Dementia is a difficult disease – especially in the early years.
First, it is imperceptible but gradually you are aware that your memory which underpins your reason and judgment, are going. And underneath it all is the recognition of loss of your adult autonomy and concerns about having to move from the security of your home and community. It is little wonder that the early stages are characterized by fear, anger and confusion.
It was into this that Caroline stepped. First with frequent and increasingly lengthy visits assisting Mom:
- transition pensions etc into Mom’s name
- instituting direct deposit and automatic payment to reduce financial risk
- attending numerous medical reviews
- doing annual income tax filings
- providing companionship and advice
When Caroline wasn’t there she called frequently. The information gleaned from these calls was shared with everyone, as none of us brothers called frequently. It was through the calls and visits we learned of the vast increase in fund raising calls Mom received, and shortly thereafter the her increasing addiction to sweepstakes and their increasing interest in her. (she was spending 300/wk on “entry fees” and receiving over 100 solicitations/mth)
Add to this that Mom’s weight was dropping precipitously as she no longer trusted herself to use the stove or microwave. Mom needed help. With everyone’s consent I arranged and paid for the SMILE service to assist Mom. Years later Andrew and Michael refused to reimburse those expenses. The Judge restricted repayment to 3 years which left me out of pocket for helping Mom.
Caroline’s concern rose and she talked with Mom, and with us brothers. All supported her move to care for Mom.
Caroline had initially asked for help covering her house expenses. That was agreed to. Within a month of Caroline being with Mom I saw such an improvement in Mom that I suggested we make this care permanent by paying Caroline as she was not able to work.
Michael agreed but did nothing. And through it all Caroline provided care – under which Mom benefited – which was our fiduciary duty.
After 2 years and for months of no income and increasing acrimonious argument from Michael and no respite, despite repeated requests, Caroline was forced to give up care.
Michael, and Section 3, had the gall to characterize this as abandonment.