Constant stress, and paperwork

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Angela T, Aug 29, 2015.

  1. Angela T

    Angela T Registered User

    Jul 13, 2014
    187
    France
    For months now I have had to deal with all my mother’s paperwork – going back months/years since she mismanaged her affairs and refused help from the family (unpaid bills, insurance, tax returns…) – trying to locate important documents in the clutter of her flat...

    I live in France so it has been particularly time-consuming, hours spent on the phone with banks, for example, to deal with something that could easily be done by calling into the local branch.

    Everything has been complicated.

    I am now in the process of selling her flat and hope that once I have cleared and sold it, I will have time for my own paperwork – which I have neglected for months…

    I have dropped just about everything to deal with my mother’s affairs, and now I feel that I want my life back.

    I saw my doctor last week, who said that my energy levels are very low and that the physical manifestations of stress will probably not disappear while I have the constant stress of caring for my mother.

    I know it must be the same for all of us, managing someone else’s life – I know I have no choice – there is no-one else to do it, but I never expected this !
     
  2. Mrsbusy

    Mrsbusy Registered User

    Aug 15, 2015
    356
    If you had expected this I don't suppose anyone of us would have been so ready to help. We all feel the same as the disease is like a gig that slowly creeps up on us and it engulfs your lives as well as the sufferer. I have been trying to stay on top of everyday paperwork for two years for both my parents and myself and I'm sinking fast, and have now got yo the stage of not ever starting it, but deal with the day yo day post etc, so annoying, I would live a week of just sorting it all out without interruptions but that will never happen I know.

    It feels like you are chasing your tail as once a piece is sorted something else has to be done or another letter arrives. Computers I'm convinced make more post not less and call centres don't help either. And don't get me started on bad customer service.

    Hope I haven't depressed you more but I do sympathise with you.
     
  3. Angela T

    Angela T Registered User

    Jul 13, 2014
    187
    France
    No Mrs Busy, you have not depressed me more - and thanks for your sympathy. I know we are all struggling with this.

    Your pseudo says it all.

    You are so right - once one thing is sorted, something else comes along, another letter, en email, a phone call... I agree about computers, my heart drops when I see yet another request for information, or something... that I have to search for...

    It is never-ending !

    I too feel I am sinking fast, since I do not get round to my own paperwork - it just piles up!
     
  4. cragmaid

    cragmaid Registered User

    Oct 18, 2010
    7,963
    North East England
    Hiya, actually I found computers and online banking in particular a great help when I took over Mum's paperwork. I could correct and diarise everything without having to be there ( although I was nearly always there:rolleyes: or so it seemed). I then sat with her files, envelopes etc and went through them all, shredding as I went. In fact I burned out the motor on one shredder. Mum was a hoarder. Dad, who died 25 years ago, was also of the school who kept financial documents forever in case the Tax Man wanted them....so there was a lot to be shredded.
    Good luck, it gets better...honest!!
     
  5. irishmanc

    irishmanc Registered User

    Jan 14, 2015
    64
    Manchester
    Hi Angela, I totally agree with you. It's like having a second job. I also live in another country (UK and my parents are in Ireland). I'm always surprised by how poorly organised some businesses are with regard to dealing with next of kin who live overseas. Ireland has so many people who've emigrated, you'd think they'd expect this!
     
  6. Angela T

    Angela T Registered User

    Jul 13, 2014
    187
    France
    Yes I know I must learn how to use online banking, but I haven't got round to it - I will try and get to it today, I just feel it will take ages... and I am feeling SO overwhelmed... I'm beginning to feel I can't do any more... There's no time off, is there ?

    Every day it seems that my priority is sorting out things for my mother. At the moment it's constant emails and phone calls re: the sale of her flat, and all the problems that have arisen.

    I have a LONG list, I never get to the end, it just seems to get longer.

    The shredder is a good idea, thanks ! I will have to clear the clutter and documents etc... in her flat next month - something else to look forward to !

