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Dad's Finances and Change in Behavior
Old 12-27-2017, 01:10 PM   #1
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Dad's Finances and Change in Behavior

I'm wondering if others have had elderly parents have an abrupt change in behavior about finances.

My dad is 96 and lives at home alone (in my town). He's in decent health, but has started to decline quite a bit and will probably have to move somewhere soon.

About 10 years ago (after mom died), I helped my dad set up a will, POA, etc. We also did things like put me and my brother on his bank accounts, set up a TOD on the house, etc. Basically things to avoid probate. He was all for these moves and freely help us set all of this up.

Lately, he has been squawking about how he didn't know that we were on his bank accounts and how we should not have access to any of his financial information. I was trying to help him renew a CD and although he's incapable of doing this himself, he didn't want me "doing anything with his money". We have never taken a penny out of his accounts and don't plan to. I keep an eye on all of his money basically to make sure he doesn't get scammed.

And then last night I brought him home from our family Christmas gathering and he immediately started calculating that he got "ripped off" because the kids and grandkids didn't give him presents that matched what he gave them ($50 each). He said this is the last time he gives any presents (which is fine by us).

I assume this is possibly just part of the mental decline caused by old age. Anybody else experience something like this with their elderly parents?
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Old 12-27-2017, 01:13 PM   #2
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Sounds like symptoms of dementia.
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Old 12-27-2017, 01:28 PM   #3
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I've seen it before. Is he paying his own bills successfully? If not, he's toast. As much as you don't want to accept it, it would be time to execute the POA which probably requires a visit to a qualified neurologist. He will probably need a CAT scan to show the plaque build up.


Ask him some very basic math questions. What's 100 take away 7? If he can't answer that the neurologist will give you a letter saying he's no longer competent.


Good luck. Once mental acuity starts failing, it gets ugly.
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Old 12-27-2017, 01:30 PM   #4
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The neurologist will also ask him what the date is, who is president, to draw a clock set for a certain time, etc. If he can't do these things he has dementia. People get very paranoid when they had dementia. Sorry you are going through this.
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Old 12-27-2017, 01:36 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by PatrickA5 View Post
I assume this is possibly just part of the mental decline caused by old age. Anybody else experience something like this with their elderly parents?
Not with parents (yet), but with other elderly relatives.

Sadly, suspicion and sometimes paranoia happen in these situations.
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Old 12-27-2017, 01:36 PM   #6
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Sounds like some of the folks that post on this site.

Actually, my dad never would share the details (although I knew generally) of his finances with me (only surviving child) other than to tell me I was POD on all his accounts. I didn't know the details of his finances until he passed away in his mid 90's. The details were not much of a problem to figure out. (paper work was "everywhere") I found "lot's" of paper bank statements that went back into the 80's and were up to date until the month he passed away. Some paper work/receipts went back into the 50's.

I don't tell my DD much either. Like father like son, I guess.
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Old 12-27-2017, 01:36 PM   #7
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The neurologist will also ask him what the date is, who is president, to draw a clock set for a certain time, etc. If he can't do these things he has dementia. People get very paranoid when they had dementia. Sorry you are going through this.
Having recently qualified for Medicare, I get asked to remember 3 things for later in the conversation and name the months of the year backwards at doctor's appointments. When I was asked what day it was, I answered "did I show up at my appointment on time and on the correct day?"
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Old 12-27-2017, 01:37 PM   #8
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AARP magazine this month has a story about a guy who started to get strange with money as a first symptom of dementia. Full story here:

https://www.aarp.org/health/brain-he...od-swings.html
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Old 12-27-2017, 01:41 PM   #9
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I've seen it before. Is he paying his own bills successfully? If not, he's toast. As much as you don't want to accept it, it would be time to execute the POA which probably requires a visit to a qualified neurologist. He will probably need a CAT scan to show the plaque build up.


Ask him some very basic math questions. What's 100 take away 7? If he can't answer that the neurologist will give you a letter saying he's no longer competent.


Good luck. Once mental acuity starts failing, it gets ugly.
Yes, he is for sure showing some signs of mental decline, but he's getting by pretty well. He's keeping up his house (looks better than mine!), but sometimes has a hard time remembering things that just happened.

All bills are on autopay except a couple of annual bills. He just paid his property taxes by himself (writing a check and mailing it). I didn't know about it until I saw it hit his bank account. I check his online accounts several times a week.

His POA is an "immediate" POA meaning he doesn't have to be incompetent for me to use it. I don't really need it since I'm a joint account holder on almost all of his bank accounts.
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Old 12-27-2017, 01:48 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by PatrickA5 View Post
Yes, he is for sure showing some signs of mental decline, but he's getting by pretty well. He's keeping up his house (looks better than mine!), but sometimes has a hard time remembering things that just happened.

All bills are on autopay except a couple of annual bills. He just paid his property taxes by himself (writing a check and mailing it). I didn't know about it until I saw it hit his bank account. I check his online accounts several times a week.

His POA is an "immediate" POA meaning he doesn't have to be incompetent for me to use it. I don't really need it since I'm a joint account holder on almost all of his bank accounts.
OP - This is tough to go through...

Sure he can get by pretty well, but maybe it looks better than it really is as you are not there to see him wander around aimlessly ?

