How to protect finances.

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Moorcroft, Dec 11, 2015.

  1. Moorcroft

    Moorcroft Registered User

    Nov 4, 2015
    #1 Moorcroft, Dec 11, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2015
    I'd be grateful for any tips about how to make sure mum isn't scammed financially, and also how to deal with her confusion over finance.

    The situation is that mum is in the early stages of dementia, currently still living on her own, with minimal day-care (30 mins a day agency carer, plus a responsible and trusted cleaner for 4 hours a week). My brother has poa for her, and he monitors and manages her bank account online; however she still has a cheque book, credit card and debit card.

    The reason I don't have poa is that I lived abroad for several years and only returned last year, but I've always advised her on investments, and I'm satisfied that the bulk of her savings are not accessible to scammers. At the moment, there are several thousand in her current account.

    Mum's ability to deal with figures has been the first thing to go. In fact it was what alerted us to her dementia, since she had always been financially quite acute.

    The situation has thrown up a number of problems. The first is with mum's cash withdrawals. She used to draw out large sums of cash, to pay her cleaner, gardener etc. Nowadays my brother pays them by bank transfer. But mum continues to take substantial amounts of cash out (£100 every so often) and we can't account for it. Mum claims to still be paying her cleaner with it, but we know this isn't true. I should emphasise that there is no question at all of the cleaner ripping mum off, she is absolutely trustworthy. Mum also forgets some cash withdrawals that we know have taken place. Mum does squirrel things away, then forget where they are, and I suspect there are several caches of cash in the house somewhere.

    Secondly, mum's confusion over money has resulted in some paranoia on her part. Mum has accused her cleaner of stealing. Just accept my word for it on this, for many, many reasons I'm sure the cleaner is honest! Mum has also claimed the cleaner is breaking her china (despite all pieces of the dinner service being counted and undamaged), and that the cleaner is in love with my brother. :confused:

    Last week she went shopping in Tesco and something happened. We aren't sure exactly what, but she was very distressed afterwards. She seems to have got to the till and then forgotten how to pay/ could not find her cards/ could not recognise her cards/ did not actually have her purse with her. Something like that. She is supposed to do her shopping with her cleaner in the afternoon, not in the morning on her own.

    Finally, it is difficult to persuade her to spend money on her care. She is obsessed with leaving as much money to me and my bro as possible and doesn't want her capital to be eaten up in care charges. The latest manifestation of this has been her refusal to pay for a care home over Christmas. The plan was for my bro and his partner to bring mum to a care home near me for four days from 23rd Dec. Then we'd collect her each day and that way we'd get to have a family Xmas, all together. But she cut up rough about the cost of the care home, so in the end we agreed that she'd stay at home and my bro would visit on Xmas day and cook a meal. Christmas ruined for all of us!

    As soon as she got her own way, she insisted on giving 'Xmas presents' to me and bro equivalent to the amount she would have spent on the home. Really annoying. We can't get through to her that our priority is making sure she is well cared for, rather than inheriting as much as we can.

    Sorry this is turning into a ramble...

    Anyway, I've advised my bro to move as much cash as possible from mum's current account and stow it in a savings acc. that she can't access instantly. Also he is to try to persuade her to get a dual signature cheque book. We don't want to force changes on her that give her the feeling that she is losing control so both these steps will need her agreement.

    Any other tips?
  2. RedLou

    RedLou Registered User

    Jul 30, 2014
    You're going to have to be vigilant, Moorcroft. My father started announcing his PIN in public as he was kind of 'proud' to remember it - that being proof he 'did not have that illness you say I have.' :roll eyes:
    Do you know your mum's PIN? Is it worth changing it, so she can't access cash or do damage that way, and you/your bro' draw cash out for her as and when? Somebody else on here scratched off the three digit code when their relative was being targeted by phone scammers/charities-who-should-know-better.
    Worth bearing in the back of your mind, perhaps. I wanted my dad to feel in control as long as he could but it did make him vulnerable and at least one charity persuaded him to part with a four-figure sum.
  3. Moorcroft

    Moorcroft Registered User

    Nov 4, 2015
    Thanks for that. Those are good ideas. One worry with mum is that she is prone to talk about how much money she has in public. This was a pre-dementia trait we could never cure her of; the difference made by the dementia is that nowadays she gets the sums wrong!
  4. loveahug

    loveahug Registered User

    Nov 28, 2012
    Moved to Leicester
    Losing capacity in this way does bring a plethora of problems. I hate to say it but we lied through our teeth to mum about what the government provided for 'free'. Can you not persuade your mum that you've found a 'free' hotel for xmas and spend the money she's given you both on the care home? She was under the impression that all her care came free because of her age. I would definitely scratch off the security code on the back of her bank cards, it's the best thing we did as a neighbour caught a doorstepper trying to take a payment off mum's bank card but it was no good without the code!

