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What to do?

(14 Posts)
olliesgran Thu 30-Aug-12 09:16:59

My mother (85) who has recently been diagnosed with early stage of Alzheimer has been a bit confused re her finances and asked one of my sister to look into it. She duly signed power of attorney in favour of my sister, and we started looking into her bank account. We have dicovered that over the last few months, it seems she has been unable to resist any "demand" for money. Any rep calling walks away with 1000s euro (she lives in France) of order, so 2500 euros has gone on wine in the last few months. She doesn't drink much, but at 100 euro + per bottle, she doesn't have to. Any charity sending a begging letter is rewarded with a generous cheque, but worst of all, a long standing family friend seems to be "borrowing" money freely. She has always borrowed from my mother, a few euros here and there, always paid it back (we think), in sevral installments. But since January, she has borrowed nearly 3000 euros, and no sign of money coming back in my mother's account. My mother consider her her only friend, and as she isn't an easy woman, she probably is right. We have solved the commercial situation by making sure as far as possible that she will no longer be solicited by rep. But how to tackle the "friend"? My mother's answer to it all is "well it's my money, I do want I want". She now denies having given my sister power of attorney, and accuses us of wanting to steal her money. This friend of my mother is poison and encourages her in that direction, but if she stops going to see my mother every day for coffe as she does, my mother wouldn't understand and would blame us of robbing her of her only friend. We could get the police involved, as there is a law in france you can use to protect vulnarable people, but we don't really want to drag my mother through all this. We also know that as soon as it become clear to this "friend" that she has no longer access to my mother's money, she will stop visiting. Any one with an answer?

Greatnan Thu 30-Aug-12 09:37:02

This is a really tough one, especially as any action will be under French law. Are you sure this 'friend' would stop visiting if you even let her know that you had noticed the loans? If her visits are so essential to your mother's happiness, you may just have to accept that they are the price she has to pay, at least until her Alzheimer's reaches the stage where she won't notice who visits her.

AlisonMA Thu 30-Aug-12 09:37:39

olliesgran I have no experience of this. What a terrible worry for you. Is there a French equivalent to Age UK where you could go for advice? Or maybe even the UK one? I'm afraid all I can offer is my

vampirequeen Thu 30-Aug-12 09:46:16

Now you and your sister have control of the bank account then you can put a stop to the loans or agree to them but make sure the are paid back. I'm afraid alzheimers can change the way people think of their relatives and this seems to be happening. My uncle used to accuse my aunt of the most awful things but a lot of the time was to do with money.

You have a legal document that was signed when she was still thinking clearly. It will be hard in the future but you are protecting your mum from a 'friend' who has come to see her as a bank.

olliesgran Thu 30-Aug-12 10:11:36

"greatnan", we have thought of just letting it go, but really, it is a high price to pay someone for a few hours per day! And it is the unfairness of it all that grates. Coupled to the fact that under french law, if my mother requires specialist care later on and her pension doesn't cover the cost, we, as her children are financially responsable for the shortfall. We have only looked at the last few months, but my mother used to be able to save about 500 to 800 euros per month, as she has a good pension. Her savings account has 2000 euros in it. Big shortfall. We wouldn't mind, if we could see where the money had gone, and that my mother enjoyed the benefit. But it isn't the case.
i have thought of offering the friend to pay us back by working, ie, becoming officially my mother's "dame de companie", at the minimum wage, for however many hours will cover the debt. My mother, God bless her, is an unpleasant, domineering and verbally quite aggressive person, but who can't say no to a demand. I don't undesrtand the paradox, but there it is. I have 2 theories: The aggression is a front to protect herself cause she knows she can't say no. Or giving keeps her in control and allows her to dominate.
Still either way, her "friend" will have earned her money!

olliesgran Thu 30-Aug-12 10:29:36

vampirequeen, the paper my mother signed gives us the right to look at her account and sign cheques etc on her behalf, but doesn't take away her right to sign cheques herself. So if she wishes to continue, we can't really stop her. We have written to all the charities solliciting money by post with my mother's diagnostic, and asking them to remove her from their mailing list. We have put her number ex directory, and put her number on the list asking business not to ring her. It will cut down on the demands at least. We have started a procedure called "curatelle" which will put her under protection of the court, but it will take ages, and can't proceed that easily if my mother opposes it. And she will oppose it, she can still sound very competent when under pressure, not sure a judge will grant the "curatelle" yet. I am shocked at the friend's action, she has been a family friend for a long time, she used to be my younger sister's child minder. My younger sister is devastated by what is happening, as she feels she is the one that has introduced the fox in the hen house.

Greatnan Thu 30-Aug-12 10:31:30

If the 'friend' will go along with that, it seems a good plan.
My own daughter, who is delusional, probably as a result of long term codeine abuse, has given away the best part of £350,000 which she received in damages two years ago. (None of it to me). I think she hoped it would bind her adult children to her as she is terrified of being left alone. It also gave her a sense of power.
It sounds to me that your mother is not really deserving of the love and concern you and your sister are showing - if she loses her friend, so be it.
Do you live in France as well? If not, I don't see how the French authorities could come to you to pay your mother's care costs.

vampirequeen Thu 30-Aug-12 10:35:46

Unfortunately it seems you have no way of stopping her giving her money away. You can only hope the 'friend' accepts your offer of employment and is willing the earn the money she currently gets for free.

olliesgran Thu 30-Aug-12 10:44:37

greatnan I live here, but I am French, and by law, responsible for her up keep. It is unlikely that the authority would come to chase the payments here, but that would only mean my sisters would have to pay more, which is hardly fair. My sisters have daily contact with my mother, this is why we are trying to sort things out without any big drama. My mother still has the power to upset them greatly.

Mamie Thu 30-Aug-12 10:51:56

Would a visit to the assistant social help? I have always found them very helpful when I have gone to see them with people from the village who needed support.

olliesgran Thu 30-Aug-12 10:58:49

mamie, I have contacted les assistantes sociales, but my mother doesn't live in a village, she is in a Paris subburb, and they told me that really, they wouldn't have time to do much. Want's more, they couldn't do anything unless my mother asked herself, and I am afraid this is hardly unlikely! It seems that we will have to wait untill things ket much worse before anything can be done officially.

kittylester Thu 30-Aug-12 11:52:27

What a huge worry for you olliesgran flowers

As you can access the account, could you take most of the money out and pay enough back in to cover necessary outgoings as and when required? That way she wouldn't be able to 'lend' any more.

Before I took over control of my Mum's bank account, she had outgoings of £60 per month to various charities that had rung her, presumably hearing she was soft touch. She also owed £800 in gas and electricity bills (though they were claiming she owed £3,000 and threatening her with bailiffs)

olliesgran Thu 30-Aug-12 12:18:40

kittylester, we have thought of just leaving enough in her current account to cover he normal bills and expenses. And if else fails, this is what we will do. She has a standing order of 80 euros per month going in her saving account, we could easily up this. This will be our next step. A few bouncing cheques should slow things down!

harrigran Thu 30-Aug-12 13:08:46

This must be a great worry for you olliesgran it is distressing enough to have a parent in this situation without the added distress of a "friend" using the illness as a means of lining her own pockets. I helped my mother with her finances in later life but never had this type of problem.