You may need the POA if the helpful teller at the bank removes your name or gives hime a new bank account because his children are stealing from him .. !
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Old 12-27-2017, 01:52 PM   #11
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Sure he can get by pretty well, but maybe it looks better than it really is
True.
Plenty of folks in that condition are amazingly adept at concealing it, both from others and also from themselves.
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Old 12-27-2017, 01:54 PM   #12
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I’ve seen it before with elderly people too, my aunt is in her early 90’s and is pretty well off but always cry’s broke and it has gotten more extreme as she ages, I feel that your tendencies become more pronounced as you age.
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Old 12-27-2017, 01:57 PM   #13
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You may need the POA if the helpful teller at the bank removes your name or gives hime a new bank account because his children are stealing from him .. !
Quite true. MY FIL tried to hire an attorney when he found out we had sold his house (without his permission which he would have never given). He was well over a year into his dementia diagnosis and was effectively broke except for his housing equity. He had degenerated to about a 5 minute attention span. Fortunately, he called a lawyer that knew DW who called her and wanted to know what was going on. She enjoyed hearing that he described her as the "meanest SOB in town."


He repeatedly accused us of stealing from him. This worried DW but I said if true we needed to move him to a cheaper assisted living facility.
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Old 12-27-2017, 02:00 PM   #14
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Yes, my father started getting paranoid and suspicious, mostly of my husband and the neighbors. It was pretty awful. He also started forgetting to pay bills. He was taken advantage of, IMHO, by an annuity salesperson at his bank. Luckily, he got tired of dealing with everything and let me take over since I had POA. Thankfully, he wasn't paranoid about me dealing with his finances. He also passed the basic neuro test, but when she started asking more in depth questions, he revealed how confused he was. He kept wondering why the tall buildings all over Seattle didn't tip the earth over. . .
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Old 12-27-2017, 03:08 PM   #15
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We've been through this with MIL. In the early stages of dementia she was very private and paranoid. They were living in our granny flat. She was trying to do her taxes (she'd always done them herself and her forms were simple since it was just interest from bonds and savings accounts plus SS and pension.) She'd been an IRS employee for 25 years and prior to that had worked in a bank. She was VERY good with figures... but that year she couldn't do her taxes... I took her paperwork, plugged it all into turbo tax, and returned her the filled out forms. (It was April 15th... so it had to get done.) She was unhappy but sent them in. By the next year things had progressed to the point she would forget to pay her bills and had her cable cut off because she'd forgotten to pay... had her trash service cancelled because she forgot to pay... almost had her electric cut off but SIL ran down to pay it before that happened.

My husband ended up as her and FIL's guardian after adult protective services got involved... She had never done a POA and by that point wouldn't qualify to do one because of the dementia. She fought it tooth and nail but as time went on she kind of forgot that someone else was paying her bills for her.

Now, many years later, she's in a memory unit. The good news is she is no longer angry and paranoid... In her mind she's young and living at a jersey shore condo (vs a memory unit in suburban Philly)...

It's tough to see a parent decline, mentally. Be there... don't take the paranoid accusations to heart.... just do the best you can with your father's best interest in mind.
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Old 12-27-2017, 03:24 PM   #16
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True.
Plenty of folks in that condition are amazingly adept at concealing it, both from others and also from themselves.
+1

I was pretty shocked when the ole man admitted he had dementia and had been hiding it for years!

I talked to my wife's specialist about it. He shared his father had done the same thing. Hid it sucessfully for years.
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Old 12-27-2017, 03:33 PM   #17
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On the positive side, dementia coming on at the mid 90's are some pretty good genes to have. It is to be expected.
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Old 12-27-2017, 03:55 PM   #18
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DM who's turning 88 is pretty concerned about declining abilities. She lives 500 miles away, still owns and maintains her home of 65 years and manages all her finances. I've seen no signs of any problems but I'm worried that since I'm not there every day I'm missing something.
Being proactive she has me as a POA etc but I've not pressed the issue. Based on the prior posts I"m concerned that she knows more than she's letting us know.
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Old 12-27-2017, 04:33 PM   #19
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Perhaps we need to collectively compose a 'Letter to my Children'.

Things like 'I appreciate you looking after my well being. Someday, you may need to sell my house if I can no longer live there independently. If I argue with you that I intend to move home, please understand that my mind may not be functioning correctly. If I deny that I ever gave you this document, then you know that my mind is slipping. I may say mean things, but please understand that the rational mind that I have today no longer exists. Do what you need to do.'
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Old 12-27-2017, 04:33 PM   #20
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One of my friends' moms was looking for some part-time work. My friend lived away from her and thought she just needed something to do. I hired her mom to do some remote work for me and she seemed normal at first and some days kind of angry and paranoid. She accused me of underpaying her at one point - saying she would never work for such a low amount. It was exactly the amount she had been paid the week before and was the amount in a written contract she signed. I even sent her a copy of the contract. To keep the peace and avoid upsetting my friend, I just told her mom let me know what she thought her time was worth and I would pay her that, thinking I would pay her off and then just say I didn't have any more remote work after that.

She emailed me her new billing rate. I sent a conformation email that is what I would pay her and she sent an email back she would accept the new amount "only if I insisted"! This was before there was so much press on dementia and Alzheimer's so I really didn't know what to think at the time, but now I realize after all the articles and seeing it in our neighbors she must have had the beginnings of dementia or something like it.
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