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Elder Abuse
Old 09-24-2006, 10:54 AM   #1
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Elder Abuse

There was an article in the Houston Chronicle today about elder abuse. It started off with the typical sad story of a 70 yr old woman whose son sold off all of her possessions and she now lives in an empty house.

It got me thinking. Many of us on this board have, are or will be taking care of elder parents. Unfortunately, the mind is frequently the first thing that goes if they make it to their 70s. I can see where even a well meaning child can get cross-ways with an elderly parent.

My FIL has Alzheimer's (or Vascular Degeneration as DW likes to say) and is in an assisted living facility. He still has a good deal of cognizant ability but is well past managing anything financial. DW and I are in the process of selling off his assets to pay for his and MIL's care (she's in a nursing home with Parkinson's & dementia). Our recent milestone was selling his 2003 Escalade he bought for close to full list price and had a wonderful loan to go with it. We got just enough to pay off the loan.

While trying to get his signature to sell his car, he got angry and said "he didn't want any of his things sold without his permission and he isn't giving it. Now or ever!" He also said there would be serious consequences if he found out anyone had.

We managed to sell the car without committing fraud but the plan is not to tell him we did. We're also about to have an estate sale to clean out their house. The house will then, hopefully, be put on the market as soon as my tormented DW can muster the courage.

So, I'm waiting for him to find out from one of his well meaning friends. Many of whom don't seem much better off mentally than he is but they're still living at home and driving the roads. When that happens, I expect the police to get a call.

Get ready boys and girls. If it hasn't already happened, it will. Just hope you're not the sibling that lives the closest although I've heard stories of sons living in the same town refusing to do anything and forcing dear sister to come in from two states away.
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Re: Elder Abuse
Old 09-24-2006, 11:06 AM   #2
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Re: Elder Abuse

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Originally Posted by 2B
Get ready boys and girls. If it hasn't already happened, it will. Just hope you're not the sibling that lives the closest although I've heard stories of sons living in the same town refusing to do anything and forcing dear sister to come in from two states away.
Strange how that happens. My FIL moved several years ago, just before he fell and the resulting brain injury requires 24 hour care. He has four kids who live closer, but it's my wife who drives an hour each way to go with him to the doctors' appointments, and her sister who lives 5 hours away that handles his finances and pays the bills.
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Re: Elder Abuse
Old 09-24-2006, 12:20 PM   #3
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Re: Elder Abuse

Hi 2B.

I just posted something applicable on another thread in this forum Help in Caring for the Elderly http://early-retirement.org/forums/i...p?topic=9616.0

I would recommend a look see.

Taking care of aging parents and all the challenges that the situation brings up is a hefty life lesson. It affects the family on many levels - financial, emotional and mental. Marriages are influenced and sometimes dissembled, finances disturbed, and the commitment to jobs can be disrupted.

I wish you all the very best in getting the care your loved one needs.

More about my mom's story which was published in the Santa Cruz Metro, click here: http://www.retireearlylifestyle.com/betty.htm

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Re: Elder Abuse
Old 09-24-2006, 12:44 PM   #4
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Re: Elder Abuse

It is probably too late for you, but when my father realized he was losing his faculties, he gave my sister serveral powers of attourney to give her control of his assets and health care decisions. After they get dotty, it is very difficult to get this power of attourney (through the courts, I am told).

When we lived in Florida, there was a scandal of a woman who sought out dotty oldsters (even ones who had family!), went to court and secured the power of attourney over their assets and stole them blind--all perfectly legally.

Protect your relatives and yourselves. Plan for diminished abilities.

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Re: Elder Abuse
Old 09-24-2006, 02:50 PM   #5
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Re: Elder Abuse

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Originally Posted by Ed_The_Gypsy
It is probably too late for you, but when my father realized he was losing his faculties, he gave my sister serveral powers of attourney to give her control of his assets and health care decisions.* After they get dotty, it is very difficult to get this power of attourney (through the courts, I am told).
About 5 years ago, just after my father died, I asked my wife to check into their parents' POAs. My father had it all together and it made life much easier on my sisters (I lived 2000 miles away). My inlaws had nothing but a will done in the 1960s. No POAs of any kind. I pestered my wife until she pestered them into getting one. They didn't see any reason they needed one. No one would question their spouse or their daughter handling their affairs. DUH!

Well, we got all the right POA paperwork and it's still a POS. The POA doesn't work on autos in Texas. We needed a separate Auto POA and that was a real piece of work by my son to get my FIL to sign it. Different financial institutions want the POA in different formats and they want their own special forms for doctors to fill out documenting their incapacity.

I want everyone here to view me as "Jacob Marley" coming to warn you about the 3 ghosts who will visit you. The only problem is the next morning there's no Christmas goose and no Tiny Tim. It just goes on and on.

Without the POA's, we'd be next to hopeless. We'd be trying to get guardianship and then the county court would appoint a legal representative (high priced lawyer buddy of the judge) to "protect their rights."

