Great 'managing money with dementia' Hunt

135

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  • OnlyAlan
    OnlyAlan Posts: 52 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    I am, to a degree, a bystander in this problem but would appreciate any advice that I may pass on.

    A close friend (who I will call J) has a mother aged 83, who lives in her own house and manages her own finances. J was been able to keep an eye out for the usual problems (missed bill payments, etc) and this worked fairly well.

    Several months ago, J noticed that her mother was getting through a lot of cheques. A bit of detective work found that she was receiving scam letters, each one telling her she was the winner of a large cash prize. To receive this prize she had to send a cheque, usually for £25 or £35. She had been sending these cheques, probably for a number of months. When J asked her mother about this she admitted it and promised not to send any more. She did not keep the promise soon another cheque book was needed.

    J brought this to the attention of her mother's social worker, who brought the matter up at a forthcoming review meeting, at which J was also present. J's mother agreed to having her post redirected to J's home so that J could remove the scam letters before delivering it to her mother. This was documented in the Social Worker's review. This worked well for about six weeks, during which time some 200+ letters were intercepted.

    About a month ago J's mother contacted the local Post Office and had the redirect removed - claiming it had been done without her consent. Unsurprisingly, last week she needed a new chequebook again.

    She refuses to talk to J about the matter, saying her daughter is a wicked person for redirecting her post without her permission, even though J has shown her (again) the Social Workers review where she agreed to it. She is even threatening to report the matter to the police.

    The Social Worker insists that she (J's mother) still has the capability to control her own finances and that nothing more can be done.
    Her finances are such that she is now probably only a few weeks away from being unable to pay her household bills, due to the £100 to £200 a month she sends to the scammers.

    So, what should or can J do? Her mother has become aggressive toward her and the problem is getting worse. J is most worried and is frustrated by her inability to help. Is this the end of the line?

    Advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated and passed on.

    Thanks for listening (reading).
    Money may not buy happiness .. but it lets you be miserable in comfort.
  • 1jeannie
    1jeannie Posts: 30 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    I have been carer to my mother for 16years, I have done everything for her and felt it was my duty. 2 years ago my brother secretly brought his lawyer in to her and got her to sign LPA over to him,with no consutation or dicussion with me whatsoever. I feel betrayed.:mad:

    I fear what else he has been doing as I have no access or way of knowing what else he may be up too. And I fear the worst.

    Until that day he had very little to do with my mother and only visited her once every few months.

    I am still left to care for my mother as she is 90years old this year and I feel trapped.....

    I keep asking why he has done this and divided the whole family up in the process.:(
  • When I went with my dad to set up power of attorney for me and my step mum we were advised the following:

    If the power of attorney is done via a solicitor then they should ask if there are any other interested parties and the interested parties should be written to advising them that the power of attorney is being set up asking if they have any objections.

    If your brother set up POA off his own back by filling in the forms himself then you may be able to object based on the fact that you were not given the opportunity to object as an interested party.

    If your family is already split over this issue then you might as well challenge it.

    On another note, If you end up agreeing to be joint power of attorney with your brother remember to be either or both because if you set it up as both and one of you dies the power of attorney becomes null and void and you end up having to reapply which can take months.

    Hope that helps.

    I must say that some of these posts remind me of my dad and how his condition has developed. He initially didn't want to think about POA etc because he was in denial. The anger that you experience is part of the condition and in my experience as time has gone on the anger has been replaced with a funny, loveable character with a very very bad memory.

    If you try to hide the frustration you are feeling and re-explain everything calmly and simply, but more importantly respectfully, then you may find that they dont react in a nasty angry way. More importantly dont take it personally, if they knew what they were saying they would be devastated.

    There is so much more I could say but perhaps I should just wish everyone luck because supporting a relative with Dementia is very very challenging xxx
  • caitlyn22 wrote: »
    I can appreciate the idea here but I think this is far too complicated an issue to sum up in top tips.

    I hold Power of Attorney for my mum, who has had dementia for almost 10 years, she is now 62. She has lost thousands of pounds over the years simply because it was considered 'best' for her to handle her own money. It is not, she is simply too vulnerable. Every method in the book was tried to allow her to continue managing her own finances but for most people, the first part of the brain to degenerate is that which understands cause and effect, so this might mean someone uses their bank card but doesn't enter the pin then doesn't understand why they don't have money. Or they might buy something utterly daft and then be genuinely confused when they go to buy food and have no money. Once my mum decided she had to be somewhere and spent £160 on a taxi journey to get there, thankfully some kind person found her wandering the streets, took her in and rang the police, they knew to call me as she had been reported missing. This was at a point BEFORE her diagnosis, when she was perfectly capable of convincing anyone that nothing was wrong and when we were fighting Social Services to say that the 'freedom' they seemed so determined to give her was threatening her safety! I know people worry about 'forgetting' things but dementia is so much more complicated than this and so most systems for helping sufferers remember, are actually a waste of time.


