How do we tell her we're taking over her finances?

3 answers | Last updated: Oct 30, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

Does anyone have advice on an elderly parent being the victim of sweepstakes scammers?

Our Mother has given thousands of dollars away in hopes of the promise she'll win millions!

We have recently gotten Power of Attorney and are facing telling her in a few days that she will no longer be writing checks. This will crush her - plus send her into a rage! Need advice from others on the Best way to phrase it and help from others who have found a way to stop the mail and telephone scammers.

Anxiously awaiting answers,

ameppright


Expert Answers

Carolyn Rosenblatt, R.N. and Attorney is the author of author of The Boomer's Guide to Aging Parents. She has over 40 years of combined experience in her two professions. As a nurse, she has extensive experience with geriatrics, chronic illness, pain management, dementias, disability, family dynamics, and death and dying. As a trial attorney, she advocated for for the rights of injured individuals and neglected elders. She is also co-founder of AgingParents.com.

Telling your parent she is no longer in charge of her finances is always a difficult subject. There are good approaches that work. First, the person who is most favored, closest to her, or most trusted should be the one to broach the subject. If your family members do not feel up to the task, enlist the help of her attorney, if she has one, as that person can explain the power of attorney document,and may have prepared it. The parent's physician, if available, can be "the bad guy" if needed, to advise mom that she has changes to her brain that make this necessary from a medical point of view. If you are going about this on your own, I have written a booklet on how to take over management of an elder's money, which talks about this in more detail, and gives you further specific advice. It's called How to Handle Money for Aging Loved Ones, and it's available in downloadable format, or in print at AgingParents.com, my website, or on Amazon.


Community Answers

Kathleen in las vega answered...

I went thru this already---here is what i did-- stopped payment on last five checks in checkbook first- then eventually all the checks but let mom keep the checkbook-- got bills paid by credit card and auto pay on credit card with online viewing of bill by me plus email alerts on charges over $100--also got lifelock and privacy assist thru bank of america--for the rages- i swim laps--hang in there you are not alone love from kathleen in las vegas


Papertigress answered...

I think handling this issue is very much like the discussion you have when someone needs to stop driving. It is hopefully less traumatic when approached with compassion. Consider it to be a long process with many discussions (unless you have already reached crisis stage). Start with asking questions about how they feel they are coping with one specific detail, like remembering to pay the insurance bill. Sometimes if you can get them talking about the tip of the iceberg, the rest of it floats to the surface and they convince themselves that they need help. But don't think that it will happen overnight! The key to avoiding conflict is to put yourself on their side as a partner, not an opponent. It's hard, especially if your relationship is already strained. You might consider using a Geriatric Care Manager to help with the discussion. They are often trained in social work & nursing, and can address a multitude of age related issues. If you are not prepared to help with the finances yourself, that is what Daily Money Managers do. Your GCM, accountant, or attorney may be able to recommend one, or visit AADMM.com.