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My MIL dropped the "final straw" on Friday by falling for yet another scam to the tune of over $6000. Thankfully, the bank teller recognized the issue and called us. We have been through this many times in recent years and it is now at critical mass since my FIL died in December and most of her income stopped. We have tried the route of talking with her, explaining the dangers, explaining she would lose everything, etc. Every time she promises she won't do it again, or she will call us to alert us that she is being targeted, but she never does and she gets scammed again. We have no idea how many scams she lost money to...possibly as much as $50,000 as this is how short her funds were when FIL died (based on what they told us they had in the years before he died). She still believes she will win the big sweepstakes. In our mind, something is very cognitively wrong with my MIL. Has anyone ever spoken with their elderly parents' doctor and requested a cognitive test at their next check up? DH is DPOA and is going to take over her finances and we wonder if we would be able to protect her and her savings and income even better if her doctor can prove she is having cognitive problems. She still drives! (Yikes!)

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Talking to her about this issue cannot be absorbed by a mind that is failing her.
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Yes, we did for my FIL. It took a very long time - 18 months - for my FIL's neurologist to finally do some cognitive testing that indicated mild dementia. It was very frustrating. I had written a letter to FIL's doctor about things I noticed regarding my FIL's ability to make decisions, executive functioning, memory, and general cognitive decline. FIL had no infections and yet the neurologist did nothing for 18 months. Had FIL been diagnosed sooner, he may have been a candidate for some cognition-enhancing medication.

In my opinion, the doctor did nothing because my FIL pressured him to do nothing so that he could still be considered competent. Family and friends would visit him and he would showtime for them like a champ! Afterwards, he was exhausted and needed a nap.

If I could do it over again, I would insist that neurological testing be done sooner. My husband has POA and he's always been hesitate to "push" his dad because FIL gets upset very easily. He has severe depression and anxiety and is noncompliant with his meds. It's horrible.

Do what you can to get your MIL the testing she needs and document everything to protect yourselves if there is ever a question about what you did and why.
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Yes. My Mom had concerns about my Dad, but because he is always around, she couldn't call his physician. She and I messaged back and forth, so I called the physician and asked for it at his next checkup. No dementia, but possibly a leaky heart valve, which could explain some of the signs and symptoms we had been seeing. You could also write a letter, that may have a better chance of getting into her file. Also, if you think she is an unsafe driver, ask the doctor to require her to go to the DMV to get tested. If he won't, many states will allow you to write a letter, sometime anonymously.
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Sure but personally I’d go to a geriatric specialist or brain health specialist.
One of the first things we noticed was off with my mom was the inability to distinguish between junk mail and actual bills. We started to ask her to set the mail aside and my daughter went over it weekly with her. They paid the bills together and tossed the rest. A few years before my mother was diagnosed with vascular dementia she was evaluated by a geriatric specialist who found memory loss but not yet to the extent of dementia. She recommended she had help with finances and medication and suggested we start looking into an independent living or assisted living facility . That lasted another year or so before she moved to an independent living facility where they provided meals, housekeeping but that’s about it. She did well there for about a year then fell and broke her hip. Her dementia continued to worsen until it was officially diagnosed about 4-5 months ago. She’s pretty out of it usually now.
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Certainly you should tell your Dr. about all the things that you think may indicate behavior problems. Your Dr. might refer her to a neurologist who would interview her and could identify dementia. The neurologist would have several blood tests and probably an MRI to indicate more about the reason for the dementia. There are several sicknesses that lead to dementia and the testing should result in a diagnosis and identify what the treatment to follow should be. Based on the neurologist's diagnosis the Dr. could limit her driving and may suggest in-home health care or a Visiting Angel to be a companion, which might distract her from the scammers.
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Another thing that needs to be done: Invoke the POA. That means you need to talk to the attorney and probably file the POA at the courthouse where she lives. To be able to take over the bank accounts, the account holder has to go to the bank in most cases along with the POA and fill out an additional POA form - this is important to do while she has some wits about her so if needed, the POA can request copies of banking documents for tax and other purposes. Fortunately, mthr was ok with this and we were able to get me on the account. Almost immediately, I requested all the statements from the last 5 years (that much was just $100). That's how I was able to trace some of the fraud that occurred.

