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Topic Signs of dementia? Tax time!! Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By parkinit On 2011.03.13 12:12
I've posted about suspecting my husband is going into dementia, full-speed ahead in the past. So forgive me while I digress.

Can anyone tell me if you have similar troubles to below and if your PWP has been diagnosed with dementia?

We had all our tax information neatly in a box and clipped and labeled with deductible expenses, tax forms, etc. Yesterday, my spouse said he was going to go through them. I asked why, and his reply is "I've been doing this for years, I know how to handle the tax information."

Well, this morning, there are sheets in the kitchen, sheets upstairs, the neatly clipped files are all unclipped and papers scattered in 3 or 4 different rooms and completely dissembled. Things I had placed in envelopes to keep together, I cannot even locate anymore. Again, I asked why he had done this and the reply was, "I've been handling my taxes for years, I know what I am doing." He gets upset when I question what he is doing, so I dropped it, but I have a sick feeling in my stomach.

A few evenings ago, he was trying to add a simple column of arithmetic and he couldn't do it. He said, "This must be Alzheimer's, I can't even add anymore." I told him I didn't think he had Alzheimer's, but have been wondering about dementia. He didn't respond.

For those who have experience with this, I have questions:
1. Should you discuss these things with your spouse (i.e., whether you suspect they have dementia)?
2. How do you keep things "organized" if they are always coming behind you and undoing it all? I can't hide things, because he asks where they are. I tried to hide the tax files and he asked for them several times before I reluctantly gave them to him, knowing what would happen.

If anyone has any guidance, I'd appreciate it.

By shirley On 2011.03.13 12:28
I haven't posted in a while just because I have been so busy with hubbie and also with taxes. I just had to respond to your post Parkinit. This is exactly what we have been going through. I was able to keep all the tax info together last year and get my info to the CPA in a timely fashion. This year not so good. My husband says the same thing as yours....I have been doing this for years. I know what I'm doing. Meanwhile, papers are everywhere. I was finally able to stay up late one night and get everything done. Next day sent it off to the CPA.

My husband's doctor told him he has dementia but I think he forgets. Often says, why can't I remember things like I used to....guess it's just old age. I remind him of what the doctor said and he just shrugs.

He also constantly checks the bank account on line but keeps putting in incorrect passwords until the account is locked and then blames me.

I don't have any answers for you, but I can understand the frustration. I am in the same boat.

By Michele On 2011.03.13 15:02
I can really understnd what you are dealing with. My husband used to be a financial manager at Verizon and always handled our finances, especially the taxes. As his PD progressed, he no longer was able to perform executive functions or do anything that required abstract thinking such as math. He was aware of this and it frustrated him but he did not have a problem with me taking over our finances and bills. It was to frustrating for him. He could no longer even figure out how to write a check. As far as taxes, this is something he always obsessed about as he was audited in the past. He constantly reminds me to get our information organized and then he goes through it and tears it all apart and mixes it up with other paperwork (sound familiar?) So I get it finished as soon as I can - usually get up real early in the morning before he does - and sent it off to the CPA asap. Because he always handled the finances, he has a big desk in our den but I have been moving paperwork over to my "computer desk" and keeping it organized as best I can. However, he occasionally goes through everytihing and mixes it up. I do all the billing online now and he cannot/does not like to use the computer so that is not a problem, but I "lost" two bills a couple months ago and had to pay interest and high fees because they were late. To keep the tax info straight I keep it all togther in a plastic envelope and tucked away and then sit down with him occasionally to show him the progress I am making. Since my guy readily gave up this task and just likes to look through the information, I didn't have to deal with him trying to do it because he always used to.
Does your husband get get angry because you are doing the taxes? Does he have any insight into the fact that he can no longer do this? I can understand how frustrating it is for you. By the way, my husband has never been formally diagnosed with dementia although it is clear that he does..

By Michele On 2011.03.13 15:14
p.s. about discussing dementia with my husband - I think that inability to deal with abstractions, organizing and planning skills are difficult to accept and depend on the individual's ability to handle this. Empathizing with him regarding the frustration that this causes him is the best way to approach this and offer specific ways to help. As to his tearing everything apart and placing it all over the house, I don't think that there is much you can do about that as it is part of the disorganization that his brain is experiencing. I truly feel for you facing this part of PD. I believe that dealing with the loss of mental capacity can be more devastating that the loss of physical capacities.

By susger8 On 2011.03.13 18:24
Problems with bills, paperwork and taxes were the first signs that my father was having cognitive problems. Bills weren't getting paid because the mail was scattered all over the house. He forgot to pay his quarterly income taxes for three quarters. At that point he was recognizing his problems and agreed to put my name on his account so that I could start paying his bills.

