Can my mom with short term memory loss still be able to make sound decisions?

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My Mom has been diagnosed with mild dementia and suffers from short term memory loss. My brother feels that, due to her ST memory loss/deficiency, she's also unable to make sound/informed decisions like her wish to sell her current home, which is large and sits on a very large lot which she can no longer maintain. I disagree with my brother and his view/opinion of her condition has enraged our Mom! Any thoughts/opinions? Many thanks, Michele

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Thank you, Countrymouse and Coralmae for recognizing the situation and the personal stress this has/is causing us. We HAVE gone to an attorney, the one who drafted the original family trust, DPOA, etc., to have it amended so my mother and I are now co-trustors (and the two of us are allowed to act independently of each of other, and with my brother to follow me as successor), and as far as the DPOA, she has named me as her immediate "representative" as they refer to it now, and again my brother to follow me as successor. 

There should be absolutely NO DOUBT WHATSOEVER that her wish to have me represent her at this time has been legally performed. As it stands, my brother has NO legal standing unless I were to step down either willingly or if I were to become unable to due to psychological or physical illness and only then would he become the Trustee.

We're both very comfortable with where we stand legally but now we have to deal with the bad behavior we're expecting from him, as well as his wife, that causes us so much stress. Needless to say this won't be a pleasant visit but one thing is CERTAIN.... I will NOT allow my Mom to be bullied or ganged up by these two!
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Lotsofkittycats, if your mother gave you power of attorney, and if her desire to exclude your brother from her affairs is consistent and long-established, you not only don't need to keep your brother informed - you are obliged to maintain your mother's confidence. You *shouldn't* be telling him things your mother never wanted him to know about. It is her private business.

Take out your POA documentation and re-read it so that you thoroughly understand what exactly your mother authorised you to do. If you wish, you may send a copy of it to your brother so that he too understands that your mother has made you, and not him, responsible for acting on her behalf. Sorry, but my hands are tied is what you tell him. I'm sorry that I inadvertently involved you in the plans, but I now realise that I can't give you any further information.

When he and SIL visit - oh Lord! - next week, pretend you're a nurse and these are medical records. Sorry, can't discuss this with you, it's confidential.

And if you and your mother do need someone to guide and advise you on major financial and legal points, go to a professional.
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You need to see a elder law attorney. My understanding is that someone can have dementia and yet still legally be able to make decisions. They can be incompetent on a variety of levels but as long as they a still cognizant concerning the area of the decision, then they are legally capable of making that decision.
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I'd like to offer my sympathies to you for the problem you are going through. If you have POA your brother cannot be involved in any decision with your mom however, you may be able to just give him a summary of what's going on.

In a way, I have to agree with your brother in his opinion of the mild dementia. My mom was diagnosed with that a few years ago and she is now at a much more advanced dementia. Her doctor just told me that it is time to think about a memory care facility and I am working with an attorney now to protect her assets. The dementia and short term memory loss will only get worse (sorry to say).

If you do NOT have POA, get it as soon as you can, through an estate planning attorney. That should take care of any problems with your brother. I can understand the emotional upset that you are going through. It's not an easy thing to do, but if your brother and his wife are hell bent on their "mission" you don't have to bow down to them. It sounds like they are trying to put the pressure on you.
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Ugh!!! If your mom says "NO," that's the end of the discussion. You have no obligation to provide him with that information (at least not as far as I understand this stuff,) but you do have the obligation to protect her interests.

If he has a legitimate concern about your mom's well-being, then why can't he just let you know those specific concerns?

I wouldn't want to share someone else's information with someone like that either -- it's your mom's business not his, and if he's being a jerk now, he might get worse once he thinks he can intimidate you. Often being direct -- but giving as little information as possible -- works. For example, "It's not my place to discuss mom's finances" or "Mom asked me not to discuss her finances" or "You'd have to ask mom's lawyer what he thinks." Or turn it back on him, "What specifically are you concerned about?" or "What makes you think that?"

The problem is that people with dementia are often not equipped to say "no" (especially to people they only see once in a while and wish to please) and can crack under pressure. Hopefully your mom will stay firm with him also! Good luck!
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My brother is turning up the heat, demanding to know what mom's reverse mortgage balance is (and what she's going to have "coming to her"), what her monthly utility bills are as well as not only her credit card payments but their balances as well, and all KINDS of other stuff that are HER BUSINESS, NOT HIS!

I'm stressed out beyond words that both he AND his wife will be coming down here next week to go over all of what he wants to know (and, of course he's asked that all of this information be sent to him/them BEFORE they get here) and Mom DOESN'T WANT TO GIVE IT TO HIM!

I, being the only one between the two of us who knows how to use email, will have to be the one to basically let him know that, not only will he NOT be receiving this information, but that he doesn't have the right, neither morally nor legally, to make ANY decisions that she's still perfectly capable of making on her own! That, of course and unfortunately, will yet again place me smack dab in the middle and I'll once again be the "bad guy" in the family!
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Thanks to ALL OF YOU, for your answers and giving me quite a bit to think about. I'm frankly not sure exactly WHAT my brother's intentions are..... I can only base my own concern for her current and FUTURE well being and what I can and/or NEED TO DO to ENSURE she's well taken care of while in my care. She initiated legal paperwork to make both she AND me as CO-TRUSTORS of the family trust (with my brother as the primary TRUSTEE should I be unable or unwilling to manage the trust) mainly so I can legally take responsibility for paying the bills and, of course, when it comes time to sell/buy the house sign the necessary paperwork. BTW, she's on Medicare, not Medicaid. Also, I've done a few tests of my own by explaining something to her and then asking her to repeat it back to me - she won't remember - or ask her what she just watched on TV and, again, she won't remember either. VERY SCARY, indeed! I'm taking her to the drs on Tuesday for a variety of medical issues that I'm concerned about. Again, THANK you ALL for your input!
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lotsokittycats, how lucky you are that your Mom realizes that her home is too much to handle. Now with the new home, will Mom be paying for it, paying half, or keeping her money in savings. Why I ask is one needs to think down the road if and when Mom might need a higher level of care. A lot depends on what she does with the equity from the house, and how Medicaid [which is different than Medicare] would view what she does with that money.
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lotsokittycats,

Your Mom doesn't have to know your brother had any part in the decision. You can take yourself out of "the middle" by letting her doctor decide. Trust me, if he based his diagnosis of your mom's condition with the mini mental exam (which is very likely), he'll know whether or not your mom is capable of making a big decision like selling her house. I sat with my Mom in the doctor's office while he administered the MME and it was truly a sobering experience. I knew Mom was slipping, but I was shocked at how bad she really was. Dementia patients can be very good at concealing their deficits.

You may now or at some point need to get a note from your Mom's MD stating that she is not capable of acting in her own best interest, medically or financially, or something in that vein. This is a very common request and likely something you'll need in the future to manage your Mom's affairs. Best wishes to you and your family.
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I've been living and caring for my Mom since 2007. I'm officially her caregiver and, yes, we will be moving to another, smaller and more manageable home (most likely a mobile home in a senior community since I'm 61 with chronic health issues, too). There are no alterior motives in play at all. The whole reason to move is so she/we will have a modestly priced roof over her/our heads with, hopefully, some excess profit from the sale of her current home with which she'll  have some savings to put aside.
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