Just remember to be nice while the POA is on her mind so she does not cut out who she's named. As long as she's remembering you are POA, she can revoke with just verbal words. If you are sweet to her and give her sugar and don't cross her, then she will forget you are POA. Instead of being confrontational about it, tell her that you were reading the internet over the weekend, and that people can become suddenly incapacitated with no warning. If the POA is not invoked before then, it can be very difficult to get invoked if she's incapacitated. That you "hope to do her a favor by providing this service and will order some new checks too with the flyer that was in the Sunday paper... look at these, aren't these cute... let's order them once we go by the bank!" It can be done!
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cherokeewaha Jul 25, 2019
Definitely follow this advice! My husband who has dementia the dr. said was an onset to Alzhiemers, and severe depression, has to take 4 medicines to help control his outbursts, sprees, etc. But, when I was in the hospital after Christmas and into January this year, he pulled our emergency fund of $25K out of the savings, put it into a checking acct with his name only and made our daughter his beneficiary and gave her the ability to withdraw the money. $6K had to be used for my dr and late bills from his surgery last year and it took me 3 months to get him to pull that out and put the money back into savings to draw interest! He still has the checking acct and forgot the statement comes here. Total savings and checking is now $9K!!! Where in the world the other $10K went I'll never know.
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Manipulators & narcs are never, ever WRONG, so they have to make up stories to support their questionable actions. You can definitely get her tested for dementia when you visit the doctor. Back in 2016, when my mother had her 3rd serious round of vertigo, I BEGGED the ER doc to admit her for further testing because I was CERTAIN she was suffering from dementia/Alzheimer's in addition to vertigo & balance issues. He did admit her, they did test her, and yes, she was *and is still* suffering from progressive dementia. They were able to establish a baseline MOCHA score of 18 (out of 30 being the highest) at that time, and nowadays she's scoring a 10 and in Memory Care.

Best of luck with all of this.......it's a real challenge to deal with these personality types on TOP of a dementia diagnosis.
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Monica19815, those scams happen to young people who are in their 20's and 30's who have no memory issues. I see this on the daily local police report. It's similar to gambling, where a person is gambling that this "too good to be true" offering is the real thing.

I constantly have to reel in my boss and my sign other whenever they find an email with such an offering. Come on guys, Bill Gates isn't going to give you a free computer. And no, you are not inheriting a million dollars from a relative you never heard of, and HELLO that so call relative is far removed from the original country of your ancestors.

I think it is time for whomever is your Mom-in-law's financial Power of Attorney to step in as Mom isn't making wise financial choices. Start by having all the bills re-addressed to the POA.

Then have the POA's name added to all of the bank accounts. That usually is best done when Mom-in-law is sitting right there next to the POA at the bank. Prior to going to the bank you can use "theraputic fibs" saying that there is a new law that anyone 90 or older, the son's name needs to be added on the checking account, otherwise the State will take over the account. Or whatever "fib" you think she will believe.

I had to use a similar fib to get my Dad to update his Will, by saying the laws have changed and the way his Will was written, the State will get half of his asset. His ears perked up, and before I knew it, he had me make an appt with an Elder Law Attorney.
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Time for DH to take over on the financial end. Take away her source to the major money, add his name to her checking account. If he doesn't have a financial POA, now is the time to secure one. I would give her XX number of dollars per week, maybe in a prepaid credit card or open another checking account with a debit card, keeping only a small amount that she can access.
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DH needs to take over immediately. Take the checkbook away and make sure he can get his name on the account. She should see her doctor for a reggeral to be tested. If she puts up a guss then DH may have to seek legal means. File a police report. Take her with you so that the police officer can explain that she is getting scammed. It is a way to gather evidence if you need to go to court.
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Monica19815 Jul 21, 2019
Thanks for the great suggestions. In the past DH did have MIL present when making police reports and they have told her she is falling for scams but it does not get through to her....she just falls for another one. Or she tells the police that she only "pretended" to fall for it so they could catch the bad guys. No kidding. She is a manipulator and a narcissist and very gullible. Hopefully, this week, we will be on our way to straightening all this out so that we do not have to be on alert 24/7 and afraid of her getting scammed out of everything she has (which is not much).
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