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How to protect an elder whose mind shows signs of slipping?

How to protect an elder whose mind shows signs of slipping?


Old 04-22-16, 09:31 AM
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How to protect an elder whose mind shows signs of slipping?

How do you help an elderly relative to not ruin what remains of their life with decisions clouded by old age? What are the early preventative acts if they're not so far gone as to go running naked down the street stuffing dollar bills into the neighbor's mailboxes? Is it as simple as a power of attorney? And how do you judge when they have reached the threshold to non compos mentis ?

And what about driving? What to do if you can't convince them they're posing a risk not only to themselves, but also to others?
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Old 04-22-16, 10:10 AM
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This is all grey area and subject to individual judgment.

IMO, you would want to start by at least giving someone trustworthy the ability to see what's happening with finances and such, if not giving them power to write checks and be in a position to take over without interruption when/if the time comes.

Keep in mind that sometimes whether you can convince them of something does not matter; you may simply need to take all of their car keys so they cannot drive even though they are insisting they can.

Are there other relatives involved? If so, do you seem them as likely helpful, apathetic/uninvolved or as obstacles?

I have been lucky as my 80 year old father is still pretty independent and capable while my brother and I are on the same page with how to handle things. I had a grandma who got pretty far into dementia and her two daughters could not see eye to eye on how to go about taking care of her....
Old 04-22-16, 12:09 PM
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Very difficult time in their life, and yours as caretaker, no doubt. Remember the last vestige of independence is your driver's license. People who have been relatively independent all their lives will be devastated when driving privileges are removed from their life. They are thrown into a dependent state and will almost always rebel. It must be handled diplomatically. I remember this from some older family members, not necessarily in my care, but I was observant.
Old 04-22-16, 02:31 PM
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One of the challenges is to talk to them while they can understand what the options are. Once they slip too far, they just don't understand. In my fathers case he had to be moved from the hospital to a nursing home. They would not release him back to his apartment. BUT, all he kept saying is, "put me on a train back to Montana, which was where he grew up and had been before coming to live with us. To them that sounded crazy, so they had a shrink visit him where he repeated the same statements and he declared him incompetent. Unfortunately, that made him a ward of the state and our medical power of attorney was worthless. Things went downhill from there.

But the point is, unless they willingly sign over their rights, it takes legal action to assume those rights, basically declaring them incompetent.

Joint accounts can be a half step where once they can no longer write the checks, someone else can. Also, that someone else can move the excess money to a another account, but be careful not to use their money.

As for driving my MIL was not going to give up and she was dangerous. As events transpired i did not have to invoke my plan, which was to arrange for our local police to pull her over for driving down the middle of the road, AND READ HER THE RIOT ACT.

Start checking out nursing homes many years in advance and determine where the money will come from to pay the bills.

Old 04-23-16, 11:21 PM
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I once had a friend who has passed on now but while she was living the pastor of her church asked her to take care of a woman she knew and to see that she was put in a nursing home. The woman I will call her Jane Doe and everyone knew that Jane was erratic and very demanding and also not able to think straight. So my friend saw a lawyer and paid for the lawyer out of my friends personal funds.

What the lawyer did was through a fairly long drawn out process have my friend declared a custodian of Jane's estate and all of Jane's property was now under my friends control. It was decided among the priest and now Jane's doctors that Jane needed to be put in a nursing home that could give her 24 hour care as it was believed she had Alzheimer disease. Once the court granted my friend full control over everything Jane owned then my friend could sell her house and take all of her assets and have them put into an escrow account.

It was decided by a judge and my friends lawyer that an escrow account would be best as that way my friend would have better control over Jane's money as nursing homes have a way of using money very fast. This worked well for my friend and true to her word she visited Jane quite often until Jane finally died. After the funeral there was some money left over so the court awarded her what was left. The amount wasn't much but it did help her pay her bills as she was on a fixed income.

A court judgement like that though needs to come as early as possible and with enough witnesses like what happened with my friend. Such things are not pleasant either and it is better if you already have joint control and ownership of accounts. Also if you can try to keep your family member at home for as long as possible because even if you are in control of the money nursing homes are very expensive. The care is not always very good even at the highest rated nursing home. This was true for my friends friend Jane as they tried out one place and had to move her.

I wish you luck you have some hard decisions ahead of you and no one decision is either right or wrong it is up to the individual or individuals to decide and then stick with that decision.
Old 04-24-16, 01:40 AM
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Is it as simple as a power of attorney?
As I explained in a recent thread, power of attorney is only good until the person dies. Nothing beats joint accounts. If he or she has any whole life insurance policies, surrender them (cash them in) now. Put the money in the joint account & use it to pay private aides. The same thing goes for stocks & mutual funds. Try to avoid agencies, at all cost. Also try to avoid lawyers & courts. Handle it with the family.

As far as driving goes, don't just snatch the car & the keys. It's too much of a shock. What we did was ease my father out of driving little by little.
Old 04-26-16, 08:31 AM
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My thanks to you all for your help.

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