I first registered on this board as "Soon 2B" but shortened it when I realized I have enough cash to bale now with a little creative budgeting. There's not much point when my wife is going crazy getting all of the stuff straightened out. I give advice on what to do but she has trouble getting past her father's condition and "wishes." Intellectually she's there but the general's daughter has always obeyed orders. Not mine, of course. He was always very authoritarian and in charge. He still acts that way but it is so clear that he can't keep up with what's happening or where he's at.

I am hoping that she will finish the final few steps where we can concentrate their assets, sell the property and get that out of the way. There are care issues for both of them to get "stable" with the facility and USFHP (DOD medical insurance, great coverage but not user friendly).

So far, we haven't been able to leave town for a weekend without getting an emergency call on something.
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Re: Elder Abuse
Old 09-24-2006, 06:27 PM   #6
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Re: Elder Abuse

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2B
Just hope you're not the sibling that lives the closest although I've heard stories of sons living in the same town refusing to do anything and forcing dear sister to come in from two states away.
Right. My sister was the best when my M &D went downhill. I like to think I would have done OK, but I was 2500 miles away. My other 2 brothers were in town, but not much help.

I love my sons, but if I had understood this principle I would have kept shooting live until I also got a DD.

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Re: Elder Abuse
Old 09-24-2006, 11:34 PM   #7
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Re: Elder Abuse

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My sister was the best when my M &D went downhill. I like to think I would have done OK, but I was 2500 miles away.
Ha,

Our circumstances were similar.

My sister and her husband looked after our parents heroically. They lived near by and we were far away. We have always been a close family, but we simply couldn't be there. They make pretty odd saints, but they earned it.

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Re: Elder Abuse
Old 09-25-2006, 06:50 AM   #8
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Re: Elder Abuse

A POA, a will and a living will are essential for me, even at my age of 48.

When something happens to me the last thing I want DH to experience is arguments on legal powers, guardianship, court hearings and lawyer issues.
He would not want me to argue with his siblings.

We also received POAs and living will from my mom some months ago.

As I am only child and childless we even deposited a full set of all documents with close friends and gave them POA in a sealed envelope for such situation so that in case something happens to both of us at the same time my mom (78) knows who to turn to.
It helps that our friends are both judges and I am an inhouse counsel.

Sometimes you just have to trust somebody.

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Re: Elder Abuse
Old 09-25-2006, 09:36 AM   #9
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Re: Elder Abuse

Even with POA's in place, the situation can still be a PITA. See my previous post on this subject:

http://early-retirement.org/forums/i...26095#msg26095

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Re: Elder Abuse
Old 09-25-2006, 10:18 AM   #10
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Re: Elder Abuse

We've been talking about POA's that allow us to act in place of aging parents or children having POA's to act in place of ourselves.* But what can we put in place to ensure that the kiddies, or whoever has POA,* spend our money on us without excessively trying to conserve it for their own inheritance or some other benefit to themselves?

I'm not talking about cruelity.* I'm talking about inappropriate frugality.* Example:* The kids put you and spouse in the $60K/yr/couple assisted living facility when you could easily afford the $120K/yr/couple assisted living facility.

I trust the kids. In fact, if they knew that this question even crossed my mind they'd be disappointed because their loyalty has been extremely high. But I'm a bit of a control freak and am just wondering what could be put in place legally.*
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Re: Elder Abuse
Old 09-25-2006, 10:26 AM   #11
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Re: Elder Abuse

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed_The_Gypsy
Ha,

Our circumstances were similar.*

My sister and her husband looked after our parents heroically.* They lived near by and we were far away.* We have always been a close family, but we simply couldn't be there.* They make pretty odd saints, but they earned it.
MIL looked after her parents for several years literally devoting her life to the project.* Her siblings never helped, never shared the expenses.* But the siblings eagerly accepted their equal share of the small inheritance (from selling the house) and went on their way.

Caregivers deserve any possible financial consideration possible.* I hope you had a chance to see that your sister was taken care of.
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Re: Elder Abuse
Old 09-25-2006, 10:47 AM   #12
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Re: Elder Abuse

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Originally Posted by youbet
But what can we put in place to ensure that the kiddies, or whoever has POA, spend our money on us without excessively trying to conserve it for their own inheritance or some other benefit to themselves?

I'm not talking about cruelity. I'm talking about inappropriate frugality. Example: The kids put you and spouse in the $60K/yr/couple assisted living facility when you could easily afford the $120K/yr/couple assisted living facility.
How about finding one or more appropriate facilities now and getting on the waiting list--or at least making a list? Your kids will appreciate not having to find a place themselves.
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Re: Elder Abuse
Old 09-25-2006, 11:04 AM   #13
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Re: Elder Abuse

Just a word in praise of sons here.

