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managing spending


Registered User
Apr 29, 2005
My mother-in-law has the early stages of Alzheimers, she is 64. We are in a transition stage where she is capable of doing most things. We have an enduring power of attorney and have taken over looking after her finances. However she has a debit card as she is still able to go out and buy grocerys etc. We want her to be able to maintain her independence as long as possible as we have been advised this is the best course.
The problem is:
As she spends a lot of time at home she has Sky television, which she enjoys. Her favorite channels are the shopping ones, she seems to get a buzz from phoning up and ordering, once she has ordered an item, she forgets what it is she has ordered. She orders inappropriately, she has even ordered an excersise machine. We laugh with her and say the only excercise she has with it is walking around the box in the hall. She mainly orders jewellery which is overpriced and of poor quality.
It's a very difficult situation as peoples opinions on what they buy vary, someone may question how much I spend on plants on the garden. So are we right to question what she chooses to buy, except we worry that she does not remember. Of course there is the question of finances dwindling, but I suppose it is her money, although because of social services does she have a right to spend it?
The options:
Initially I thought I would phone BT and block her making calls to the shopping channel numbers, apparently this cannot be done as they are freephone numbers.
I have next tried writing to the channels including a copy of the ept. QVC were very good and said they would cancel her accounts and monitor the situation.
Vector which is where she spends the majority of the money say that if she has a card they will take the order, even after I questioned their morals!
I have spoken to the bank, they said the only option is to take her card from her and give her a cash card. The problem with this is she won't remember the pin number. She normally gets cash as cash-back.
Has anyone any other suggestions?
Thank you for taking the time to read this.


Registered User
Mar 19, 2005
Dear Lisa

My father was unable to remember his pin number and kept on losing his cards, even when they were in the right place in his wallet he couldn't find them. My stepmother now gives him cash to keep on him, so that if he does need something he can still be independent and buy it himself. I know that this sound childlike, giving him pocket money, but it has been working.

Can't believe that some people will still take money off people despite being told of their illness! Disgusting.

Hope this helps a little, take care.


Michael E

Registered User
Apr 14, 2005
Ronda Spain
Lisa hi,

My wife cannot remember her pin numbers so there is no problem - I give her cash all the time but never more than I can afford to loose as I know she just hands notes to the check out girls with no concept of their value - relevance to the purchase...

When I order things on the net I normally have to give the 3 numbers on the signature strip on the back - not sure if that is what Vector and the others require? You do not need the numbers if you are there in person with the card or from a machine - could you 'rub out' the 3 numbers or if she can remember them order a new card with a new pin and then rub out the numbers? Ordering a new card and pin would mean the mail order companies would not have her card in their system and would need to go through all the security checks again.

I am not sure about being devious but am coming round the conclusion that it is better just to go with the flow - say and do what ever they want - avoid conflict - agree - as the way forward - I did get angry a while ago because she was attacking me - trying to make me angry - just lost it - poor Monique was so sorry for upsetting me - tried so hard for the next days to be so nice - I of course felt dreadful and have resolved not to 'loose it' ever again.


Registered User
Sep 16, 2004
Dear Lisa
If the Sky box is over one year old I would disconnect the phone line, the box won’t mind. My husband kept dialling up by accident so I had it disconnected for several years.


Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
You say you have E.P.A. Once this is registered, and not before, you have total control of all monies, in their interests, and their signature ceases to be valid. At least that is how I have interpereted the handling of Lionels affairs. Connie


Registered User
Mar 23, 2005
Hi Lisa,

I don't have any first-hand experience of this issue, but here are some thoughts:

1. Chip and pin is not mandatory. Card suppliers have a repsonsibility to provide alternative methods, such as chip and signature . Not doing so would be a violation of the Disabililty Discrimination Act (DDA). You can read more about this here: Daily Telegraph article on chip and pin

2. It is possible to get her a credit card with an intentionally low limit - say £75, preferably one with online access so you can monitor and pay balances. This would give her some independence within set limits. However, the card would be declined once she was over her limit (make sure that the limit was not able to be raised) and this could be upsetting to your mother.

3. Apart from the money issue, it's worth considering what this activity gives your mother socially/psychologically. These shopping programmes are very friendly, you can almost feel as if they are speaking directly to you. Picking up the telephone and getting that personal attention can also offer positive feedback. It can also feel very empowering, especially when you feel your choices in life are becoming limited, to have items displayed for your consideration. Are there any other activities that your mother might enjoy which could meet some of those same needs?

Take Care,



Registered User
Apr 29, 2005
thank you

:) Thank you all for your replies, they have given me new suggestions. It was the first time I had posted a message and its really helped. Thank you.


Registered User
Oct 9, 2003
Birmingham Hades
Hi Lisa
The May issue of the Alzheimer's National Newsletter "Share"contains an article about credit and debit cards.
T he article may answer your queries.