Sunday, September 8, 2013

Dementia - BoomerMom's Mom

I used to go stay with my mother, but she has recently entered Assisted Living. Now I go stay at my brother, who has a large house with plenty of room for lots of family.

This is so difficult for me to write about because my mother has dementia. I think she has had it for a long time, but it just was not quite as evident as it is now. She used to say to me, "I don't remember that; how do you remember so much that happened so long ago?"

I never really thought of it as a problem until she almost lost most of her estate to scammers, who were selling her websites for $500 apiece and charging her each month to keep them going, but no return on her investment.

Most of the people said they were fortune tellers, clairvoyants, seers, etc. They took her money to the tune of over $3 a minute for phone calls. Trust me, if someone tells you they can talk to your dead relatives, see ghosts, read your palm, etc., they are charlatans and provided for your entertainment by dark forces that can destroy you and your family.

My brother spent months recovering most of her money. Thank God, she used her credit cards to do all this. He was able to reclaim all but about $5K of her money.

My Mother was a woman who was considered to be a very smart business woman. She had her interior designing business in Plano Texas for about 20 years, but was in interior design for about 40 years. Her shop in Plano was where everyone went. Everyone wanted her to do their furniture, draperies, etc. She could do all the work but had people who were the best at what they do working for her. Her reputation was wonderful. Every one who was anyone wanted their furniture repaired, recovered, draperies, upholstered walls,  cornices, etc., done in her shop. It was a point of pride. Her work was even featured in Southern Living about 25 years ago.

Are you keeping your aging parents on your radar? After all, if they worked hard all their life to provide for their retirement, you should not let crooks bilk them out of their future. You could end up paying the price for your indifference. I would say that at the first sign of a problem, you should step in and even get counselling with an estate planner, attorney, or someone who knows the law. If we had been paying closer attention, we would have noticed things that were unusual, before they got out of hand.

Take care of your parents, as they once took care of you. Even if you thought they didn't take care of you very well, step up to the plate to make sure that crooks are not stalking them like they did my mother. There are people out there who are making hundreds of phone calls each day, just looking for that person who may not be "quite right." They know about your parents mental capacity before you do.

Mother is a very independent person and still wants my brother to bring her computer to her apartment. He doesn't dare. It is bad enough that she orders junk on the TV. That could be one of your first indications that something is going on. You go to your parents home and see "Things Seen on TV" all over the place, some still in the boxes and not even opened. Check with their neighbors and see if UPS or FEDEX trucks are constantly delivering to their house. Mother only has one credit card now, with limited charging capability. She is not happy about giving up control, but is learning to live with it.

If you find a lot of things are not going well, ask to be put on the list so you can talk to their doctor. If the doctor says it is necessary, consult a lawyer about taking over to keep them out of trouble. Take them and have a trust done so that they are protected and the state doesn't get half their estate when they die.

I always told my Mother to spend her children's inheritance. I am not interested in profiting from her life, I just want her well taken care of the rest of her life.

It is not only their future, but yours too. Poor choices on their part because of dementia can also hurt your finances in the future, as you struggle to take care of them. Be observant, loving, and concerned. They are your parents, don't let them be hurt by others. Stand up and take a stand!