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“Elder Care: Don’t Steal Mom’s Identity”…..the ITRC

“Elder Care: Don’t Steal Mom’s Identity”…..the ITRC

      Thinking back over the years when I still took care of Mom, I remember adult “caregivers” telling me how their son/daughter (was then) living in their parent’s home – rent free but of course – since the grandmother had been placed in a ALF or Convalescent Center.  I would ask the “caregiver” if their parent who currently resided in an ALF or convalescent center, gave them written permission for this cozy rent free situation.  I already knew the answer, but I wanted to hear what they had to say.  NO, they said….she’s not living in it she’s in an ALF – I doubt she will ever live in it again – it is just sitting there vacant – I figured Mom (Nana) wouldn’t mind – and (my personal favorite) — my son/daughter really need a place to live for a while – they can’t afford to pay anyone rent.   

Oh and yes, a neighbor down the street needed a bed for their guest room  and since “Nana” wouldn’t be home anytime soon, they gave the bed to the neighbor (“Nana’s” bed, mind you – not the caregivers to give).  The shopping trips and movies that also didn’t include “Nana” but came out of “Nana’s” funds.  Have a couple of past due debts?  It’s OK, write a check out of “Nana’s” account…..she has plenty of money.

The son or daughter and their friends who used “Nana’s” car that she could of course, no longer drive, for their daily trips to and from school – not to mention the many stops along the way.  How did that work?  Oh yes, extracurricular activities.  I know of one instance where “Nana’s” car was wrecked – and the funds to restore it came out of “Nana’s” funds !  I asked this individual how exactly is that justified?  “Nana” paying for her own car, that she no longer is capable of driving – to be repaired due to a teenager driving (with caregivers “permission”) like a maniac and wrecking a car that they had NO right to be driving in the first place?  That is so wrong, where do I start?

My blood boiled.  At the time I was my Mom’s caregiver.  I kept meticulous records of each and every expense.  I had to be accountable to Mom’s Elder Attorney and my sister – at all times—which is the way it should be.

I kept receipts, cancelled checks, records of discrepancies from companies trying to SCAM my Mother, statements, bank paperwork, car insurance updates, the sale of her home, the sale of her car, ALL proceeds going back into MOM’s account.  It is my MOTHER’S money – NOT mine, not my sister’s.

I remember in particular, one of MOM’S friends.  I gave her a check out of Mom’s account to get (MOM) some nice spring clothes from a fairly affluent Thrift Shop. (I made it perfectly clear that I needed a receipt for each purchase) –  Let’s suffice it to say – she didn’t pay Mom back, nor did she buy her one stitch of clothes from this money. With the help from Mom’s Elder Attorney, I got back every single cent.  I deposited the $350.00 back into Mom’s account.  Perfect example –  right?

Of course the individuals mentioned above never approached me again regarding funds that did not belong to THEM.  I simply told them they needed to be in Jail.  That is how strongly I felt about the “freebies” being dished out.  How shameful of these “caregivers”.

Check with your Elder Attorney in your State, ask questions on caregiver funds and possessions, do your research,  find out how to keep records, set up a filing system, your name added to your loved ones account (NOT in your name only).  The Elder Attorney will be an invaluable resource to explain the laws on this matter. Call (EA)  them on all financial issues.  Call (EA) for suggestions, advice, anything concerning your loved ones affairs.

Thank you to ITRC – “Identity Theft Resource Center”  for featuring my book:  “Alzheimer’s Through My Mother’s Eyes” in your wonderful and informative article.  Such an important issue for families, friends, relatives and all that are involved with your loved one.  Keep it honest.

SUZETTE

 

 

 

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Don’t Steal you Mom’s/Love ones money

Don’t Steal you Mom’s/Love ones money

My book was recognized in the ITRS, Identity Theft Resource Center.  “Elder care – Don’t Steal Mom’s Identity” that was published on April 9th !  The article is about financial resources, belongings and cash — ALL — belonging to the families loved one.

When I wrote my book, It was important for me to explain, fully, the meaning of DPOA (Durable Power of Attorney) and the responsibility it carries.  Which include: not allowing a friend, neighbor, son or daughter or relative to move into your loved ones house FREE of charge, simply because the loved one may have transferred to an assisted living facility.  It also means that the same – are unable to simply hand over the keys to a neighbors child, their own children or anyone other adult for that matter to use the loved one’s (parked) car for joy riding, trips to school, weekend outings or a Friday night date.

These are a No No.  I used to cringe years ago when I heard the stories of DPOA or caregivers allowing such to happen.  Oh well, they would say – Mom doesn’t live there anymore.  Does that make it right, and legal?  NO it doesn’t.  To no avail, I would let them know that they are not allowed to simply offer their loved ones car, home, money, clothes, jewelry – etc. to anyone.  This property belongs to their LOVED ONE – NOT them.

The caregiver and/or DPOA must account for every cent that they spend of their loved ones money.  A pair of socks, shampoo and soap at the drugstore, new clothes, a good pair of walking shoes, Christmas presents (from the loved one)  – to larger items such as selling their house, selling their car – all must be documented and meticulously logged.  Profits from said sales go into the account of the loved one, and request a receipt from the institution in the name of your loved one.  File this receipt with all other’s.

I had to have many repairs done to Mom’s house before it was up to code to put on the market.  Each job was listed on the invoice along with the price it cost to fix it.  The yard also needed a good up to code job done, Mom’s house needed to be painted, floors refinished, minor items as well.  I had receipts, documented date and each charge listed.  (Also with a reputable licensed company) The check to pay the vendors came out of Mom’s checking account, but not ONE penny had anything to do with me or my family.

I sold Mom’s car after she was no longer able to drive.  It was Mom’s car, not mine.  My husband and I had to invest $800 of our money into Mom’s car to get it running properly–and in good shape to sell.  I handed Mom the cash we received from the sale – and took out the $800 we had paid our of our pocket.  I should have deposited the entire amount into HER account, obtained a receipt for every penny, and written myself a check out of Mom’s account for our $800.00-therefore attaching the receipt we received for the work done.  We could not afford the $800 – but I knew when Mom’s car sold, we would get our money returned.  And we did.

This information was included in my book, “Alzheimer’s Through My Mother’s Eyes”.  It was very important that this information be supplied caregivers and DPOA’s. 

Much appreciation extended to ITRC – for bringing this issue to the front of their internet site.  I am honored to be part of the article.

Suzette Brown