    Mum eventually lost mobility so going out to shop or withdraw money solved these problems but brought many more with it.

    Good luck and best wishes x
  5. Moorcroft

    Moorcroft Registered User

    Nov 4, 2015
    At the moment I don't think I could persuade mum that her care was for free. Her brain isn't so addled yet. And the fact is that she is happy having Christmas her way. She has bought Christmas food from Aldi and is congratulating herself on having saved money (oblivious to the fact that my bro will be cooking food for her he has bought himself from Waitrose or M&S).

    Bro and his OH are the ones who will suffer. Previous Christmases have been disastrous. She tries to interfere with his cooking and there are tears before bedtime. If the past is a guide, I predict he will visit alone on Christmas Day due to his OH having a strategic migraine. He will try to avoid visiting on Boxing Day but it will be Mum's turn to have a strategic health crisis necessitating his presence.

    The change of plan has saved me money and time, but since I am guaranteed to have an hysterical mother on the phone, followed by a nearly suicidal brother by the end of Boxing Day, I would have preferred it if she'd agreed to Plan A.
  6. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    I am afraid that we also told protective fibs and i agree that I would never discuss actual costs simply because she lived in the past when my grandma's pension was 10 shillings a week - so how could she possibly comprehend that a day at the care centre was £40 or a care home (which we didn't use but it could have come to that ) was £900. She simply would have had a fully justified fit so we never spoke in present day money and tried to avoid it all together. We too lived in utopia where the Government provided so much it was unbelievable.

    however we also removed credit card first, followed closely by debit card and replaced it with a sum of cash (which I would mostly entrust to you trusted person and allocate a small amount - probably £30 max to her). My mother and my neighbours husband gave lots of money away and both were really open to abuse.
  7. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    Sorry Moorcroft your post crossed with mine. I do really sympathise but your telling of the story did make me laugh - in a supportive way. I do hope that you manage some Christmas cheer. As my Mother's VD progressed (we supported her at home til the end but she did only live 3 minutes away) on family occasions she became the calmest I have ever seen her and enjoyed every minute - having been similar to your Mother in earlier days - so there may be light at the end of this tunnel x
  8. Bear44

    Bear44 Registered User

    Sep 28, 2015
    What I've done with my father is I've taken his check books and changed his pin number. I put a 100 in his wallet so that he has cash but doesn't get scammed by anyone.
  9. Bear44

    Bear44 Registered User

    Sep 28, 2015
    I've also placed all the credit cards in the safe.
  10. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    SW London
    If you consult her about any moves to help protect her money, is she likely to say no? If so, then honestly I would try to find a way to do it without asking. I understand absolutely why you feel you should have her agreement, but the fact is, beyond a certain stage of dementia, many people are just not able to understand why they will be at risk. Especially now, with so many wretched, evil scammers about.

    My mother was (pre dementia) always extremely switched on and careful with money. She bought and sold her own shares - having sacked her broker because she said she could do it better - and did a valuation every Saturday from the Telegraph prices.
    But still there came a point - after a cheque for a large amount had gone missing and been cashed by heaven knows whom - where we felt we had to take over. She didn't like it a bit - there was nothing wrong with her! She was perfectly well able to manage! But she wasn't, not remotely any more.

    As a first step, as others have suggested, I would certainly scratch the security codesoff any cards. At least that will make her less vulnerable to scammers by phone. I have posted about this before on here, but an elderly neighbour of mine, who doesn't even have dementia, has been scammed out of over £100K - scam was started by some evil b*tch who pretended to be working for NatWest bank.
  11. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    Just tell her the 4 days respite are being paid by you and your brother as a Christmas present for her and she would make you very unhappy by refusing your thoughtful present. She is unlikely to find out, is she?
  12. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    You could well be right that she is squirreling money away.
    Mum was worried that she wouldnt be able to get to the bank, but after she went into her CH she was found to have £400 in her handbag and pockets and I found hundreds of pounds hidden away in various places - mostly in her knicker drawer!
    Mum also accused people of stealing from her when they wernt, it seems to be very common
  13. Moorcroft

    Moorcroft Registered User

    Nov 4, 2015
    Unfortunately, it is too late as far as the care home is concerned. When she dug her heels in we had to cancel the booking, which had been hard to find anyway. I don't think she would have bought the 'present' idea anyway. I also cancelled the goose I'd ordered, and my bro and his OH cancelled their cat sitter.

