She's lived alone for 21 years and retired for 5 years. She's been regularly scammed by phone thieves, and we guesstimate she's lost at least $80,000.00 in the last 10 years, but it could be a lot more, we just don't know. She still drives, although has had 2 major accidents (her fault) totaling her cars in the past 4 years. She refuses to let us have control of her checking and savings accounts, though she cusses out the scammers who have robbed her blind. She says, "My dad controlled my life completely for 20 years an my only husband totally controlled me and my money for 50 years and NO ONE, not even YOU, is going to to control me now!!" She gets SS benefits and has a matching amount of retirement income each month. We, the children, know: 1) she will continue to go downhill until she will be forced to ask for help, and 2) sooner or later we or the State will have to step in and take control of her life and personal assets. We're at a loss on how to make the complete switch from being "her kids" to being "her new parents," since she is totally unwilling to work with us in any way to make these needed changes. We're at a total loss on what to do. All we see is that she'll be forced to do something, but will only do so while kicking and screaming. Thank you all for any insight or suggestions you might be able to give us. God bless you.

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If you are concerned with her still driving you can do one of to things, report the accidents to her doctor and he can contact the state. Or two in most states you can anonymously report her to the DMV. Luckily for me, mom also had two fender benders and with the second the police officer reported her to the state so he was the bad guy.
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I too find it questionable that she's able to be licensed, especially after accidents, serious accidents at that and insured. Reminds me of my mother, who was in better shape than yours and yet after one accident, she was told by police, she shouldn't drive again, even though she was licensed and insured . She was in her 70s at the time. The mishap was a fender bender, but could have been worse. She pulled out in front of a car on a busy highway. She had had poor eyesight for years but some how was able to get a license and insurance.

About a year or so later I found out how. While I was changing car insurance companies and policies for myself, the company I was pursuing and which promotes lower rates, came back with a higher price...higher than the current policy with a different company. He said it was because of the accident I had had about a year earlier. I hadn't had an accident. Upon investigation via the police, found out it was the accident of my mother's. How did her accident get confused with my record? Unbeknownst to me, she or my father had taken information from my driver's license and insurance card in my billfold and provided it to police as being hers.

I was shocked that they went to these lengths. But, it does show how "desperate people will do desperate things." Driving is a big deal to senior citizens. It allows them to participate and stay active. Taking it away is like a slap in the face.

Sounds like LBMac's mother is still feisty, in-control and stubborn. Pushing her to give up some of her control over her life will only aggravate her. Sooner or later, reality will work against her and she may have to be forced to let others do things.
Until then, I would let her do what she wants to do, within reason (of physically hurting herself or others). During this time, by keeping quiet and leaving her alone, she may actually gain trust with you and then later allow you to assist her with some things, such as her finances. If you push too much, she could do some desperate things as my parents did. Could be she's going through a transition now and fighting all the way. (Sort of like when people lose their hearing and angrily deny that the problem is with them.)

I would suggest, keep an eye on her, keep your distance from her finances (a private thing with her), and perhaps gain her trust for possibly later intervention.
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Just doing the math here. Her father controlled her for 20 years, her husband controlled her for 50 years and she has lived alone for 21 years. Are you saying that she is 91 years old and retired at 86?

In addition, you say that she has had two major car accidents, both her fault, in the
last four years. I'm thinking that she is up there in age and just wondering how she still has car insurance and/or how she has avoided the state demanding that she retake the drivers test in person. Both of those scenarios should be investigated. At this point she could be driving with out a license or insurance.

I would be sick to think my parent had been bilked out of $80.000.00 in the last 10 years. That would be money that could have been used for her care. Aside from that, it clearly sends a message that while she may be enjoying her freedom, she is not making decisions that are in her best interest.

I agree that it is always best that an elder feel they have some control over their life and financial situation, but I don't see your mom as really having any control as she continues to find herself in bad situations.

I don't know the answer, but you need to start somewhere. Talk to your local Area on Aging group. Your mom needs help before she kills herself or someone else.

You need to do some serious checking.
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Your mother needs to be evaluated by a social worker, medical doctor and/or psychologist. She definitely will not give up CONTROL of her life if she can manage the activities of daily life.
I suspect that your concerns for her are economic.
Where did you get the idea that " we, or the state will have to take control of her personal assets"? ( Not so).
How old is your mother? If she's only been retired for five years, she couldn't be so out of touch with reality that she needs this type (financial) intervention.
Try to protect her against scammers and stay out of her "assets". You'll be doing the right thing.
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The thing that hit me in the face from your posting with the word CONTROL!! I can see why your mom would be resistant if you and your siblings are presenting it that way. My mom was and still is independent at 77, however, we knew that things were getting to were she was unable to take care of bills and such. Last spring my oldest brother and I sat down with her and let her know that we wanted to help her with things like finances and health decisions if she wanted our help. Within a short time we had POA's for health and finances drawn up, were added to her accounts and had the trust she and my father had started reviewed. At every step we explained what we were doing and asked her input. We received a diagnoses of Alzheimers in December of this year and while it wasn't easy to hear, my siblings and I feel somewhat better that we had all of the necessary papers in place. One thing I do with mom is when bills and mail come, she opens it and looks at it. Then she gives it to me, we looked and discuss what it is, then I take care of paying or filing it. That way she still has a hand in whats going on.
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The odds are she'll decline and eventually require help, but that is not a certainty. For one thing, she may die before she reaches that point. For another, even if she lives another 15 years, there is no certainty she will ever be worse than she is today. She may or may not need increasing help, but I don't blame her for resisting an effort to "take over her life and her remaining future."

Without regard for the moment about what might happen, perhaps you would be more successful addressing what is happening. Is she safe to drive? There are rehab places that do driver's testing for people who have disabilities, have recently suffered a medical probelm, or are simply slowing down due to age. Among the things tested is reaction time. If they find someone safe to drive, they may offer some suggestions, such as not driving during rush hour. If the assessment came from a neutral third party, perhaps your mother wouldn't see it as a you-vs-me control issue. I think the driving issue is the number one to address right now.

As she cusses out the scam artists, perhaps you could offer to help her (not to control her). If she never signs anything for over $xx wihtout talking to one of your first, that would greatly reduce the risk of scams. "Oh that deal sounds wonderful! Yes, I definitely want to take advantage of your offer. But I'm going to talk it over with my daughter first. I'll talk to you tomorrow."

You may never have to step in and take total control. And you don't need a complete role reversal until there is no other choice. See if you can gradually play a protective role that addresses the immediate needs.

Good luck to you!
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