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My husband is the oldest of four sons. My husband and the youngest are the most likely to step up to the plate to help/deal with anything involving widowed mom (85). Brother #2 most likely to complain and point fingers and brother #3 has had difficulty taking care of his issues let alone moms (he "borrowed" $60,000). Here are a few of the issues we have been dealing with: purse stolen (3 times - leaving on floor of fast food restaurants when she goes to the restroom), junk mail (bags line the hallway w/ hundreds make that thousands of dollars going to scams), won't permit us to move washer/dryer upstairs, drives everyday to bank, fast food, church, stores (WA state does not age discriminate & difficult to report), leaves at least two outside doors unlocked at all times, I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Despite repeated warnings she just fell for the phone scam of "grandma, I need money". As directed she placed $4,000 cash in a magazine, then fedex'd it off to another state. This weekend is the "come to jesus" conversation and I am looking for any advice or an outline for my husband to work with as he deals with brothers and his mom. I have said it needs to be with the sons - no wives or girlfriends involved. How best to let her know she needs invoke poa to my husband now? How to let her know she will need to transition via a move (there is somewhere near her church) or let us arrange someone to leave in a downstairs apt (we can ready)? Just trying to negotiate sibling and mil waters in the best possible way. Thank you in advance as I'm certain I will receive sage advice.

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Thank you all for sharing your personal experiences and advice. It is really helpful. I am trying to put together an outline of the issues that need to discussed - prioritize them and what approach to take verbal and otherwise. I know we can't overwhelm her too much. She wasn't certain what day it was after the police took the report re the $4,000. My husband does plan on meeting with his brothers to learn what each of them is willing and/or not willing to do to help. They can then meet with mil with somewhat of a plan in place. Personally, I would like to see one son handle housing issues, one health, and one financial. My 90 year old mama is living with us so we are busy senior wise already and both work. I know we cannot neglect mil, but boy oh boy she is going to take a great deal of time and patience.
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It's a tough situation that your husband and brothers will be facing.

I don't have any good suggestions now except to list the issues as you've already done, and what you think your MIL will say in response. Then discuss with your husband and the agreeable brother how they can handle these anticipated challenges to her loss of control of her own finances. Be prepared!

She probably has no idea of the seriousness of the issues, so there's likely a cognitive disconnect there that the sons will have to address. And I suspect MIL will be angry and allege they're trying to take control from her, which they are.

If she has any unexpressed realization that she's losing cognitive skills, she'll fight to retain all the control over her own life to which she feels entitled.

In my own experience, I've tried suggesting that instead of giving the money in response to questionable solicitations, that it instead be donated to my father's church with the request that it be used to help a family in need. Then Dad knows it's going for a good purpose, right here, locally, and not to some beltway bandit. This has been somewhat successful.

I've also encouraged reallocating the funds to buy things for the families in his neighborhood that have helped him. That has been successful.

After much thought, I think one of the reasons seniors get hooked into these scams is that they no longer can physically help their families or friends, and they believe that by buying things and sending money to what they believe are legitimate charities that they are continuing to help in another way. So it turns on a need to feel useful.



Ideally your mother's address could be transferred to either of the two agreeable sons so that they could filter out the junk mail, but I suspect your MIL would object to that. If they do activate the DPOA, however, they could do it pursuant to that. I did when my father was in a SNF.

As to moving closer, perhaps you could say that you want to help her but also want to share her company which you can do better if she's close to you. Perhaps you can plan some MIL/DIL activities that would entice her.
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Might be wise to have a mediator at the meeting. Possibly the minister at her church; or he might know someone. This insures the meeting stays on track and focused on what is best for Mom. Sometimes people behave when there is an outsider present. Siblings could meet with him first to discuss options. Good luck!
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When my mom had a serious hospitalization, I just brought the POA papers to her, along with a notary, and said "sign them". In ur case one brother probably wont agree because it will hamper his access to moms money. That's why I had to take over moms. Another brother had taken and stolen from her for a good while. Even if someone moves into the apartment, her funds will still need safeguarding.
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Hmmm, well, I don't know if anyone else thinks this, but my thought is that, before having a come to Jesus with MIL, there needs to be a consensus with the brothers. That allows them to present a united front. If that's not what's planned (doesn't sound like it is), then hubby should have an outline of "why" he thinks "what" should happen....throw it out there, and let the games begin.

And. There will be games. ;)

Sometimes, when there are family interventions, way too much time is spent hashing and re-hashing the BEHAVIOR and not enough time then left to discuss solutions. That's a danger, I think.

As for invoking the POA, that can be done much less threatening by saying something like, "Mom, I'd feel much better if you let me take care of your bills from now on. We want to make sure that your finances are in tip-top shape. It's probably a pain for you anyway." (This will raise some eyebrows with his brothers, I'd think.

He's got his work cut out for him, and I doubt one meeting's going to do it. But at least the seeds can be planted...
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