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Re: Finances and Dementia
Old 01-17-2007, 05:25 PM   #21
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Re: Finances and Dementia

Lazy repeated the number I heard when we were shopping for a facility for my in-laws -- 50% of 85 year olds suffer from some form of dementia.

I will say it is difficult to see when someone slips over the edge and married couples seem to be able to compensate well for each other when they lose capabilities.  I don't think we can ever "know" when are minds are starting to go.  The ability to recognize diminished capacity is probably the first thing to go.

My in-laws were living on their own and seemed to be managing their affairs adequately.  Then my MIL fell and broke her hip.  The doctor told us she would never leave a nursing home.  She seemed to be in control of her mind but after the fall we found out she was "seeing" people and interacting with them.

Then, it became obvious my FIL wasn't right.  My wife would find stacks of mail all over the house with unpaid bills.  At first she would sort them out and put them in a stack for her father to pay.  He never did.  Finally, my wife would stand over him while she directed every check to be written.  He would argue that he didn't have enough money to pay all of his bills so he'd refuse to pay some.  She discovered he was eating every meal out so she started to make him "freezer meals."  He would defrost them.  She put them in the refrigerator with notes on cooking instructions.  They would go bad.  Finally, a social worker came up to her and said how tough it must be on her to have her mother in the nursing home and her father with Alzheimers'.

Denial set in for DW but eventually we had feedback from neighbors and friends about his strange behavior that caused her to take him to a neurologist.  He had the mental capacity of about a 7 to 9 year old.

We ended up putting him in an assisted living facility that has an attached nursing home for his wife.  He spends his days visiting her.  He has deteriorated rapidly and his mental capacity will probably force him into a memory care unit within the year.

Ahhhh annuities and their salesmen.  My FIL put almost all of his available cash into a crappy annuity at the age of 82.  Financially, it was a stupid thing for a person on SS and a small pension to own.  

Also at 82, he was sold a "new" demo Cadillac Escallade with over 40,000 miles on it $3,0000 under the sticker price.  There was a salesman who knew his mark customer.

There were lots of financial problems that we discovered.  Finally, DW is accepting the fact that they are as bad as they are and that they will never be normal again. Fortunately, I insisted when they were about 80 to get wills (didn't have them!) and the POA's. They argued for weeks but eventually did it. DW has their POA and controls everything.
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Re: Finances and Dementia
Old 01-17-2007, 08:04 PM   #22
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Re: Finances and Dementia

We are also in the camp of not having children. However I am not so certain that is a negative going by the behaviour I have seen displayed by some children towards their parents, just wanting them to pop their clogs so they can get their hands on their inheritance.

For us, we don't have any family members we would trust to look after our best interests or our money. We figure by time we get to our early 60s, we will have to have some solid legal instructions and a trustworthy finance manager on our books. We are hoping that maybe one of the nieces or nephews might grow up to be a half-decent human being who would could trust, but we refer to the eldest two nephews as Bevis and Butthead so that is an indication of the caliber of relatives we have.

FIL is rapidly slipping into dementia, DH has finally admitted that he can see the issue. It does scare us, because we are concerned about having no-one to look after our best interests.
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Re: Finances and Dementia
Old 01-17-2007, 09:54 PM   #23
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Re: Finances and Dementia

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
I worry somewhat that one or the other of us may be vulnerable to irresponsible nieces or nephews. My nightmare is that the survivor of us becomes incompetent and a niece or nephew robs us blind.
martha,
I don't know if this makes the nightmare better or worse, but if you are incompetent and in some sort of institutionalized care (big if, and obviously key to be in one that you buy into so they can't kick you out if your funds dry up), then do you know or care where your money is?

I visit my mom and dad in various stages of assisted living/nursing in FL and see the folks down there. For all the time we spend earning, saving, thinking about SWR etc, by the time we're in nursing care, say age 90, all we really need is someone to change our diapers, feed us something not-too-awful, and park us somewhere near a window every morning. All the other stuff is going to permanently fade away in importance, and will it even matter who gets your $. I know it's morbid but this is what I've been thinking about lately.

