Avoiding arguments and accusations about money

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Bristolbelle, Apr 3, 2008.

  1. Bristolbelle

    Bristolbelle Registered User

    Aug 18, 2006
    1,847
    Bristol
    Mum is REALLY struggling with money now. We have agreed how much she is suppposed to give me each week (40pounds) half the time she forgets and if I remind her she says she is sure she has given me it. Or she will go on about not realising she is supposed to give me that much each week even though I have written it all in a book for her. I always sign the calendar when she pays me so I can keep track of where we are moneywise. When we moved in we took out a mortgage that was bigger than our old one so money is tight. If she needs to go to the bank I have to go too because she can not use her pin code etc, and gets very confused.
    On Monday we went to the bank as we are going away this week, she wanted to get some money. The first probelms was that she has lost her bankcard again so we had to request another (U must speend at least 2 hours a week looking for that damned card, and she has taken to putting everything in "safe places" and never the ones we have agreed. Anywa today she asked me for the money we got our on Monday I was 99% sure I gave it her when we got home (she likes me to carry it hone just in case). I searched the old laindry etc and could not think what I had done though in my mind I knew I had handed it over. I searched our part of the house for nearly an hour then went into her annexe and starting searching there. All the time I am telling her I am sure I handed it over and is can she think where he may have put in etc! Needless to say there were several small bundles of money, some in old five pound notes! Eventually we found the money and I know it was the right money as where she had lost her bank card we had taken her last bank statement to the bank and that was wrapped around it. She said she could not understand how it had got there as she knew she hadn't put it there.
    Now I know this is common and I've begged her to let me take on her finances but she says that would make her seem like a child. We have an enduring power of attorney set up, but I feel so bad about actioning it against her will.
    It breaks my heart facing accusations all the time, and the fact that the other members of my family are not in good health either doens't help. My lad is recovering for an operation he had less than two weeks ago and I just don't need and can't really cope with this aggro.
    I love Mum, and I know she loves me, but we keep ending up in tears because of this damned condition - any ideas welcome . Thanks
     
  2. RobertE

    RobertE Registered User

    Jan 10, 2008
    33
    I know how you feel

    Your post strikes such a chord with me. My mum had her bank book, cheque card and cheque book in a "safe" place - trouble was it was never the same place. We had to ransack her room every time a visit to the bank was needed. I am second signatory on her bank account (this was set up before she was diagnosed with dementia) purely so that if she didn't feel like going to the bank I could draw out money for her. She agreed at first and the forms were signed but then changed her mind and resented me interfering. I offered to keep her bank book, card and cheque card in my room so they were in the same place and, again, she agreed and then demanded them back as I was "taking away my control". One day her bank card simply disappeared and she accused me of stealing it. It was only when she was admitted to hospital as an emergency psychiatric case that I had the chance to thoroughly search her room. I found money stuffed in socks, her glasses case, in envelopes under the mattress and eventually I found her credit card on the floor in a corner under the last drawer in her chest of drawers!

    My brother told me I MUST draw up an EPA (isn't it amazing how people tell you what you should do, but never offer any practical help - to him it is my problem). However, mum doesn't have much in the way of savings and I've been told (off the record) that it wouldn't be worth it for the cost of setting it up would take a huge dent out of her savings (I cannot afford to draw on my own limited funds).

    It's academic for me at the moment as mum is in hospital but I know I will probably face the same battle when she comes out. I wish I knew what to suggest to you. I agree, it is terribly hurtful when someone accuses you of stealing from them; equally it feels bad to be viewed as "robbing" them of their financial independence.

    I know it may not be much consolation but you are not alone - I am sure that there are hundreds of people facing a similar battle/accusations. Discovering this site has been a godsend to me. It really does help to talk and know that people understand.

    Take care.
     
  3. blue sea

    blue sea Registered User

    Aug 24, 2005
    270
    England
    Hi Bristobelle
    Your mum is at one of the most challenging stages to deal with, I'm afraid. No easy solutions - you are obviously doing everything you can to help your mum keep some sense of independence while managing the practicalities. At some point you will have to enact the EPA, and when you reach that point try not to feel bad about it - it will be in her best interests. In the meantime you can only try out different ways of keeping the money / card safe. We had a metal filing box which dad kept his money in. This was too large to lose easily. We kept the box in his room, but I kept the key. I know this might not work for your mum, of course! He seemed happy with this as long as he always had a ten pound note in his pocket. I think this fixation with money is very common and is one of the most difficult to manage. When my aunt, who lived on her own, developed dementia, she hid money everywhere and kept accusing the carers of stealing it. In the end we enacted the EPA and just gave her a small amount of money each week. This was a source of endless arguments with her, but in the end you can't let all the money be hoarded while bills pile up.
    Don't be hard on yourself for feeling angry and frustrated - your love for your mum is still there and you are doing your very best to help her. It is the illness, not your mum, which is to blame for how you and she feel.
    Blue sea
     
