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Found out that Mom has run up two credit cards. One $15K and the other $5K.

Do you know what these purchases consisted of? Stuff she actually needed? Thought she needed? Need (of whatever kind) didn't even enter into the equation? Some of each category? Can any of these purchases be returned? Can those who provided services be contacted to explain the circumstances and request a partial or full refund?

If the bulk of purchases involved items and services that she didn't need, discussing this with her might be helpful--if she can absorb it, and accept the reality of what she's done.

There might be benefit in contacting the credit card companies to discuss the problem, and the fact that your mother is elderly, has begun making unwise purchases, and does not have the resources for paying these debts over the short term -- and see if you can work out some kind of deal to reduce the amount of debt, reduce the interest, and extend the payment time.

It also sounds pretty definite that your mom should no longer be allowed to use credit cards, unless it's an arrangement with a very limited amount per month, and once she reaches that, she has to wait for the next month. (Don't even know if that exists, but if it doesn't--it should!) But talking to your mom about giving up her cards will probably be a challenge. But really sounds like the time has come for that.

It might also be an idea to meet with an elder care attorney or geriatric social worker to discuss this latest turn of events, and see what suggestions they have. These professionals are experienced in helping family cope with this kind of situation.

Good luck with this!

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