My father-in-law died over the weekend. My SO, his oldest son, was there for him all along and for the last two weeks of his life -- bathing him, dressing him, talking to him, helping with paperwork, massaging him, holding his hand when he died, and helping the hospice aide clean and prepare his body after he died. I was never more impressed with SO, nor glad to have him as my partner.

He's my hero.
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Re: Elder Abuse
Old 09-25-2006, 11:16 AM   #14
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Re: Elder Abuse

My oldest brother and his wife were the primary caretakers of my parents in their last few years. He was retired and lived 20 minutes away vs. my other two siblings who lived an hour away and me, 7 hours away. The burden on my brother and SIL was more emotional than financial; my parents had a small nest egg that lasted through the 9 months my dad spent in a care facility and the two years my mom spent there. They shared a room for a few months, until my dadís Alzheimerís got too severe, and that helped slightly with the expenses. (I digress, but the staff did enjoy telling us about finding them in bed together on more than one morning. Not much room in those twin hospital beds for a couple of 90 year-olds, but they found a way.)

During the two years leading up to their move to a care facility and the two years they were there before dying, my brother and SIL visited to check on them almost every day. As others here have commented, those who take (or have forced upon them) the role of primary caretaker and do a good job of it are due special recognition. I will always be grateful for the sacrifices they both made to care for our parents.

I do suffer from guilt by not being able to pull my weight in helping out during those last years. I tried to help by buying my brother and SIL a cell phone and paying the monthly bill. (This was in the era when cell phones were considered more of a business or luxury item and not many individuals had them in small town America.) My other two siblings and I agreed my brother should use my dadís car for the almost daily trips they took to visit them and take them to their doctorís appointments. And when my mom died (18 months after my dad), we gave all the proceeds from the sale of dadís car to my brother as a token of appreciation for what he and my SIL had done to care for our parents. It wasnít much, but when what remained of momís small estate was divided among the four of us, it amounted to a 15% larger share.

I still feel guilty for not being able to do more.

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Re: Elder Abuse
Old 09-25-2006, 11:31 AM   #15
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Re: Elder Abuse

I diid not think a durable Power of Attorney had to go through the court. Is this true in Florida?
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Re: Elder Abuse
Old 09-25-2006, 12:05 PM   #16
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Re: Elder Abuse

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Originally Posted by astromeria
How about finding one or more appropriate facilities now and getting on the waiting list--or at least making a list? Your kids will appreciate not having to find a place themselves.
I like that idea. And I suppose that in our late 50's it's time to take some tours and get specific information about these places anyway.
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Re: Elder Abuse
Old 09-25-2006, 12:14 PM   #17
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Re: Elder Abuse

I had a quick look into the future to what I'm in for when the time comes. Dad, stepmom and I stopped at a yardsale the local assisted living complex was holding. Once back in the truck stepmom was commenting on what a nice place and how nice the staff was, all Dad could say was "it's still a nursing home".
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Re: Elder Abuse
Old 09-25-2006, 12:28 PM   #18
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Re: Elder Abuse

Quote:
I love my sons, but if I had understood this principle I would have kept shooting live until I also got a DD.
Quote:
Just a word in praise of sons here.

My father-in-law died over the weekend. My SO, his oldest son, was there for him all along and for the last two weeks of his life --
He's my hero.
Although traditionally and probably statistically, women carry most of the load for caring of elder parents, even siblings, I do think that a lot has to do with someone's temperament, values and maturity.

Caroline, consider yourself blessed for having such a kind SO! You are fortunate.

REWahoo
Quote:
As others here have commented, those who take (or have forced upon them) the role of primary caretaker and do a good job of it are due special recognition. I will always be grateful for the sacrifices they both made to care for our parents.
My sentiments exactly.

You bet
Quote:
But what can we put in place to ensure that the kiddies, or whoever has POA, spend our money on us without excessively trying to conserve it for their own inheritance or some other benefit to themselves?
Life certainly takes some twists and turns... when someone finds that guarantee, please let me know. Thanks. That's a heavy mental load to carry.

I liked the idea of looking at places ahead of time, and getting on the waiting list. Maybe that would help.

Be* well,
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Re: Elder Abuse
Old 09-25-2006, 05:41 PM   #19
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Re: Elder Abuse

Quote:
Originally Posted by modhatter
I diid not think a durable Power of Attorney had to go through the court.* Is this true in Florida?
It doesn't in Texas but every financial institution plays their own games around them.* I agree with Grumpy that a POA is still a pain.* I will also say it's a big improvement over not having one.
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Re: Elder Abuse
Old 09-25-2006, 06:36 PM   #20
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Re: Elder Abuse

An even better solution is to put all assets in a living trust.

My parent's trust was structured so that as long as they were still living either the both of them agreed on the disposition of an asset or one of them and a trustee, or two of the other trustees could act together. As long as both are alive it slows down the pocket-pickers and prevents one from revoking the trust. When one passed the survivor can revoke the trust.
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