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My mother's obsession with shuffling old bills and papers to look 'independent' makes everyone crazy..she doesn't want to do anything else. She seems to want to prove her independence. We have put the bills on autopay, but she still calls the bank over and over and over to ask about balances, etc., even though she receives a statement. My brother and I want to completely take the checkbook, because she has overpaid things that aren't due. She's narcissistic and thinks everyone else is crazy, even tho she's had caregivers for 8 months to manage her meds and meals. I think it's time for assisted living... or memory care.

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Wondergirl,
Memory Care is good for some people, but, I'd explore what those in your area are like and see if mom would fit in. There are various opinions about a regular AL or Memory Care and there are differences. I chose AL for my LO in the beginning, because it seemed to meet her needs, but, soon had to switch to MC due to wandering.

Does your mom have around the clock supervision in her home now? I ask, because, if she has a lot of interest in finances, it could be problematic if she's not supervised. She might disclose personal or financial information to a stranger or con artist. One day my LO let a salesman in and provided them her ss# and bank card#. This was before we knew of the dementia. So, I'd focus on securing her from that kind of situation early on. Phone scams are also a risk.
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My mom did this. She would go through her mail (mostly junk and scam mail) for hours. I think it fulfilled a need to be kept busy. Due to her dementia - she made horrible mistakes with her money.

I have POA and had her mail moved to a Post Office Box. She missed her mail, she looked for it every day - it was an obsession. When she came to live with me; she attended an adult day care program specifically for people with dementia. It was wonderful program; they entertained her all day long, she loved going and believed she was going work. Maybe you can find a program like that to keep her busy. She eventually forgot about the mail; but it took some time.
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When I had to take over paying Mom’s bills it became something we did Saturday afternoon. We’d sit together at the table and she would have all the mail ready for me with the check book and her budget book. She would sit and watch as I followed her method of recording everything and balancing the checkbook. Either of us could sign on her account so no issue there. Once I got things written out she was in charge of double checking the right payment was in the right envelope. I learned early on that if we didn’t make the trip to the post office while I was there she’d be out in the car 1st thing Monday morning before her sister arrived to stay with her for the week.
When it came time to fix her pills for the week, I filled the boxes for two weeks and then she “checked”. Checking was counting the pills in each slot. We always made sure we had two sets ready just in case I couldn’t get there from out of state one weekend. One set in the cabinet and the 2nd on the stand in the dinette. Once the ones in the dinette were gone she was able to switch the boxes for the new week.
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I agree with taking over her checkbook, but one of you needs to get Power of Attorney first so everything remains aboveboard to anyone who asks. Companies she sends checks to will send them back if no money is owed. Autopay is a good idea too. She should definitely have an evaluation to see if she really needs memory care. But, it truthfully sounds like the things she does are more annoying than anything else. Do you control the actually mailing of these "payments?" If so, would giving her a pack of checks on a closed account work? Let her write the checks to her heart's content and then destroy them out of her sight. As for narcissism, that's very common and aggravating but doesn't qualify anyone for a facility.
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Couple of things- Mom was worrying about paying bills so we set up car/house/umbrella insurance as "once a year" payment. She was concerned about monthly bills too so I handled them as they came and just had her sign the checks. Eased her mind that things were being handled and still allowed her a hand in the process. After a certain point she didn't worry any more and I handled everything automatically. I reviewed where she was financially once in a while so she was fine. No dementia but always had time to worry about things- so removing the financial worries helped quite a bit.
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They seem to worry about money in the beginning. Mom was always saying "we need to talk".
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Thank you all for your insight(s)... It just seemed so weird that Mom wouldn't want to go back to drawing, or listening to music, or 'reading books'... or gardening? I guess this is more prevalent, and we should get her into a more supervised environment... with programs, etc., that can divert her attention ...out of sight, out of mind.
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Bless their hearts. Even as they drive us to the funny farm. Had my mom lived longer, I have no doubt she'd be like this. She was already halfway there...
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She would need to be assessed for memory care, but they can be very good with those who need to stay busy. Where Dad is, they find little 'tasks' some of the ladies can help with, and there's a guy there that carries a briefcase and spreads papers all over a table in the common area. He's always asking about 'the data' or for his secretary. The staff goes along with him, telling him they're working on 'the data' and they'll try to find his secretary. My own dad had lots and lots of anxiety about letting go of the finances, even to the point of demanding to see copies of statements that he couldn't understand, but he'd sit and hold them and stare at them for an hour at a time. Since I put him in memory care, he just asks once in awhile if he still has bank accounts and money.
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You are probably right that she needs a supervised environment. In the mean time removing the chequebook is a good idea (and credit card too), and you might want to go with paperless billing or have her mail redirected to your address; hopefully out of sight out of mind.
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