    Thank you everyone for your suggestions.
  14. Kitten71

    Kitten71 Registered User

    Jul 22, 2013
    East Yorkshire
    I work in a bank and if your mum was to come to the counter for a cash withdrawal, we would be obliged to let her have it, even if that meant multiple withdrawals in one day. The staff may gently ask why she needs so much cash but ultimately they cannot stop her accessing it. However, if she lacked capacity then it's a different matter and she would be unable to use her account. By this stage though, she's likely to not even be able to come to the bank. I think it's sensible that your brother maintains her accounts via online banking. I maybe wouldn't keep thousands of pounds in the current account just from a security point of view from scammers and cloned cards etc. my dad lost a substantial sum to fraudsters prior to him being diagnosed with dementia and I feel the stress of that situation progressed his illness fairly rapidly. I wouldn't worry too much about using your mums money to pay for her care in the future. Of course her priority is to provide for her children, as was my dads, but as the illness progresses, she will lose the concept of who is paying for what. I guess as long as she feels she's financially secure at the moment, that's the best feeling you can instill in her, whilst you take a few discreet steps to protect her assets. :)
  15. Sooty2

    Sooty2 Registered User

    Jun 1, 2015
    mil exactly the same

    my mother in law is exactly the same, we believe she is squirrelling money away somewhere as she is drawing large amounts of cash from cash machines partly we believe because she is obsessed that we are stealing money from her. She has also written down her pin number so my husband who has power of attorney transfers money into a savings account for her in case anyone got hold of her card. We to have had to go down the route of everything she has is free from the government, and the carers that go in are our "friends" because otherwise she would not have them in the house, constantly harping about the babysitting service for old people. Im finding it hard to deal with, I know it sounds awful but we haven't had the greatest relationship, having been married for 24 years to her son and she has despised me for the full 24 years as I was never quite good enough for him, but I really resent the fact I am lumbered with main care duties when she has been particularly hateful to me.
  16. sjg610

    sjg610 Registered User

    Nov 18, 2015
    Saving Mum from herself

    My mum would take money out of her account on a regular basis, giving her account details to anyone who rang, came to the door or stopped her in the street.
    I explained this to her bank (Barclays) who suggested opening a saving account linked to her current account. I had POA and internet access, so I could transfer small amounts to the savings account, thus limiting how much she could actually withdraw. I took possession of the current account cheque book and card, so that if and when Mum gave out her account details, it was not possible to set up fraudulent/ unwanted standing orders or direct debits.
  17. Sue J

    Sue J Registered User

    Dec 9, 2009
    Can you arrange to get the cleaner to ask if her wages can be paid by bank transfer and set it up from your Mother's account that would at least protect some even if she did still draw it out in cash, her cleaner could then tell her each time, 'We have the new arrangement where your bank pays my bank direct so you don't need to get me any cash', it may or may not work.

    I have learnt with my friend having got on top of some things and been on an even keel and seen improvement then as the disease progresses the memories she reverts to are further and further back - thus exacerbating problems re. money and provisions as she grew up in wartime.

    It is all very difficult:(
  18. RedLou

    RedLou Registered User

    Jul 30, 2014
    Not to derail the thread, but Sooty - why do it? Unlumber!
  19. Quilty

    Quilty Registered User

    Aug 28, 2014
    One thing to do with the debit and credit card is to make them disappear. I had to do this for mum and told her the bank wanted her to do cash only. I had a card to buy things she wanted. This worked and i made sure i had a hidden stash of cash in the house to give her.
  20. LizzyA

    LizzyA Registered User

    Feb 21, 2013
    Near Reading
    We had a number of issues with mum being scammed by phone. We think she was on a 'gullible' list and she ended up paying for all kinds of things that she didn't need including multiple internet protection policies (she doesn't have a computer) a range of sky protection packages etc. It became a matter of luck as to whether we found out and I had a number of 'discussions' with the people who sold these things to her. We blocked business numbers to her phone and eventually asked the social worker to certify that she had lost capacity re her finances. We then removed all cards, chequebook etc from the house. So far she hasn't missed them!!

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