    I hope it does get better - once I have cleared and sold the flat, I feel it will ease up... I keep thinking, what else will crop up now ? and something always does !
     
  7. looviloo

    looviloo Registered User

    May 3, 2015
    464
    Female
    Cheshire
    Angela, I wish I had a magic wand and could rid us of the problems and paperwork we're having to deal with. I keep telling myself that this level of bureaucracy can't go on forever, and there'll come a time when it calms down. I live in hope! It must be doubly difficult for you, having to deal with it from a distance. You have my sympathy. I can only suggest tackling one issue at a time, and writing down as much as you can (I find that helps me). And as you say, once the flat is sold that will be a weight lifted from your shoulders. Take care of yourself x
     
  8. Angela T

    Angela T Registered User

    Jul 13, 2014
    187
    France
    Thanks, I'm sorry you're having to deal with all this from distance too - it does make everything more difficult and more time-consuming.

    Yes I thought the same thing a while ago - this is a full-time job. It was, from January till July, (3 different NHs, 2 hospitals, frequent trips to the UK, then transfer to France - in addition to the ongoing backlog of paperwork). In August I felt exhausted and depressed, I felt like I was living someone else's life. So I stopped and only did the urgent things, not to hold up the sale of the flat.

    I now need to find a balance so I can continue doing what I have to for my mother, without feeling resentful, but gradually getting my life back...

    That is what we are all trying to do I suppose - find a balance.
     
  9. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    4,624
    USA
    Angela, I mean to reply to your thread earlier. I definitely hear you on how it's a full time job, to take care of someone else's life (paperwork, bills, legal and financial concerns, plus the practical stuff). Long distance makes it even harder. I've been there with the cleaning-out of both my mother's place (she has dementia and is now in a care home) as well as for another elderly relative a few years ago (other health problems). It's hard work and it's overwhelming and as you say, it does take over.

    I have a couple of practical suggestions, if you are open to those. If not, feel free to ignore me, I won't be offended! You've probably thought of it all on your own, anyway, but it can't hurt to put it out there. Maybe others have further ideas or suggestions or would tell us what kind of system works for them?

    First is get the online banking sorted. It can be a pain to get it set up but then it's SO much easier than dealing with all the paper. Also, and this may sound silly, but every time I had to physically get out the checkbook and write a check, I got upset, especially at the beginning (six months ago). Now I pay for almost everything online and somehow, it's less emotional and more just "taking care of business" for me. (Basically what I'm saying is that I stopped crying every time I had to pay a bill.) I really think you would find this helpful.

    Secondly, and I don't know about where you are, but here in the States, there are places where you can take things to be shredded, or, for enough money, arrange the secure shredding to come to you. There was so much paper from my mother's place (because she didn't take care of anything for years) that there is no way I am spending my time hunched over a shredder. I've been boxing/bagging it up as I go through it, and will take it all in one trip to a local shredding company for a nominal fee. When we cleaned out my elderly relative's house (35 years worth of paperwork and junk), I had the shredding company come to us--that was even better.

    I cleared out a section of filing cabinet to use just for paper files for my mother's stuff, so it's not in with my things. May sound silly, but I needed the separation, as well as to be able to find things I needed for her, quickly. As time goes on I'm figuring out what I do and don't need to keep.

    Also, I deal with my mother's paperwork at my desk, because that's where I use the computer and have work space. I was resentful that my mother's junk was all over my desk--again, may sound silly, but there it is. So I got a filing bin sort of thing and all the "active" paperwork related to my mother goes in there. I can't lose it in the clutter on the desk, it doesn't get mixed up with my stuff (like you, not that I've had time to deal with my own life), and I can grab what I need quickly if there's a phone call or email to deal with.