As things progressed, he started going through the file drawers and messing things up, feeling that he needed to find some papers but he wasn't sure what or why. Then he got into the desk and ripped up a bunch of stuff that we needed. I had to start locking the top part of the desk, and hiding the key. I also had to lock the file drawer. This was frustrating for him, but I left the drawers of the desk unlocked so he could rummage through them when he felt the need (nothing important in there). Now his eyesight isn't good enough to read so he doesn't look for papers any more.

One of the strange things about having memory loss is that you forget you have memory loss...


By karolinakitty On 2011.03.13 20:12
Since we have had to deal with dementia since the onset of his symptoms, I have a different viewpoint and we have things all settled and he does not get involved. Period.

When he realized he was having issues, he was leery of getting into any financial issues, tax documents and taxes. he always had his taxes done by his family accountant so that was easy. The banking was easy as he just plain out asked if I would deal with it. Although i keep him up to date on balances we have never had an issue as to what was what. He doesn't know the log in or password for the bank so i am safe there. Before his dementia got worse, he knew how I was diligent with paperwork, kept files in order and never had a problem with me handling all important papers.
We did discuss everything before he gets too bad.... He seems "normal" to most folks who are unaware of his dementia, but until you get to know him a little better you see what it has done...
If I feel that there is an issue with what he is doing and how he is doing it ... we still discuss it and if it's time for me to take over that issue then i do... if we need to just adjust some things...then that's what we do....
He loses things all the time... one day he won't have a lighter and the next he'll have 10 in his pocket... one day he'll know my neighbors kids names the next he won't.... He rambles on and on with stories....doesn't remember to or if he ate....or drank.... Most of our bills are in his name but after taking 5 minutes on the phone with all that are... i now have permission to ask questions and get any info i need from them.... Even with his disability and medicare i have all access for that...doctors too.... I have POA(power of attorney) which we set up shortly after diagnosis...on everything.... he made sure of that... I have POA on the bank account also.....
I think the biggest thing that has helped me as a caregiver is the fact that he knew he was going downhill mentally and wanted both of us to be open and honest about all things "demented"....
He "forgets" about things sometimes, like the taxes.... I just tell him I already took care of it... then it doesn't seem to be an issue.... he may ask several times in a week about an long as i let him know it's done or taken care of... he leaves it be.....
If he wants to call someone to find out something... i will volunteer to do that for him.... I want him to keep his dignity no matter what through all this... i would hate for him to be embarrassed or humiliated by someone who doesn't know his condition... he has his own phone and could call himself... but since we have agreed to let me handle things he doesn't do much with it anymore...... it's mostly there for him and his friends.....
I hope this helps with some of your issues....
Like I've said many times...we have discussed everything we could think of and researched so we pretty much have things in order for now

By parkinit On 2011.03.13 22:04
Yes, you said it - insight. That is lacking. He doesn't have good insight to what is going on. The doctor even told him this once, though I doubt if he remembers it. I finally found all the tax paperwork (we take them to a CPA, too, but he had misplaced several statements, etc.). Some forms were filed away in a binder, which is where I found them once before and he "didn't know how they got there." It just dawned on me that recently he has been stating, "let's go upstairs to bed." This is where his bed and office used to be and he seems to continue to want to go up to his "old office" to work. We basically left an old desk in there, but there are no filing cabinets, etc. He must get up there, get confused that he doesn't have the filing cabinets and then doesn't know what to do with everything. It's a sad situation.

He doesn't want to give up these things and he does have a big desk and computer in our bedroom. He will sit there and shuffle papers for hours. He feels significant and that he's "somebody" to continue to have this desk and to continue to send e-mails out - I get that. I want him to continue to feel significant for as long as I can.

Now that I've found the missing paperwork, I'm cooling my heels, but my PWP world is like living in a one-person sanitarium sometimes and I'm the keeper of the keys. SIGH!

By mmmor01 On 2011.03.16 15:51
My PWP was diagnosed with dementia in 2002. He was evaluated for DBS and because his dementia was significant they would not consider him for the procedure. Does he remember that he was diagnosed? No. I resolved issues with bills and paperwork by getting a PO Box and having everything important routed there. The only thing that comes to the house that he can get his hands on is junk mail. I do all our bill paying on line and get my bill reminders by email. Really cuts down on the amount of "paper" I have to deal with. What I do have I keep locked in my desk at work until I'm ready to do our taxes then I bring it home. I've been doing things this way for so long it's really not an issue anymore, although he did get very upset with me in the beginning. I just figure out of sight out of mind. My biggest problem is since I work he's at home by himself and will on occasion decide to hire someone to work around the house. Oh brother...not enough space...Should I put a sign on the front door???

By parkinit On 2011.03.17 22:42
mmm0r -
I had to chuckle. It's true if it isn't one thing, it is another. My spouse and I just discussed women caregivers vs. men. His response is, "That just isn't what we do - caregiving." He said, "I don't think you would be able to sleep in the swamps in Vietnam like I had to do. We just do different things. Wish life were that simple as I'm doing what he normally would do plus I did in the house these days.

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