Shea, from Tennessee, faces a challenging situation as she cares for her mother with Alzheimer's dementia. Her mother wants to retain control over her finances, and Shea is unsure about her legal obligations regarding her mother's checkbook. This complex situation is one that many caregivers can relate to, and it requires careful consideration and handling.
Understanding the Dilemma
Alzheimer's dementia often brings forth a difficult paradox. While individuals may experience periods of clarity, they still yearn to maintain their independence, even in managing their finances. Shea's situation raises several important questions:
- Legal Obligations: Shea holds a financial Power of Attorney (POA) that allows her to manage her mother's finances. However, she is uncertain if she is legally obligated to return her mother's checkbook upon request.
- Independence vs. Safety: Shea acknowledges the importance of her mother's autonomy but is concerned about her erratic financial decisions. Her mother has experienced utility shutoffs, spent money on unnecessary items, and made significant payment errors.
- Conflict and Threats: Shea's mother repeatedly requests her checkbook and has even threatened to involve the police, claiming it's stolen.
Navigating the Situation
This complex issue requires a multifaceted approach, as Alzheimer's dementia brings unique challenges. Here are some suggestions for Shea and others in similar situations:
- Maintain Financial Access: Ensure that you have continuous access to your mother's financial accounts. This allows you to handle bills, payments, and monitor her financial well-being.
- Establish Communication: Visit your mother's bank and inform them of her Alzheimer's diagnosis. Provide them with a copy of your financial POA to keep on file. Credit card companies should also be notified.
- Creative Solutions: Consider creative alternatives, such as providing your mother with fake checks to use. Ensure these checks are not mailed, as this could lead to potential issues.
- Redirect and Communicate: Expect that redirecting your mother may be necessary. Try different communication techniques to address her concerns and needs without causing distress.
- Focus on Strengths: As Alzheimer's progresses, concentrate on your mother's remaining abilities and strengths rather than dwelling on what she can no longer do.
- Support and Resources: Seek support from local Alzheimer's associations or support groups. They can provide guidance and connect you with resources to help manage the challenges you face.
In conclusion, Shea's situation highlights the complexity of caregiving for a loved one with Alzheimer's dementia, particularly concerning financial matters. It's crucial to balance autonomy and safety while seeking guidance and support to navigate these challenging waters. Alzheimer's caregiving is a journey that requires patience, adaptability, and a commitment to the well-being of your loved one.