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Elderly parents

where do I start with my mum who doesn't understand finances anymore?

15 replies

meemar · 26/02/2013 11:15


I recently had to make an emergency 200 mile trip to see my mum because her phone was cut off because she hadn't paid the bill. When I got there it was clear her finances are a mess - unpaid bills, her bank account is overdrawn. Yet she is overpaying on her rent - a statement from the housing association shows she has 2 standing orders going out and is nearly £1800 in credit. I took her paperwork away, paid off the bills myself and tried to set up direct debits online, though I'm not sure the bank will approve them.

She is not capable of sorting this out herself. How is it possible for me to do things like stopping a standing order without physically taking her to the bank? (which I can't do, I'm on my own, 5 hours away with 3 young children).

She lives alone and does not have anyone close by to help with this on a regular basis. I'm currently dealing with her GP to see what help she needs.

I'm at a loss as to where to begin with this so any advice welcome.

Thank you x

OP posts:
iheartdusty · 26/02/2013 11:21

it sounds as though she needs to set up a power of attorney

meemar · 26/02/2013 11:24

thank you that looks exactly what is needed. I will look into it.

OP posts:
whataboutbob · 26/02/2013 21:05

Yes I second that, get started on a POA if you can. You can order the document for free from the Office of the Public Guardian. You don't need a solicitor to do it, I did all the paperwork for my Dad's POA. Last year it cost £130 . I t did take some time to come through though. But using a solicitor wouldn't have been any quicker and would obviously have cost more.
You will need a professional person / someone who knows her well to sign it, as well as her. Dad was a little reluctant but with lots of reassurance he signed. Glad he did as a year on he can't manage most of his affairs (although he's convinced he can!). I just pay stuff and sign cheques for him now- tax returns, bills etc.

hatgirl · 26/02/2013 22:58

in the meantime you can get an appointeeship for her benefits, which is free of charge unlike POA.

WynkenBlynkenandNod · 27/02/2013 15:12

If you can get her to go the Bank with you they can do a third party mandate, I think it is called. You can then do things on her account. Be careful though, if they think she doesn't have capacity then they can freeze the account apparently.

pippop1 · 27/02/2013 17:51

Once you have the power of attorney you can arrange for her post to be diverted to your house so that you don't rely on her giving you bills to pay in good time. You do this via a special form from the Post Office and it's about £60 for a 12 month period. It's the same kind of thing as when you move house and have your mail diverted.

We've just done this for my MIL and it's very helpful. You can of course post on to her anything that is fine for her to deal with. She won't get any scams either which is good if she doesn't understand finance anymore.

meemar · 28/02/2013 14:09

thank you all so much. That's really helpful especially the part about not needing a solicitor as I was worrying about the cost of that.

I think the best course of action eventually will be to get her to move nearer to me - not sure how that suggestion will go down with her. Being so far away is a nightmare, especially when the doctor suggests I go to certain appointments with her.

She is going to be referred to a memory clinic by her GP so I expect that's the first step in assessing what she needs.

Thanks, it's good to know I'm not the only one going through this. It's not something I ever expected to have to do when my kids were so young.

OP posts:
WynkenBlynkenandNod · 28/02/2013 16:04

My Mum has been for her first Memory Clinic appointment. It was pretty long (said 90 mins on the letter) and she did a whole load of questionnaires then there was one for me to do. The problem I found was not wanting to point out issues I'd seen but the Lady was very good at reading between the lines and would pick up a nod and a shake from the corner of her eye. She was asked to consider taking a medication, advised to do POA, I was asked to have a Carers Assessment, to have an appointment with Memory Advisory Service and she was sent for a CT scan and blood tests. We're going back in a couple of week's for results and diagnosis.

She now has all her meds in a blister pack the pharmacy delivers, though is a hit rubbish sometimes taking them. What I do with bills is try to get anything I know is coming sent to me, I put everything on credit card then give her a list once a month and she gives me a list. Easier though as she lives near me. Milkandmore have been useful for fresh food and I set it up monthly by DD from her account.

I don't know if they are everywhere yet but the Memory Advisor came yesterday and is lovely, she's going to come every three months and is there for me as much (if not more for me). Hopefully your Mm will be fine but just thought it might be useful to hear what sort of support there is. Know exactly what you mean about dealing with this and children, I feel the same and mine aren't little. I just want to focus on DD's GCSE options at the moment but have endless appointments with Mum (she's got problems with her legs as well).

meemar · 11/04/2013 12:01

Thanks again to all those who replied. It's been 6 weeks of sorting stuff out and trying not to get too stressed about it all.

My mum has finally got a date for her memory clinic appt in May, i so I suppose that will be the start of assessing what she needs. She is, in fact, the biggest hurdle to her own well being as she still maintains she's fine and doesn't want help or to move from where she lives. But things are going very downhill in terms of her being able to look after herself.

I looked into getting power of attorney, but when the forms came it was evident that this is something she is expected to fill in, and it makes it clear that the person requesting a power of attorney (i.e mum), needs to have the mental capacity to do so at the time of signing. So we can't go down that route.

At the moment I'm doing my best and we're muddling through, I've had a bit of help from a relative who lives slightly closer to her. I'm just hoping the assessment will make things a bit easier, though I'm not really sure how.

OP posts:
whataboutbob · 11/04/2013 20:23

Hi meemar. You are the best judge but I wouldn't necessarily assume you are past the point of being able to getPOA. My dad was pretty iffy by the time he signed. ThE main thing I think is his GP was sympathetic and convinced of the need for dad to have a POA. So he signed his bit. One year on and after meetings with OTs, case managers etc nothing is in place but POA has already been very useful.
I had to seriously sweet talk and reassure Dad into signing but did so with a good conscience as all the stuff I've done with the POA has been very much in his best interests.

whataboutbob · 11/04/2013 20:25

PS you can fill the form in yourself, all she needs to do is sign. My dad would have been quite incapable of filling the form in.

iliketea · 11/04/2013 20:30

It may be worth contacting AgeUK.for advise, they may be able to assist you with ways of helping you and.your mum, or to signpost you to local charities / voluntary services who can help with financial advocacy if you are past the point of POA. They could also suggest local services that may help your mum in other ways (it can be tricky to find all that info from a distance).

iheartdusty · 11/04/2013 20:45

the POA requires her to be able to make the decision to set it up - that's all. If she can decide that she wants you to deal with her bills for her, and have access to her funds to allow you to do that, basically that's what's necessary. As whataboutbobsays, it's not necessary for her to be able to fill the form out herself and deal with all the small print.

fuckwittery · 11/04/2013 20:47

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fuckwittery · 11/04/2013 20:48

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