Still we have some good decades left! I spent the last 3 weeks being completely immobilized with a slipped disc and thought a lot about what happens when you can't get around, your health deteriorates, you become marginalized and every day is a long chore just to keep your head above water. Fortunately after a trip to the chiropracter today I'm my old self again but it has made me think how short our years might be and how we really need to grab them before our body, brain or something else goes south on us (not if, but when).
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Re: Finances and Dementia
Old 01-17-2007, 11:33 PM   #24
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Re: Finances and Dementia

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2B
Lazy repeated the number I heard when we were shopping for a facility for my in-laws -- 50% of 85 year olds suffer from some form of dementia.
2B,

I've really appreciated you sharing your experiences with your inlaws as they became incapable of independent living and the challenges you and your wife faced. But, looking ahead, based on your experience what are you doing to prepare for your own mental and/or physical demise? What have you learned from your experience with the inlaws that's helping you plan for yourselves? POA's in the hands of your kids? Trusts? Prepaid care and funeral expenses?
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Re: Finances and Dementia
Old 01-18-2007, 05:41 AM   #25
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Re: Finances and Dementia

youbet,

DW and I have the POA, living wills and our wills create trusts. When we establish retirement full force and know where we will live will create another round and then I'll look at some version of a living trust.

All of our finances are in Quicken and the kids know the password. All the needed tax records are kept in one box. As they become a little older I plan on doing a full financial review with them. That will happen about when I'm 65 is my guess.

Most importantly, I've told all of my kids that when they see us going into this mode they need to do what needs to be done. I tell them we won't be any better than their grandparents and probably just as uncooperative. They need to know that we aren't able to decide for ourselves so they need to do it for us.


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Re: Finances and Dementia
Old 01-18-2007, 01:03 PM   #26
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Re: Finances and Dementia

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum
i'm not at all concerned with my finances if i see myself slipping into dementia. i've already taken out an excellent annuity plan through the bank of smith & wesson na.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeyd
What rate are they currently paying? .357?
Quote:
Originally Posted by USK Coastie
DW says she'll take pills and booze if she finds out that she has dementia. Me I'll probably opt for Mr. Colt 45.
Brave talk, guys, and I've made the same jokes, but how will you know you're slipping into dementia? I know there's recognition of Alzheimer's but I'm not so sure about dementia. And in either case you eventually lose the recognition.

My grandfather lived the happiest 14 years of his life with dementia:
- He'd always been somewhat gruff & dour until dementia set in. Then he was the happiest guy I've ever seen-- free from all worry, fear, and care.
- He was always delighted to see you, and he renewed your acquaintance every five minutes.
- Every day he rediscovered Shakespeare. He had all of the Bard's plays in paperback but the only pages turned were the first 15 of "Julius Caesar".
- Every day he learned a new joke-- the same one. It never stopped being funny.
- Before we realized he had dementia he ate over a thousand meals-- 3x/day-- at the local Friendly's. Every day he ate eggs, bacon, cheeseburgers, fries, and steak. The servers used to have knife fights over his business-- I think at least three of them went to college or ER'd from his tips.

By human standards his life was pathetic. But he didn't know that and so he didn't have to care.

Think about how you might feel before you show your spouse how to click off the safety...
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Re: Finances and Dementia
Old 01-18-2007, 03:50 PM   #27
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Re: Finances and Dementia

My former FIL was stripped of everything by his caretaker. My aunt was stripped by her niece who had her sign a new will 2 hours before she died. This sort of financial elder abuse is all too common. This is the reason that I am totally opposed to privatizing Social Security. Piles of money attract crooks. You can be stripped of all your assets but at least Social Security will continue. A further hedge against being left penniless is longevity insurance. This is essentially a delayed annuity but pays out much more than a regular annuity. Typically, this type of annuity is purchased at age 60 or 65 and kicks in at age 85. While immediate annuities typically pay about $700 per 100k invested per month, longevity insurance will pay out 8K per 100k invested per month. The big drawback is that the money is gone if you don't live to be 85.
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Re: Finances and Dementia
Old 01-18-2007, 04:26 PM   #28
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Re: Finances and Dementia

i've related this story before but it bares repeating because it speaks here to why someone might consider taking advantage of a window of opportunity to reduce suffering as self-awareness can be retained far into even dementia. this is particularly relevant as medicine & healthy living adds longevity to most of the body but the brain.

my brother feels much the same as nords expresses but i don't want my sil to prop me up in the corner of the living room with a lamp shade over my head.

mom & i started dealing with her alzheimer's about 12 years before her death. so she knew. then over the years there were times she knew and times she didn't. it took ever increasing effort to maintain the illusion of normal life and perhaps we did too good of a job at that. maybe we stole her window of opportunity. i'll never know. but i do know i won't have a child like me to do for me what i did for her if what happens to her happens to me.

even two years before death, when she could still talk, she said to me "this is horrendous. what can you do?" i said "mom, there is nothing i can do. i can only keep you comfortable." we kept mom comfortable and helped her maintain as much happiness as we all could muster under the circumstances.