    I'm still struggling to keep up with a lot of the moving parts and have been toying with a notebook or binder of some sort, to keep track of things like phone calls back and forth from various doctors and the insurance people and so forth. Previously I did have a notebook with all her medical stuff in it, chronologically, but I think I need to re-arrange this into a binder. Otherwise I can't remember what day I left a voicemail for the home insurance agent and which doctor's office needs a copy of which form faxed to which number and all that sort of thing.

    I did put all my mother's doctors and other info into the contacts on my phone, which helps, as I always have that with me. And I got so tired of being asked to produce a copy of the PoA by the bank, the utility company, and so forth, that I now have a copy in permanent residence in my car, just in case!

    I hope there is something there that's helpful. I know that overwhelmed feeling and it is awful.
     
  10. Long-Suffering

    Long-Suffering Registered User

    Jul 6, 2015
    426
    I sympathize with you all. I'm in the same boat. Live 6,000 miles away and I'm an only child. Dad has dementia and mum has absolutely no idea how to do anything financial (always relied on dad). She doesn't even know how to read her own bank statement. In fact, she didn't know what a bank statement even was. I have to do everything for her via email or phone. The 9-hour time difference is a killer too. I'm up all hours of the night.

    All the best,

    LS
     
  11. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    9,319
    Female
    South coast
    I have done pretty much everything else you suggested, but I hadnt thought of that. Its a really good idea :D
    Thank you - I shall implement it
     
  12. Angela T

    Angela T Registered User

    Jul 13, 2014
    187
    France
    Thanks looviloo - a magic wand, YES, that's just what I need !

    When this all started in January, I thought it would be a few months and then I would get back to my stuff - I had a couple of projects starting up that I was excited about... and as the months went by, I kept thinking "How can all this take up my whole life ?... Am I slow, or inefficient...?"

    It feels lonely - I'm not really sure my husband and children understand how this gets hold of you and doesn't let go....

    My mother of course has no understanding of what I'm having to do for her - or that her arrogance and lack of compliance for years has caused all these problems that I now have to deal with...

    Thank you for your sympathy, yes I try and deal with one thing at a time, I write stuff down (can't always read it afterwards though!) and am trying now to take care of myself and not get overwhelmed...

    Like you, I tell myself this must get better - sometime,

    Take care!
     
  13. Mrsbusy

    Mrsbusy Registered User

    Aug 15, 2015
    356
    Another tip for paperwork, organising apts or just calling companies is to keep a diary. A4 is great as you can note down details of hospital outcome, utility co conversations etc and then if you need to look up or refer to when it was its in black and white. Stress reduced!

    I'm not sure about the wording of POA but if they are kept in car and car or document stolen is there not a risk of fraud? Maybe totally wrong but I would be concerned.

    I also try to keep paperwork separate, but it's weird how you prioritise their stuff before your own isn't it?
     
  14. Angela T

    Angela T Registered User

    Jul 13, 2014
    187
    France
    Thank you so much Amy, yes it IS overwhelming - and I feel more normal now, I see that it's the same for all of us who have to take over the affairs of our parents/partners...

    I have to go to London in October to clear the flat, so I have started organising that - and I hope that after mid-October, I'll spend more manageable amounts of time each week, and not every day, on my mother's affairs.

    Thank you for your practical suggestions - I managed to sort out online banking on Sunday - but my mother's accounts have not been put online - although the bank said they had ! So more phone calls today to get that done. In 2 weeks' time I'll be able to do most things online.

    Yes I will look into shredding - I'll see if there are places nearby that offer to do it.

    Your description of your mother's papers on YOUR desk really struck a chord. I do all my paperwork at the large table in the dining area - and I do resent the piles of papers/files for my mother's stuff which have taken up permanent residence there for months now ! They are a constant reminder... of what I have to do...

    I will now remove them, and file them elsewhere - and put MY papers there - to start dealing with, I hope!

    I write notes on A4 paper, I file everything in plastic folders while I am dealing with it, and then file away in loose leaf binders when I have dealt with it.

