Don't Know Where to Start - Seeking Advice

Hello! Seeking advice.

I Live in a different state than my parents and I am about 2 hours away. I have 1 brother who lives about 3 hours away from them (who has every excuse why he cannot help) and another who is 16 hours away.

My father's diagnosis

My father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's a couple of years ago. He is very active and still takes good care of himself. He just has NO short-term memory, does not recognize his children/grandchildren. Loses everything...all the time, glasses, keys, wallet etc. His memories are of his childhood and early adulthood. My mother has been his caretaker.

Just normal old age stuff...I thought

In June, I found out that their bills were not being paid and the task had become very overwhelming for my mother. I went for a visit in June to go through all their finances, get their taxes filed and set up all of their bills on autopay. I brought up the subject of her signing over a POA to me, something that we should have in place. She said she would think about it. After staying with them for a month I felt good about going home. My mother-in-law lives next door and she keeps an eye on them as much as she can. I told my mother I would come back every two weeks or so to go over her statements with her and pay any bills that come in. Seemed like the perfect plan.

Everything was fine for the next couple of months, I came every few weeks for 4 to 7 days at a time, paid the bills, went over statements with her and helped them out around the house. Each time I would bring up the POA and she would basically just change the subject. I thought we were good to go because other than the bills, she is very active. Her house is perfect! She has the most beautiful garden in the county, she plays cards a couple of times a week with friends, drives, goes shopping, cooks meals and so on. Each visit I started to notice my mother also losing things quite often. I got her those little beeper things to put on the keys; wallets to help when things got lost but they soon lost the remote control that activated the beepers. Things were declining, but not too bad, just normal old age stuff…I thought.

She called the police on me!

Then it happened! Last week I received a phone call from the police department. They were at my parents’ house because my mother called them. She told them that there has been a girl coming to their house to take care of the bills for her and she has stolen all their money! That girl is me!! And NO, I have not stolen any of their money! Thank God my mother-in-law lives next door and was able to explain things to them! She gave the officer my phone number and he called me, I was able to explain…but…they still had to file the report. They said that it would be filed as “unfounded”.

So, of course I came right back to their house the next morning! I woke at 5 a.m. to get there in time to work (I work from home, or wherever I am!). Since I have been here she’s asked me how many children I have? If I’m related to her neighbor (my mother-in-law), I’ve had to show her how to start the washing machine twice and she is trying to convince me that she is just confused because of some medication she’s on. She said it would not happen again and she wants me to go home.

They need help but won't accept it

I refuse to leave them alone and she refuses to sign a POA. I told her that I wanted to get a caretaker to take care of them when I’m not here. I told her I would come for a week every two weeks! She will not agree. She says she can take care of herself! I’m at a loss.

So, my question is, am I moving too fast? Or do I start to go through the process of obtaining guardianship? Do I talk to her doctor (who she refuses to go see)? How do I obtain guardianship? Do I see an attorney? Do they need a full time caretaker while I'm away? Or just one to stop in for a few hours a day? I don’t know where to start.

Thank you in advance!

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