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Bank account issues with my gran

Pepa123

New member
Jul 14, 2020
2
I am having issues with my gran who is 78. We organized a separate account where she could take out 200 a week because almost 20 000 had disappeared last autumn without anyone knowing where it went. Every time she goes to the bank, she is told that all her other accounts are blocked, which drives her completely crazy (and yes, 10-15 calls per day follow after each bank episode). I have by now been contacted by the bank asking me to organize her money differently so that she does not 'harass' the bank's staff every time she does not get money (because she already took her weekly 200 out) or is told that her other bank accounts are blocked. Any ideas on how to deal with this situation? My gran still lives on her own, I am the only family member involved in care, but I live abroad, so I can only be with her around once a month (and now during Covid things are even more complicated). She obviously also rejects any kind of help at home, she does not want to go to day care, etc.. Any suggestions are highly appreciated!
 

Bunpoots

Volunteer Host
Apr 1, 2016
4,631
Nottinghamshire
Welcome to Dementia Talking Point @Pepa123

What a difficult position the bank are trying to put you in! I really don’t see how you can do anything differently and it’s up to the bank to carry out your instructions although I imagine it’s extremely difficult for them (I’m assuming you have LPA for your gran).

I suspect this will go on and on until your gran forgets about it..

With regard to help at home or daycare it might be time to use subterfuge to get your gran to accept help. For example I introduced my dad’s first helper (don’t use the word carer) as someone who needed a little job so asked if he’d pay her to do a little housework and gardening and then added in other things as needed.
I know other people have got their PWD to daycare by either calling it a club or asking if they’d volunteer to help the old people there (obviously the real carers need to be in on this)

Never say “no” always say “yes” but follow with a reason why it can’t be done immediately (e.g. it’s raining, or it’s too late we’ll go tomorrow sort of thing.
Perhaps this will help:

 

Pete1

Registered User
Jul 16, 2019
817
Hi @Pepa123, welcome to the forum. I really think the onus is on the bank to come up with some potential solutions - it must be something that they deal with fairly often across the country. They should have processes for dealing with vulnerable people and your Gran certainly falls into that category. Have they made any suggestions?

What is Gran using the money for? If it is grocery shopping then could someone order shopping online and get it delivered (I'm assuming you have Power of Attorney). Although I expect she may be getting the money out for no particular reason - just the thought that she needs urgently money. @Bunpoots is right it will likely continue until something breaks the loop.

Apart from the 'bank issue' how is Gran managing generally (cleaning, cooking, personal care etc)?
 

Pepa123

New member
Jul 14, 2020
2
@Bunpoots and @Pete1 - thank you so much for your replies and suggestions. I will try some of those, and see whether it works. Thank you for pointing me to the communication thread... that is really crucial and I have not found the right way of communicating effectively and without conflict so far.

I agree re the bank and that they should find a way, I think they were just despairing because my gran tells them that nobody in the family takes care, that she has no money, and that she has no food... it must be difficult for the staff at the bank.

One of the problems, since she is alone and there is no person looking after her every day, is that I have no idea what she uses the money for. When I am there, I just pay for everything. I don't have LPA due to fights in the family, so it is an external guardian (don't know the term of art - somebody who is entitled to take care of her by law) who is in control over her finances (but he is not very active when it comes to organizing care himself - he has always agreed to everything I have organized, however). Her fridge is usually quite empty, so the money cannot be spent for groceries. Maybe she gives it away? She has a cleaning lady, she barley cooks (usually she eats bread with something and her neighbour brings her twice a week a warm lunch), and personal care works fine up until now (she used to be a big fashionista, always wearing make up and being perfectly styled - some of that is gone, but she still dresses very well, takes daily showers etc.).

Most problems come from her fear and confusion, it seems like the world makes no sense to her (starting with the bank). She also often complains about being lonely, but her facade is pretty strong. Only people who know her well or have regular contact (like the staff at the bank) notice that she suffers from dementia.
 

jaymor

Volunteer Moderator
Jul 14, 2006
13,130
England
As a retired banker and aware that things may have changed in the bank since my retirement I don’t think there is anything thane bank can do. It must be distressing for your gran, the staff at the bank and customers to see your gran so upset. Unfortunately not everyone understands dementia and probably would not suspect dementia when seeing your Gran.

If your gran has capacity then she is free to do as she wants with her money, not good I know but that’s how it is. Without POA or deputyship no one can regulate how she spends money. Even with POA if your Gran can take herself off to the bank on her own then the problem remains. I can’t offer any solution or idea, sorry, just another awful part of dementia.
 

Pete1

Registered User
Jul 16, 2019
817
If your gran has capacity then she is free to do as she wants with her money, not good I know but that’s how it is.
I guess the only caveat with that is if she is being financially abused as a vulnerable person - which there are indicators that this was happening previously when a significant sum of money disappeared. Do you have Power of Attorney @Pepa123? Perhaps you could look to arrange some care support for your Gran as it doesn't sound as though she is eating very well. Perhaps a carer coming in once a day to prepare a cooked lunch but to also check on her wellbeing and help with other care if necessary. If you don't think that will work, Local Authorities offer meals on wheels services (albeit normally run by voluntary organisations), that is an option - they will provide a hot meal for Gran and it also has the benefit of someone checking in on her (you have to pay for the service). Just a couple of thoughts....
 

worriedson77

Registered User
Jan 29, 2020
53
Hi @Pepa123, if the bank are willing to speak with you it suggests that they have some form of permission to do so (Otherwise is a serious gdpr breach) and it sounds like the deputy you have is aware but I know how stressful it can be. My grandparent in law did the exact same thing, could never recall what they had done with the money and when they came to needing care in a home years down the line, lots of money was found stashed all over the house. As @jaymor says the bank are in a tricky predicament but they should have a listed policy and be able to come up with solutions as no matter how frustrating it is for them they dont have to deal with the emotional consequences but if they get it wrong they could be liable for the financial ones. If they explain that there is a withdrawal limit then this isn't as inflammatory as saying that there is a block on your account and lots of banks as a matter of course have limits in place.
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
806
High Peak
Just a thought but could you suggest the bank phone Social Services when your gran goes to the branch and starts bothering the staff?
I know this has worked when a person with dementia has been bothering their neighbours. It looks like your gran needs some help even if she doesn't think so but it's difficult to get SS to see this if she is otherwise still independent. If they get phone calls from the bank every other day saying she is confused and vulnerable they will have to act. Even if your gran still refuses help she will be on their radar when things get worse. They have a duty of care and you are in another country so she really needs someone keeping an eye on her now.