    Unfortunately we went through this with my partner's mother and no one would help us.

    She would go to her local PO and ask anyone standing nearby to enter her PIN into the cash machine. At the local supermarket she would hand her purse over to the cahier and tell them to take what was needed.

    Obviously word got around and a when she asked a young couple to come into the house to change a lightbulb they charged her £400 for doing it.

    All the time this stuff was happening no one would believe us that she couldn't care for herself.

    A nightmare. And we are now facing having to sort out her bills when she is gone as she was too ill to sign over control of her finances when she was finally taken into care.
  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,013 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    A nightmare. And we are now facing having to sort out her bills when she is gone as she was too ill to sign over control of her finances when she was finally taken into care.
    It's important to remember that debt dies with the dead person: if there is nothing left in the estate to pay debts, those left behind are not obliged to settle them.
    Signature removed for peace of mind
  • Luis
    Luis Posts: 637 Forumite
    Consider the following as suggestions that may help different people in different situations at different times - I know that not all will be helpful to all.

    1. Seek help from - GP, local Community Mental Health Team (older adults if over 65, younger adults if under), Alzheimer's Society, Social Services, Age Uk - try any and all repeatedly. Make a nuisance of yourself, it works. If one set won't help, get those who will to badger them for you.

    2. Mail redirection to your address to avoid letters / bills going astray or causing distress or begging charity letters leading to spending. Also mail preference thingy too.

    3. Phone redirection or TPS so calls do not come into the house. You can set up a phone not to receive incoming calls at all if you think this is safe for the siuation. If you are leaving someone in the house for short periods only and worry about messages / cold calls while you are out, use an answering service and turn the ringer off while you are out. If calls outbound are causing expense through confusion, speak to service provider eg BT to see about limiting what calls can be made out.

    4. Seek legal advice to get PoA. As stated, setting it up well in advance is ideal. If this has not been possible, you may need to et support of medics to arrange this, or ask social worker to go though Court of Protection. If the person who has dementia is uncooperative, again approach social services for Court of Protection, Best Interests decisions and an advocate if needed. Notify the bank / debtor / companies taking money of X's mental health problems and the action you are taking as next of kin requesting that they cease activity with X until the situation is resolved via CoP, BI etc

    5. Claim attendance allowance by contacting the Benefits Enquiry Line. Ask your CPN, SW or Alz Society person to help you fill it in right. Keep a photocopy. Claim carers allowance if you are eligible. See what discounts you can get on council tax.

    6. Set up direct debits to pay for bills wherever possible, and request utility companies send correspondence to your address.

    7. Put everything in writing.

    8. Set things up for yourself well in advance so your family won't have to do all this for you.
    "It was not my intention to do this in front of you. For that, I'm sorry. But you can take my word for it, your mother had it comin'."

    Overlord for the Axis of Evil (part time) :D
  • Luis
    Luis Posts: 637 Forumite
    http://alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?documentID=160

    Alz Soc dementia and finances fact sheet. I recommend their fact sheets.

    http://alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?documentID=154

    Fact sheet about EPA and LPA
    "It was not my intention to do this in front of you. For that, I'm sorry. But you can take my word for it, your mother had it comin'."

    Overlord for the Axis of Evil (part time) :D
  • caitlyn22
    caitlyn22 Posts: 209 Forumite
    OnlyAlan wrote: »
    So, what should or can J do? Her mother has become aggressive toward her and the problem is getting worse. J is most worried and is frustrated by her inability to help. Is this the end of the line?

    Advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated and passed on.

    We got PoA at a time when my mum wasn't exactly thrilled about it - the Solicitor saw this but also took in to consideration her consultant's opinion that it was necessary. It was frustrating, Social Services were terrified to do anything that deprived my mum of her liberties so we ended up in all sorts of horrible situations (one Social Worker even said "If your mum wants to go out for a walk, at night, in her PJs with no money, she's perfectly allowed to do so") and ultimately we relied on her consultant to 'tell' us when certain decisions could be made, e.g taking over finances - we used to get these letters granting permission for things like re-homing my mum's dogs, or telling us she was no longer able to manage her weekly shopping.

    We've since moved my mum from Scotland and have found Social Services in (Northern) England to be so much better and more supportive.

    I'd recommend your friend contacts the Alzheimer's Society, they have experts in all areas, including fiances, and when we took my mum to see them, they managed to talk to her about dementia in a way that really made a difference and she recognised where she needed help.