she stopped being able to use words about 6 months before death. unlike many other's i've observed and heard tell, she held onto a lot of her personality far into this disease, not unsurprisingly as she was a pretty amazing person in her day. when she could no longer talk, one day she was trying to tell me something. i sat with her and said, "mom, i know you are trying to tell me something but when you talk, no words come out, only noises. there is sentence structure but i can't understand what you are trying to say. i'm so sorry this has happened to you."

my mother stopped for a second. looked directly at me. gathered her strength and in a struggling & coarse but self-directed voice she said to me slowly "i'm sorry for you." and then went back to "speaking" gibberish noises again.

that was the last sentence, the last words my mother ever said. she couldn't move her body, she couldn't use words. her deteriorated brain was probably the size of an orange. yet she was not only aware of what she was going through, but she was able to express compassion for what her disease was doing to me.

i'm not as brash as i was in my 20s & so yes, it is brave to say today that i will shoot myself if i see dementia coming for me in older age. perhaps i will miss my window of opportunity. so i'll keep some cash and instructions handy for that. but i'm going to do my best to keep that window open and i'm hopeful now that i will still be brave enough then to jump out. i've done this for two generations already, i don't need to do this again. i'm done.
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Re: Finances and Dementia
Old 01-18-2007, 07:17 PM   #29
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Re: Finances and Dementia

LG4NB,

My heart aches for you and for my husband as well. His dad has Alzheimer's. The thing that tortures my husband is that he will have to say goodbye to his dad...twice.



I believe there are things worse than death, but until that time comes, I'm going to keep on going and be grateful for the day.
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Re: Finances and Dementia
Old 01-19-2007, 12:41 AM   #30
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Re: Finances and Dementia

you guys are awesome, I'm touched.

We lived with my dad's parents and my mom's parents lived not very far away. I remembered my mom's mom has alzheimer and it seems my mom's side has problems with diabetes, short term memory and speech slur. I watched grandma deteriorated with alzheimer until she's in wheel chair, immobile, incapacitated. My mom would pick her up, take her sightseeing around town, take her to our house and make us talk to her, etc. In a way she was lucky because the family can afford private sitter and my mom, her sister, brother are close by to take turn taking care of her.

My dad's father had parkinson and the years he deteriorated he had no will to live, would sometimes said he wish he's dead. I think it was an old age when almost none of his friends were alive. Again, all the while my family was lucky to afford private care. We, the grandkids are also pushed to chat with them although I'm not sure they understand. Where we were, nursing homes are non existent.

On the other hand, my mom is now 61 and out of 5 of us, only my brother lives in the same town. Not by choice, but by situation that requires him to take care of my dad's business when dad passed away due to heart attack. When I read what you guys wrote, it got me thinking. She's in tropical island with not a very good health care system, 70 would be considered long age. I'm starting to see that we have to encourage her to live the fullest from now until whenever age brings her to. In a way, I'm happy that these last 4 years ever since dad was gone, she seems to be care free and just free. It's touchy to realize that after all this life struggle(life was difficult in some years when we were growing up) that she went through, this is going to be her opportunity to be free.

My brother is getting married and my selfish me hope he will continue living with her....after all he sorts of inherits our huge house because none of us is there. I think he can sense the responsibility. I'm trying to do my part as well. I'm making provision to give her money and buy her nice things although she has more than enough money....someone told me I should also spend time so yes I'll do that. I'm pregnant now and had asked her to accompany, I think all in all she will be with me for a period of 6 months this year. She's excited I can tell....and don't worry, I will have a baby sitter. Just want her to enjoy the little bundle.
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Re: Finances and Dementia
Old 01-19-2007, 03:20 PM   #31
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Re: Finances and Dementia

Siv,
Thanks for sharing your story. Good luck with your new baby! Keep us informed and send pix when he or she is born.
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Re: Finances and Dementia
Old 01-20-2007, 08:05 PM   #32
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Re: Finances and Dementia

It is critically important to make sure that the beneficiary designations for all accounts are up to date. This includes retirement accounts, bank accounts, brokerage accounts, insurance policies, annuities, and any other accounts. The beneficiary designations will control who gets the proceeds of the account upon passing, REGARDLESS of what the will says--it doesn't even matter if you have a will or not. So when I hear people give advice about getting a will and keeping it up to date without saying anything about beneficiary designations, it is really bad advice. Therefore, the most important thing you can do financially for yourself or someone who is near the end is to make sure the beneficiary designations on all financial accounts are up to date.
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