  4. rose_of_york

    rose_of_york Registered User

    Mar 22, 2008
    94
    York
    Hello Bristolbelle

    It seems to be common for people with AD to become obsessive with money - and it is driving me away from my mother who has dementia but won't admit it. She lives on her own and, in her mind, is independent and capable.

    The reverse is true of course - she forgets and loses things all the time and gets take in by doorstep salesmen and walks around carrying large amounts of cash in her open handbag. And accuses me of stealing from her, refusing to believe me when I deny this. Says the bank told her I have been taking it!! I do have an enduring power of attorney so the bank will talk to me about her account. She goes in and rants about withdrawals on the statement that she denies making - so they could have said I might have made them, but in reality she has had the money and forgotten about it.

    I am beginning to dread going to see her, and want little to do with her as I am being called a liar and a thief by my own mother. She refuses all help from Social Services or Age Concern, so there is only me to pick up the pieces if and when anything goes wrong.

    People say that it is her illness and not her - it might be but her illness is likely to make me ill.

    You are not alone - and you are so brave having her live with you, I couldn't do it.
     
  5. Clive

    Clive Registered User

    Nov 7, 2004
    716
    Robert

    Does your mother have an Enduring / Lasting Power of Attorney? Reading your post suggests that she maybe hasn’t written one of these documents.

    Whilst I must not advise you, I found it to be essential in all manner of things from sorting out Utility Bills to talking to the NHS. If your mum is still able to sign a legal form it is far less expensive for your mother to do it now rather than for you to have to sort things out with the Public Guardianship Office later. As you say it could be a waste of money but it could be worth its weight in gold.

    If you do have to make out a Lasting Power of Attorney you can actually download the form from the internet.

    Possible I miss read your post?

    Clive
     
  6. Nebiroth

    Nebiroth Registered User

    Aug 20, 2006
    3,518
    Worth remembering that people with dementia are often not open to reason or logic.

    They know they are right and will often simply reject or deny any evidence you produce which shows their beliefs are wrong.

    It's probably better to try to change the subject or something like that than try to convince, since it's an argument that you can't win.

    My Dad was totally convinced that our neighbours were damaging the house. I actually took photographs of "before" and "after" and challanged him to show me what was different. He could not, of course. He then cooked up a tale of "there, you see, it's very slightly different, so I am right".

    I then pointed out that the two photographs were in fact the same one. He then accused me of making this up, until I pointed out that the two pictures had time and date stamps on then.

    At that point he simply became aggressive, and just insisted that he was right and didn;t care what anyone else said or did.

    We still get these claims from time to time. We are simply don't respond to them, or just say "oh dear" and ignore them.

    He knows this, and after a while, simply gives up.

    It sounds horrible, and cruel, but you may even have to resort to saying "if you are going to accuse me of stealing then I am going to leave" and be prepared to do this.

    You could also say that, as you are obviously not competent to help mum with her finances, you will be contacting Social Services and getting them do to it, instead.
     
  7. RobertE

    RobertE Registered User

    Jan 10, 2008
    33
    Thanks Clive

    Sorry - I find the whole thing with EPA's and LPA's very confusing. No, mum didn't have an EPA set up.

    I downloaded the form for the LPA last Friday and I'm going to get that sorted out a.s.a.p. I do see the sense in it and will crack on and get it sorted.

    Thank you.
     
  8. Nebiroth

    Nebiroth Registered User

    Aug 20, 2006
    3,518
    EPA's - Enduring Power of Attorney - was the old Power of Attorney. It could grant the Attorney powers to manage only financial affairs. It could either come into immediate effect, or contain clauses that it would only become activated when the Donor became "mentally incompetent" to do so. To make an EPA, the person doing so must be able to understand what they are doing.

    Lasting Power of Attorney replaces this. It can (but does not have to) grant powers to take certain healthcare decisions as well as financial ones. Again, the person making an LPA must be able to understand what they are doing (if they don't, the LPA is invalid).

    An EPA created before the changes remains valid (even if it is not registered/activated). However, you cannot now make an EPA: you must make an LPA. LPA's are more complicated, because they do more.