    As another poster said, the anger and resentment is part of the illness, so it's important to work with professionals who recognise that trait - so many people working in Adult Services are misinformed and believe that if a person can make a decision with conviction or aggression, it means that they must have capacity to make said decision. This isn't always the case.

    My mum is now happy, safe and having a quality of life she couldn't possibly have secured if she'd been allowed to continue living independently, without support or medication. I really resent those years under previous Social Service 'care' where she was unsafe, miserable and confused, all under the pretence of being liberated.
  • cashferret
    cashferret Posts: 239 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    OnlyAlan wrote: »
    I am, to a degree, a bystander in this problem but would appreciate any advice that I may pass on.

    A close friend (who I will call J) has a mother aged 83, who lives in her own house and manages her own finances. J was been able to keep an eye out for the usual problems (missed bill payments, etc) and this worked fairly well.

    Several months ago, J noticed that her mother was getting through a lot of cheques. A bit of detective work found that she was receiving scam letters, each one telling her she was the winner of a large cash prize. To receive this prize she had to send a cheque, usually for £25 or £35. She had been sending these cheques, probably for a number of months. When J asked her mother about this she admitted it and promised not to send any more. She did not keep the promise soon another cheque book was needed.

    J brought this to the attention of her mother's social worker, who brought the matter up at a forthcoming review meeting, at which J was also present. J's mother agreed to having her post redirected to J's home so that J could remove the scam letters before delivering it to her mother. This was documented in the Social Worker's review. This worked well for about six weeks, during which time some 200+ letters were intercepted.

    About a month ago J's mother contacted the local Post Office and had the redirect removed - claiming it had been done without her consent. Unsurprisingly, last week she needed a new chequebook again.

    She refuses to talk to J about the matter, saying her daughter is a wicked person for redirecting her post without her permission, even though J has shown her (again) the Social Workers review where she agreed to it. She is even threatening to report the matter to the police.

    The Social Worker insists that she (J's mother) still has the capability to control her own finances and that nothing more can be done.
    Her finances are such that she is now probably only a few weeks away from being unable to pay her household bills, due to the £100 to £200 a month she sends to the scammers.

    So, what should or can J do? Her mother has become aggressive toward her and the problem is getting worse. J is most worried and is frustrated by her inability to help. Is this the end of the line?

    Advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated and passed on.

    Thanks for listening (reading).

    I'm sorry to hear about your friend's trouble, Alan. Last year I had to register my dad, who had dementia, with the Court of Protection so that I could use my enduring power of attorney for him. My understanding is that if you have an EPA for someone, even if you've never used it, you must, by law, register it with the Office of the Public Guardian once someone loses their ability to make financial judgements, which is defined as being unable to understand the consequences of their financial actions. Your friend's mother certainly sounds incapable of such judgement to me. I think the social worker is wrong and that your friend might need to enlist the help of her mother's doctor. A few minutes' conversation with her specifically about these letters should be enough for the doctor. I don't know what the situation is if someone doesn't have power of attorney, or whether it is different for a lasting (as opposed to enduring) power of attorney.

    It might help your friend to phone a solicitor (just to ask whether it would be necessary to pay for advice - they might give a few minutes' free general guidance on the phone) or to go to the local Citizens' Advice Bureau. I agree with you that the situation is urgent.
  • cashferret
    cashferret Posts: 239 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Anyone helping someone with dementia is likely to have to start using their power of attorney, if they have one.

    I had to start using mine for both my parents last year. I was - and still am - appalled by the ability of every organisation I dealt with (except Brittania!) to screw up repeatedly in every conceivable way with everything in relation to my use of the power of attorney. Everything has taken about three or four times as long as it should have to deal with because of this. If I were starting again I'd keep a blog and name and shame.

    The real kisser was Santander. I sent them a statement signed by my mother stating that my father lacked mental capacity to act in financial affairs and so, although he was named as her principal attorney, he could not act and I should have power of attorney for her. They promptly wrote to my father to confirm that he lacked the capacity to make financial decisions as per his wife's statement (enclosed!) and so couldn't be her attorney.

    Nine months down the line, hardly a postal delivery arrives without some letter relating to my parents' financial affairs with yet another mistake that I have to fix.

    Some organisations - yes, you, Yorkshire Bank! and obviously, Santander! - refused to accept my power of attorney without my mother's signature despite her being too ill to provide it.

    Every institution in this country needs to revise its procedures in relation to powers of attorney and to sort themselves out. They increase the burden on families already under the enormous strain of supporting someone with dementia. I really wouldn't have believed how much would go wrong and if so much has happened to me, it must be happening to everyone.
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