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Anyone with elderly parents who don't get on / money and dementia issues -help!

(8 Posts)
Littlemissmuppets Sun 28-Jun-15 09:21:48

What can I do- if anything? Dad is being assessed for dementia - results soon. If so it's early stages- he's not completely lost it. Their marriage is Victorian. As a mainly SAHM for all their life (apart from some shop work off and on) my mum has little control over spending- dad used to do all bills and still gives her weekly housekeeping. It's not many years ago ( when they are almost 80) that he 'allowed her' to have a joint account and cheque book. She has to save money out of the housekeeping for clothes etc or at least ASK him for money to spend. I think this is appalling. I left home to go to uni and they live 300 miles away. I visit as often as I can but the atmosphere is not good- they almost divorced at 70 but stuck with it.

The problem now is that Dad is not quite on the ball with money. Some of this is the possible dementia kicking in. They are in the process of renewing some house insurance and it looks as if they have been paying over the odds by a lot for many years. I've made enquiries and found something I think is much cheaper- he's not sure how much they pay but could be £200 pa too much- and they are not wealthy. My mum says she will find the paperwork to check- but has to do this when he is not in the house.

I can see how he wants to hold on to control and be 'the man of the house' but he's not on the ball enough a lot of the time. They've been ripped off with a few things lately- repairs etc- and he even 'tips' people who come and do work for them because he feels they have charged too little.

The point is- should I encourage my mum to stand up for herself and risk huge rows all the time? I think she is doing anything for a quiet life, but my dad is so controlling- my brother calls him a bully. Dad complains if she puts the heating on too much- the cost- but he also wastes money by not getting the best deals for them in other ways.

I feel she is living in fear of him- recently he threatened to hit her if she didn't stop nagging him about something. My brother spoke to him and her about this and said she ought to call the police if he does it again.

Any advice- being so far away is not easy for me.

MiddleAgedandConfused Sun 28-Jun-15 10:26:24

Dementia is a terrible disease and this is just the start. I have no advice for you other than find a support group for relatives of sufferers - they will be able to help you make the right decisions and support both your mum and dad.
This illness is only going to get worse so you need to start thinking about the future and putting a plan in place that covers lots of things - the money, power of attorney, care at home etc.
Please get some proper support - it will help you understand what is about to happen to your family.

Littlemissmuppets Sun 28-Jun-15 10:28:55

Thanks. I will IF he has a diagnosis but we won't know for some weeks. I already have POA via his Will, though of course no one can force my Dad to relinquish control unless he is advised medically. But please also bear in mind that the issues between my parents have existed for years and years.

12purpleapples Sun 28-Jun-15 10:36:48

Is there anyway that you (or your brother?) can go to the appointment with him, to explain your concerns about his financial vulnerability?

Littlemissmuppets Sun 28-Jun-15 10:47:06

Yes, that is the plan. My brother can go as he will drive them there. I'd go too, but I know my dad would object as he doesn't want what he calls a 'pantomime' when we all offer to go along to medical appts with him.

It may NOT be dementia- there is also the possibility of a series of TIAs and he's had a scan so we need to see what that says.

Dead Sun 28-Jun-15 10:57:16

What does your Mum want? Does she want to take over all the finances at her age, under possible scrutiny and criticism by your DF - and with no experience? Could it work better if you or DB managed all their money - would that ease the stress on your Mum?

But as other said look for support and ideas online and in RL - get informed - even if it is not a dementia diagnosis - he may just have age related cognitive issues that need support.

Notfabulousatfourty Sun 28-Jun-15 11:11:19

Little miss.
Just so you are aware, if your Dad has had a series of TIA's he is likely to still have/ be developing dementia, this is called vascular dementia and can present very similarly to e.g Alzheimers, only the progression tends to be more 'stepwise' rather than a more general decline such as with AD.
Not sure what you mean by POA via his will? Do you mean you have been named as executor after his death, or is there a separate POA in place?

I work with people with dementia and what you describe, whilst distressing and frustrating, would be very unlikely to be seen as financial vulnerability per se. Many people are not aware for example that they can 'shop around' for better deals on insurance etc or some like to stick with what they know. Tipping work men also would not constitute vulnerability unless he was leaving himself/ them with inadequate money to pay basic bills, food etc, or the tipping was being solicited but the workmen themselves.

If your mum has capacity (which I assume she probably does as you have not mentioned her having dementia ) then I am afraid she is at liberate to accept the staus quo or not.

If it transpires that your Dad does receive a Dementia diagnosis then I would recommend getting in touch with an organisation such as Alzheimers society or Alzheimers support, as they have some great information and advice services and you would be able to talk through the details of your Dads actual situation and get some advice.

Littlemissmuppets Sun 28-Jun-15 12:24:03

Thank you. I am aware of vascular dementia as a condition. My 'prediction' is that this will be his diagnosis, though it is also possible I think to have had a series of mini strokes and not have dementia. The two don't always go hand in hand.

In his Will I am given POA - this is if he becomes incapable of rational thought etc etc. I need to read the small print but this won't be hard to find out and DH had enduring POA over my MIL for many years so he can advise.

I have already spoken to the Alzheimers helpline before his tests to ask what tests he ought to have as their GP was dragging her heels on it. My mum had to push for referrals and the scan.

What is more the issue is that his control and bullying of my mum is getting worse as he fights his own declining intellectual powers. My mum is on the ball and although she has never handled the family finances, she is quite capable of doing so, especially with support from me and my brother- who lives 5 minutes from them.

My dad belittles her in front of trades people and treats her as if she is stupid . If she tries to say something he's been known to tell her to go away or to shut up. I suppose in the past she has been happy to have him take care of the finances but now she realises he is vulnerable and needs her input. The point is they have limited savings and a low income. He is wasting money that they may need for other things by his poor decisions some of the time. He's almost 90 and although he had a professional career, he's lost touch with prices and rates for work etc so his decisions are a bit skewed.

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