    It may be that you cannot now create an LPA, because your mum might not be deemed "competent" to do so. In that case, you would have to apply to the Court of Protection - this can be a lengthy, complicated process (and it costs more).
     
  9. RobertE

    RobertE Registered User

    Jan 10, 2008
    33
    Epa/lpa

    Very many thanks for the clarification. I have been able to talk to mum about the need for an LPA and she was able to take in the logic of it (or she was at the time I raised it at least) but as she is in hospital undergoing a lengthy medical assessment and on various types of medication I'm sure that the "powers that be" would consider it inappropriate for her to be signing anything financially related.

    There is a meeting in a few weeks time and I will raise the issue then with the doctors/social workers.
     
  10. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,432
    Robert, while I understand where you are coming from, I would strongly suggest that you check with the doctors now about whether the meds are affecting your mother's competence vis a vis financial matters. I say now rather than wait because sadly, in the world of dementia, a few weeks can make a real difference with regard to someones ability to understand, medications or no medications. They may not be willing to sign off on it now, and that would be fair enough, but I don't want you to be placed in a situation where you don't do something and then find out too late that it would have been a good idea.
     
  11. desperado

    desperado Registered User

    Apr 7, 2008
    42
    Lancashire England
    At last - I now realise that this business of hiding things under the bed, mattress, in boxes etc is "normal" with dementia. I thought that maybe it was soemthing else. My mother has been doing this for apprx. 7 years now and always accused my late father of stelaing but now he's not around and I'm there, I'm the thief. The psychiatrist who did mum's memeroy assessment the other day talked about power of attorney but like you, my mother doesn't want to knw. I suppose I can understand really that if I'm a thief, why give me authority to manage her accounts etc. I will try to get her to suggest other people to take this on and see who if anyone, she would trust to do it. If she doesn't trust anyone, what does one do? She has to authorise it surely???
     
  12. Clive

    Clive Registered User

    Nov 7, 2004
    716
    Hi

    Not sure that I would be too happy with mum choosing someone else to hold Power of Attorney. (I just had my sister in case I was incapacitated).

    It is not easy to get an elderly person to do a Power of Attorney. It is even more difficult when you are trying to discuss the advantages with a person who has early stage AD and cannot understand. In general it is necessary to find a good reason.

    In my opinion one of the best ways is to find a Utility bill that is in credit and say that too much money has been paid and that you will get the money back, but need a legal document before the Gas Board will talk to you because of the Data Protection Act. Another way is to do one for yourself at the same time, possible including your loved one as one of the Attorneys for yourself. In my case I just told mum that if she got knocked down by the proverbial bus I would need to look after her pension and “corporation rates” until she recovered.

    Most people use a solicitor (though this is not necessary). If you are using a solicitor remember they charge what they believe is the right price so shop around and make sure you know what you are getting. (A parking space outside the door is handy). With the new Lasting Power of Attorney you need to know if it will be registered and if you will be provided with several Certified Copies for the price.

    You must NOT feel guilty about wanting to set up a Lasting Power of Attorney as when you use the document you will (by law) be acting in the person’s best interest.

    In my opinion obtaining the Power of Attorney for your loved one is just about as essential (and potentially guilt ridden) as explaining to the doctor that your loved one has memory problems etc.

    Clive
     
  13. RobertE

    RobertE Registered User

    Jan 10, 2008
    33
    Thank you jenniferpa - I will get on to the doctors today.
     
  14. Sandy

    Sandy Registered User

    Mar 23, 2005
    6,847
    Hi desperado,

    My understanding is that if someone lacks the capacity to make descisions and has no EPA or LPA in place, then an application has to be made to the Court of Protection to be made a receiver.

    You might want to look at:

    http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/factsheet/472

    and

    http://www.publicguardian.gov.uk/decisions/asking.htm

    Because of the powers granted and the potential for abuse (especially without evidence of prior consent as in the LPA or EPA) I think this is a slightly more expensive/lengthy process then the EPA or LPA.

    Take care,

    Sandy
     
  15. RobertE

    RobertE Registered User

    Jan 10, 2008
    33
    I haven't yet been able to speak to a doctor about mum although I was able to have a word with the nurse in charge who informed me the LPA issue will hinge on whether the doctor is satisfied that mum is mentally competent enough to understand the process and until I can get to speak to the doctor .... in the meantime time is slipping away and I rather fear it is too late anyway.

    Sandy, thanks for the links you provided desperado, it looks as though that is the route I will now have to investigate.
     

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