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She has good insurance and is 65 years old. She is a hoarder and refuses to take care of her physical and mental health. She goes weeks and even months without bathing or combing her hair and until recently under my initiation went to evaluate her physical health. What disturbs me most is that she has control over my living 86 yr old Mother with Alzheimer's bank accounts who has three other children myself included.


Please help with any suggestions you may have as to how I can help her!!

Find Care & Housing
APS needs to be called and no way she is to control mother's money! Good grief. Wow, that has to be so unsanitary with her living there due to her poor hygiene. How do you stand it? Phew.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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WAIT YOU JUST SAID YOUR SISTER SENDS YOU WHAT SHE WANT'S OF MOMS MONEY!? NO!! You have your mom living with you, your sister NO LONGER TOUCHES HER MONEY PERIOD! That is for you to help take care of your mother. You need to switch accounts asap, why should your sister even need any of your mother's SSI? You need it to take care of her, roof over her head, necessities, food, clothing etc. 100% get bank account switch now.
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Reply to Kerryangelarae
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I think your sister might be depressed. Has anything happened in her life to make her live like this. Did she lose control over something important in her life. When she went to the doctor, did he or she have concerns about her well being. Did you mention these issues to the doctor in her presence? If not, then if she is mentally capable she should continue managing your mothers affairs. If she has children ask them to get involved to clean and organize her home or you can help your sister out on the weekend with organize the house. If you are offended by her body ordor, wear a mask until you find out why she doesnt want to wash up daily. She might be overweight, it is difficult to maneuver in a small and cluttered bathroom. If you need help, seek a caregiver to help your sister and mom. Good Luck.
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Reply to dejavu292
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Has there been any evidence of mismanagement of funds in your mom's accounts?
In Phila. the Corporation For Aging offers assistance for persons with hoarding disorders. I do think that in the meantime getting POA and guardianship of your mom sounds like a good idea. There are certain SSRI's like Lexapro that do help with obsessive compulsive disorder if you could get your sister to see a doctor.
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Reply to salutem
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Take control of your Mom's bank accounts. Get a financial Power of Attorney. Consider also getting a Health Care POA/Health Care Proxy for any future needs.

For your sister? My mother is a Hoarder. There is literally nothing you can do. I saw several suggestions about calling Adult Protective Services, which you can try, but it will not likely result in any change.

Speaking of change - do not expect any from your Hoarding Sister. I begged, pleaded, threatened, cajoled, bargained with my Hoarding Mother for over 20 years to try and convince her to get help. Not even to change - just to take a first step and get help / talk to a therapist. She won't because she does not think she has a problem.

How do I deal with it? I set up boundaries, for myself and at my own discretion, about what I will and will not tolerate/deal with in regard to Mom. Because, legally, she is an adult with capacity, and therefore can choose to live in filth. And there is nothing I can do to stop her or to force her to accept help.

This is not your fault and not your responsibility. Do not let anyone tell you it is.

I personally look at Hoarding as analogous with alcoholism. You can't make an alcoholic stop drinking the same way you can't make a hoarder stop hoarding. You can only control your response, set your own boundaries. You can only step in when the hoarder does something that causes the hoarder to fit the criteria for incapacity. Which may not happen prior to death.

I belong to an on-line support group called COH - Children of Hoarders. While I know we are taking about your sister, not your parent, you might want to check out the group / discussion boards, as you might find some insight there.

Good luck.
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Reply to MrsC2018
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salutem Dec 14, 2018
yes, there is an element of that, but it is not that simplistic.It is considered to be a manifestation of OCD, (and I am not speaking as a layman here but as a retired mental health professional) the only way to know if some of the traditional meds like anafranil or Lexapro will work is to try them. In the case of a neurochemical imbalance it can help significanty. Though it is true that 'pills don't teach skills' but they can help make someone amenable to CBT i.e. cognitive behavioral therapy, which in combination with the aforementioned psychopharmacological intervention can prove to be significantly efficacious.
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You need to get Durable POA, most banks accept that type of POA, it's a General POA that you will have trouble with. As well as a Health Care POA.

If your moms Social security check is being paid into an account your sister is on, no signatory rights, you are on the account, so you know. Then you need to open a new account and take mom to SSA office and get the payment moved to new account. If mom is to far in her Alzheimer's disease then you need to become the representative payee, go online to SSA and get the paperwork. This will give you control over her SS.

If you need to go RP route, know that you will need to keep an accounting of how you spend her money. They protect our vulnerable seniors this way.

You may never be able to help your sister, make sure that she is not endangering mom's future needs, money not spent for mom could cause a penalty period if she ever needs Medicaid. As others have suggested, cal Adult Protective Services, if they determine she is fine, you have done all you could do.

Best of luck taking care of mom.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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Have Adult Protective Services do a home check. Self neglect is a red flag for dementia. Hoarding is another. Hopefully the primary doc ordered a Neuropsychological exam. It’s three hours, but it’s thorough. It will definitely help to address the physical AND cognitive challenges that your sister might be exhibiting.

Since no one has POA officially, get Durable Power of Attorney for your mothers health and finances. It takes 5 minutes, -seriously. A notarized letter! Then go to the bank and open new accounts. (Or have mom if she is able)
some banks (in NY especially) will have their own form for POA, if you’re concerned, call the bank ahead of time and ask. Explain the situation and voice your concern. The bank may be able to make a note on the account to watch for suspicious activity while you get POA.
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Reply to Dadsakid
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You have two things to do: (1) Get conservatorship over mom and (2) Report sister to Adult Protective Services. Alternatively, since no one has POA over mom, take her down to the bank and open a new account.
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Reply to katiekat2009
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The only "Adult at Risk" at this point is my Sister. I have Mother with me as of 8/2017 and take very good care of her. It's the Hoarding, lack of Hygiene & Mental & Medical Disorders I'm concerned with going on with my Sister. My older brother and I are in agreement that something needs to be done however the fact that "if she refuses, and I'm sure she will if she gets a whim that she's being tested in any way, to acknowledge that she has a problem" I'm beating a dead horse so to speak here!! I also feel I can't even "Baker Act" her either so I'm at my wits end with finding a solution with this.

She's the oldest out of 4 kids and I'm the only female and feel obligated to get things done. Feeling pressured...
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Reply to TinyBoy
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Does your sister have POAs. If not, you need to get guardianship over Mom. Medicaid will allow you to use Moms money.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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TinyBoy Dec 12, 2018
My Sister is only a signatory over mother's bank accounts with no Power of Attorney. Mother physically now lives with me since August of 2017 since my daughter witnessed her hitting her during her vacation while she was under my Sister's care. At that point is when I took Mother to live with me then my Sister would send me what she wanted of Mom's money.
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You need to call Adult Protective Services and report both your sister and your mother as Adults At Risk. Yiu can also call the County adelsetment of Health. No matter how good her insurance is, if she refuses to acknowledge that she has a problem, there is nothing you can do.

Are your siblings concerned about this as well? Have you met with them to decide what is the best course of action? Does your mother live with your grandmother and take care of her? Your mother’s mental state, lack of hygiene for herself and probably your grandmother as well and the hoarding situation is putting them at serious risk.

You will need to enlist the help of city and county agencies for help. There are too many issues here for one person to deal with.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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JoAnn29 Dec 11, 2018
Its his sister and mother.
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