willing to do, given it is your aunt. I would have a discussion with everyone closest to her.
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I agree with Babalou, start looking around for Assisted Living/Memory Care places if you feel your Aunt can afford living there. Hopefully she has a lot of equity in her house that she could use. Most places have a waiting list where one would need to put money down to be placed on the list, usually the money is refundable if not needed at a later date.
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Not a power trip. Is she still cooking for herself? That's going to get dangerous before long.

Unfortunately, like many of us, you are in " waiting" mode. Something will happen, a fall, a fire, or she'll go running into the street and EMS/ APS will get called. Start looking around at Assisted Living places so you have an idea of what's available when the time comes, what services they provide and what the costs are.
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Thank you all! Just having a hard time with the nastiness. Most of the time I know it is the disease, but sometimes I wonder if she is just on a power trip and looking for attention. She does live alone, I pay her bills and provide groceries. I used to visit more often, but that seems to set her off. I also feel that she should at minimum have a home aide stop in, but she will not agree. Her Dr made a house call, five days after I called for advice, she was so off the wall. He said she was fine and that it was just a natural progression of aging- so helpful (sarcasm). I am trying to reach her attorney to find out who is on her proxy, I hope it is not me!!! I did keep a binder of all of the expenses, thank god! My husbands friend had a similar circumstance so we took his advice. I am fighting the urge to have a discussion about her bad behavior- from reading everyone's comments, I guess it won't do any good. Sigh😔
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I understand. My family hasn't seen my dad in almost 3 years. His brother is not a nice person who comes up from Florida twice a year and went to visit dad in AL memory care. Spends about 10 minutes with and reports back.... He's fine. Doesn't need to be there but his daughter dumped him there and is spending all his money. She sure is spending his money! Except it's not on herself, it's on his care. I learned to pay no attention to these people and continue to take the best care I can of my father.
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It's natural to want to defend yourself against accusations that aren't true. The best defense is a good offense. Educate people on dementia. Suggest an appropriate book that can help them read up on the disease or direct them to a good website like the Alzheimer's Association. When my grandmother had Alzheimer's she made accusations as well but no one believed her. We knew it was the disease.

The caregiver is the one who usually gets the brunt of the bad behavior. Your aunt is able to put on a show for others (the Dr., other family members) but she can't maintain that mask for long. It's called "showtiming" and is a characteristic of dementia. You're around her the most so you see her when that mask slips.

As for the late night calls, that's what voicemail is for. If it is indeed an emergency your aunt will leave you a voicemail and you can call her right back if you want to. It's OK to ignore her call if she's calling too late and it's not an emergency.

Educate yourself and others on dementia. What you shared in your post are classic signs of dementia. Caring for someone with the disease is very, very difficult as you've experienced and it only gets worse in time, never better. It might be a good idea to come up with a Plan B if you ever get to the point where you don't think you can handle it anymore.
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This is so normal for someone with dementia. I don't know how many times my mother has asked me to do something then blamed me for spending her money on something I wanted to do. It makes you not want to do anything for them. No good deed goes unpunished when it comes to dementia for some people. There is no point in arguing with her that the refrigerator was her idea. If she doesn't remember it, you'll never convince her. The only thing there is to do is to swallow your anger and let it fade away.

I know it bothers you that she is talking to others. If you know the other people you can let them know what is going on. Chances are that they already know you're not to blame. I know that I recognize fabrications when talking to someone with dementia. I wouldn't worry so much about the people she talks to. All you can do is what is best for her and yourself.

I do wonder if maybe she would do better in assisted living. Living alone may not be so good if her mind is slipping. If you get tempted to live with her, I would say Don't! Her personality sounds like she would be very difficult to live with. (Take it from one who knows. :)
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Does she live alone? Who is her caregiver?

Accusations of stealing, paranoia are pretty typical in dementia, in certain phases. Are you her PoA? Are you keeping a good paper trail of transactions she asks you to make?

If you go to doctor appointments with her ( and somebody should be going with her) talk to the doctor about these symptoms. If she's living on her own, it's clearly past the point that that is safe.
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