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We have been collecting our neighbors mail because of her dementia she throws important papers away, so now she has been taking our mail out of our box. We now have to buy a locking mailbox just to keep her out but she will tear it apart just to get at it. Any suggestions?

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Dear Yankeetalker,

I know you are doing the best you can. My other suggestion is to have your mailed delivered to a post office box instead, but I know that can be an expensive option. Sorry to hear about your neighbor and all her medical issues. I don't know if you talk to the postman about putting the mail at another location.
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The United States Post Office has a program called Informed Delivery and it shows your mail and packages coming in the mail that day. All you need is a computer and go to the website. I love the program, it might be helpful for you.
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I agree. Doctors do not know everything and they are not experts in the law. I'd see an attorney to get the options that are available in your jurisdiction. Not all neurologist focus on dementia. I'd inquire about competence issues with the attorney. It varies by state, but, in some places, being competent means that you are able to run your own household. If a doctor ignores this woman's needs, I would be very concerned about him, especially if there has not been a neuropsychological evaluation. 
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Yankee, I understand now that you feel boxed in a corner. I'm sorry the neurologist is so unhelpful, I rather doubt the good doctor would sit back and do nothing if the shoe were on the other foot. His opinion is not holy writ and there may be others out there who will help you and her. ((hugs))
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Hi Yankeetalker
I do remember your earlier posts now. And I'm sorry if my answer was insensitive. I was confused. I hope the locking mailbox helps. As you have probably noticed as the dementia progresses your neighbor will move from the mail to something else. My aunt was worried about identity theft for awhile and cut her name and address off of all her mail and then threw it away whether it was a pizza coupon or her bank statement. Now she is throwing her food away thinking it is spoiled.
Please come back and use the forum. Most of us mean well, even if we are a bit dense sometimes.
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As her POA, you need to make good decisions for her best interests - that's the responsbility and expectation of being a POA: to make decisions for the best interests of the person you are caring and being responsible for their well being.  This behaviour you are describing is symptomatic of a bigger issue - serious cognitive decline. Now that she seems very confused, she probably is at risk in many other ways wouldn't you think?   As her POA, getting a comprehensive professional assessment of her function is probably the next step - and as her POA it is really your responsbility to be responsible and do what's right.  For example, if your mother was sick, and you didn't take her to the doctor - what would you think?  So, that's the priority, I would say.   You have the responsibility here to follow through.  Otherwise, you should organise to pass on POA to  someone else who will act.  With regards to taking your mail - there 's nothing you can really do about her behaviour except protect your mail from being taken out of the box. put a lock, etc.
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Yankee, you are such an admirable neighbor and friend, but your neighbor is no longer safe on her own. We're not bashing you!

Have you called your local AAA? Why don't you want to do that?
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Ok, to the 97 yr. old mom and others that have not followed the issues that I am dealing with but would rather bash me, I will try to explain this. I am her POA, the neurologist that I have been taking her to stated that as long as she can answer the questions given to her that their hands are tied as far as putting her away and I have been taking her mail that is important and paying her bills because she hoards and misplaces things which the postal system is well aware of. I have now installed a locking mailbox and from now on, I will not be joining in discussions on here again but those who care to judge should look in a mirror. I will say that I have received good advice on here that has helped greatly but for a woman that has nobody in her life to be there for her I am just glad that she at least has me. I don’t get paid to help her nor have I ever asked. This is not a site to condemn but to try to help.
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Unfortunately this neighbour has no family to look after her, so unless Yankee - or you zam250 - want to move in and become her 24/7 caregiver then yes, memory care is probably her next step, and thank goodness there are safety nets in place for people like her.
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This woman has no family? Or are they content to let her neighbor’s handle her? I would contact the management of the place and drop it in their laps. In the meantime, find out what time the mail is delivered and beat her to the punch.
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Cwillie is right. I just saw that your neighbor has a lot of other problems. It's not safe for people who have dementia and are not able to function to live alone. At some point, it's just not safe. I'm not sure why someone has not reported it or investigated. It's sad for a crisis to occur, because no one is stepping in. I'd alert her family, police or adult protective services.  I'd also consider that it's scary for the person.  They must be so frightened by their delusions and the changes they are experiencing. 

https://www.agingcare.com/questions/neighbor-hides-remote-in-her-purse-says-people-are-coming-in-any-suggestions-431589.htm
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cwillie In other words, time for the nursing home for the neighbor?
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Yankee, I know you feel you are looking out for your neighbour by providing care for her, but are you really doing what is in her best interest? You have been urged several times to get her a needs assessment and to begin the process to get her into a secure environment where she can be properly cared for, why do you resist? She will continue to get worse both physically and mentally, and unless she dies tragically (and avoidably) at home she will come to a point, she is probably already there, where your oversight from next door is just not enough.
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Either get a locking mailbox or get a PO box to receive your mail. But get get APS involved because it sounds like she can't be left alone any longer. Does she have any family near by or living with her? It sounds like there are bigger problems than just the mail.
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Did her family ask you to get her mail? Why were you getting her mail? I understand you said that she was throwing away important mail but how did you know this and what are you doing with her mail? I'm assuming someone asked you to do this? Did the person who asked you to get her mail have the authority to ask you to do that?
This is a conundrum.
Just as it was illegal for her to take your mail, it's illegal for you to take hers. Right?
Give us more information please.
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If she has family time to get them involved.
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Does your neighbor live alone? If so, it sounds like she's struggling, to be damaging property and taking others mail. It's actually a criminal offense, but, likely she has no intent to do anything but to get her own mail. You could get yourself a post office box, so that your mail comes there and not to your mail box. Or you might report her to adult protective services as a vulnerable adult who is in need of assistance. You can explain what's going on. If she's that bad, she likely has more issues inside the home.
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