    I had a complete break in August, I had to - and am getting back to it all now...

    I will feel better with it out of sight, and trying to deal with it in small chunks !

    Thanks again, and take care.
     
  15. Beetroot

    Beetroot Registered User

    Aug 19, 2015
    363
    When I worked I got in the habit of keeping an a4 notebook on my desk and scribbling whenever someone asked me to do something or someone phoned. Now I'm retired, I have what I call my "Mum book". It sits on my desk and I scribble notes in there -the essentials of conversations with social services, other agencies, about her house sale, anything to do with her. I take the book to medical appointments and scribble notes of what's said in it. The good thing about it is you can look back for months if you need to to find out who said what when. I have a similar book for my own stuff. It's far easier than scribbling on bits of paper that get lost.
     
  16. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    4,624
    USA
    I had to Google what an A4 notebook is! It's fun to learn new British English, thank you.

    Mrsbusy, I had not thought about keeping the PoA in my car being a security risk, so I will consider that. It wouldn't be ideal if it went missing but it's a copy, not an original, and it doesn't have anything terribly personal in it (no date of birth, addresses, or anything like that), just her name and my name.

    I know identity theft happens but what would a thief do with just her name? Perhaps go after a bank account, but it seems unlikely a thief would know what bank to try? Certainly they could try all the major ones but they wouldn't have account numbers, and I don't know how far they would get without her account number. (If they'd like to take over paying her phone or cable TV bill they are welcome to it!)

    I'm not sure. I will think about it some more and let you know. In the meantime, it hasn't been stolen yet and it's saved me at least two return trips to the bank et cetera.

    Angela, I hope the flat-clearing in October goes as well as possible. Not a fun job, no matter how you look at it. I'm glad if any of my suggestions are helpful for anyone. I might just go get myself a notebook now!
     
  17. Angela T

    Angela T Registered User

    Jul 13, 2014
    187
    France
    Beetroot,
    Thanks, yes, an A4 notebook is a GOOD idea - I write on loose A4 sheets, but they get in a mess - a notbeook would be tidier.

    I will get one.

    Amy
    Thanks, yes I am not looking forward to clearing the flat but I see it as the last major task in dealing with the backlog of stuff... It will be a huge relief to have that behind me.

    I need to coordinate going through everything to see what we want to keep, then moving the stuff to France, selling some furniture, clearing the flat completely, and cleaning the whole place !!!
     
  18. Beetroot

    Beetroot Registered User

    Aug 19, 2015
    363
    #18 Beetroot, Sep 1, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2015
    Amy, many many years ago before computers got going in offices, I used to prepare US tax returns in London - all those lines!. We used to use photocopies of the returns. The IRS strongly objected to A4 paper so we had to find a supply of US letter.

    Angela, there are firms, and some charities, who will clear a house for you - not sure what they charge, but i think the British Heart foundation might do it for nothing if there's enough stuff there they can sell.
     
  19. Angela T

    Angela T Registered User

    Jul 13, 2014
    187
    France
    Thanks Beetroot, I have someone who will do the house clearance - he'll pay something depending on how much he thinks he can sell, and he'll get rid of the rest.

    I have already given quite a lot to Emmaüs, to sell their charity shops.

    The hardest part will be going through all the stuff - once that is done, the rest can go...
     
  20. jugglingmum

    jugglingmum Registered User

    Jan 5, 2014
    4,912
    Female
    Chester
    So much on this thread ties in with my experience, feelings and stress.

    I live a 3.5 hour drive away from her house, so have done 7 hours of driving )in a day) when I have been back there to sort things out.

    Clearing her house was difficult due to the state she had got it in, pre dementia hoarding and lack of care of it.

    She has numerous bank accounts - 4 current accounts, many saving accounts all her shares held individually, trying to sort this out when I only have a little bit of time each week is taking forever.

    I am making progress - but slowly and OH has no inkling of the work involved
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.