My Mom Has Debt and Dementia


Dear Steve,

I am a power of attorney for my mom, who has dementia. She owns her home outright, but my 58-year-old sister lives with her and takes care of her 24/7 as she cannot be left alone anymore.

As a result, my sister has no income. They live off my mom’s two pensions and social security payments, which total $1836.50 per month, but she has a Discover card balance of $16000.00, which I fear will never be paid off. She has little savings.

There is only about $11,000 in the bank I want to keep for property taxes and potential repairs.

I did get Discover’s team to give me a temporary promotional interest rate for six months, and the payment is $237 a month from $400 a month. I want to resolve this to get rid of that balance before she passes away to be levied against her house.

Can I, as the POA, do a credit counseling situation, and is that the best idea? I have no idea how long my mother will live or when my sister may work again.



Dear Dawn,

Thank you for contacting me for help.

Dementia sucks. It is one of the hardest caregiver and family situations. I should know.

The saddest point for me was when my father became my son. You know what I’m talking about, I’m sure.

There are three solutions here.

The first would be to pay the debt in full.

The second would be to enter into a credit counseling program that you might be able to do depending on how extensive the power of attorney permission goes. For example, you would need to have control over her financial arrangements with Discover.

A third option is kind of sneaky but would eliminate her need to repay the debt, and it would protect the house for your sister without bankruptcy.

I just called and talk to my debt coach friend Damon Day, so he is waiting to hear from you with that sneaky solution. I don’t want to write about it here.

See also  My Mother Has Debt and Dementia. I'm Her Caregiver. Can I File Bankruptcy for Her? - Sue


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Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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