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My mother has dementia. My stepfather passed away last November and his adult children are being cruel to my mother, sending letters that upset and confuse her. What can we do to get them to stop?

Thank you!

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If they are just trying to keep in touch through letters, that means that they are trying to be kind even though the letters are upsetting. In that case, you could explain that you mother doesn't remember who they are so she's upset by the letters. If they are educated about dementia they may then stop sending the letters or they could send them to you and you could help her read them when appropriate.

If the stepchildren are deliberately causing emotional pain, that is completely different. I'd still tell them that this must stop. If it doesn't and the letters are truly awful, you could have an attorney contact them. I expect they'd stop the letters then.

Are they waiting for an inheritance? That could be behind cruel letters. Again, I'd seek the help of an attorney. If your mother inherited her husband's money, it's hers until her death. They are despicable people if they are trying to "hurry" her along to death, and that should be approached with legal help.

Depending on what is behind their letters, try kindness and/or legal assistance - whichever is most appropriate.

Please keep in touch and let us know more,
Carol
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I would get her mail redirected to your address. I would sort through the mail, make sure she is paying her bills in a timely matter, and open any mail from the suspected harassers. If they are indeed harassing mom, attempt to get them to stop --if it continues see a lawyer on how to proceed.

I suspect they are concerned about monies they think their father had at the time of his death. Who is handling his estate settlement? What was in his will? Did he die without a will? Who owns the home your mother is living in? Were they legally married or just living together? All of these matters need attending to.
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Can you tell us more about the situation? Do his children understand that she has dementia? Are they writing these notes to deliberately harass her, or out of ignorance of the nature of dementia? Did they always dislike your mother? Does money have anything to do with this?

Does Mother live alone, with you, in a care center ... where? Can someone intercept her mail and sort it before it gets to her?

A little more information would result in more specific suggestions.
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Get her mail yourself if possible and filter it...have neighbor get it and give to you....of course have to have mom's consent. You can also have mom fill out a change of address so it comes to you.
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I had a similar situation with my daughter. Her half brother was trying to contact her after 30 years of not seeing each other. Letters in the mail and then he dropped a letter in her mail box . My daughter had no relationship with her father since she was 2 years old and did not want anything to do with any part of his family even her half sibling. This really upset her and she went to the local police department and they contacted him and told him to stop trying to contact her. The next step would of been a restraining order. It worked , no contact at all since then. Sometimes people just want to rekindle old relationships, but sometimes it is just to painfull . Good luck and god bless you and your mom!!!!
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What you can do to get them to stop upsetting your mother very much depends on the content, nature and intention of the letters. Could you describe what's happening a little more, please?
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DO NOT OPEN THE LETTERS SENT BY THEM! She probably cannot understand the content anyway, and she should not be opening mail without you to oversee the content.
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Send the letters back unopened. Refuse delivery and write "return to sender on the envelope" If you are POA you can have your Moms mail held at the post office or forwarded to your address.
You could always call the Police and file for a Harrassment Restraining Order.
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Have her step-children exorcised. Stat!
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You have several options. If you are your mother's Medical POA/POA/Admin. you have the right to protect her mentally, physically and financially. If you do not have a POA/Will in place you need to make sure there is one while your mother still knows most of what's going on. This can still be done if your mother has any understanding of what she is signing which can be done in an law office. You do not want Guardianship, because in the long run it may cause you financial issues and possibly financial hardship. I've seen it happen first hand with others.

I think it is great that you have concern for your mothers wellbeing and mental stability. If you are her admin. and you know there are distasteful letters, notes, cards etc. being received, then ask your mom if it's okay for you to help her with opening her mail? If what you see that the mail is tasteful then hand her the mail. If hurtful then don't. But keep them for file if you need them in the future as proof for her protection.

I'm my mother's Administrator/POA in all areas and her wellbeing is my #1 responsibility. She is 92 and I'm blessed to have her still hear and she is sharp and knows what's going on, but if anyone is putting her in harms way, it is my responsibility to protect her as far as the law will allow me.

Lastly, your state should have an Elder Abuse hotline's and you can contact them. I'm in AZ and we do https://www.azag.gov/seniors/elder-abuse-information-and-training-guide.

Good luck and be very mindful.
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