Money. What should we do?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by JayGun, Jul 16, 2015.

  1. JayGun

    JayGun Registered User

    Jun 24, 2013
    Hi all,

    My mother in law has Alzheimer's and scored 15 on her MMSE a couple of weeks ago. (Although she was very angry about it, shouting, rising up in her seat, baring her teeth at the nurse etc, so I think if she'd been calmer she might perhaps have managed a couple more points.)

    She lives alone, with help from my husband, my kids and me. She can still manage to take care of herself mostly. We do her shopping and handle all the bills, appointments, and forms and phone calls - the life admin. The house is reasonably clean but slipping, and she forgets to bath and wash her hair a lot. She has accidents both front and back and this is being investigated by the GP.

    She mostly only goes to the local shops 500 yards away. She draws out £80 in cash once a week and buys bread and biscuits a couple of times a week. (We get them in the weekly shopping too, but she eats a lot of bread and biscuits.)

    We have made noises to her about maybe drawing out less money since she can't be spending more than £10 or £20 a week on bread and biscuits, but she can't process that idea. She doesn't have much money hidden in the house. We've searched and only found about £150. So where is all the cash going? We bought her a new Hoover the other day. (She keeps killing hoovers - any ideas?) she didn't have the £60 to give us and sometimes she doesn't have the money to pay us for the £15-20 shopping on Wednesday night even though she drew out £80 as usual on Monday morning.

    She pays a window cleaner £10 once a month...and sends money to various charities, and also sends money in birthday cards, but she has barely left the house for seven or eight months after a fall and the wee/poo accidents damaged her confidence, so where's the rest of it? My husband thinks she should have about £50 a week left over which would add up considerably over 30 or more weeks.

    We were quite worried that somebody unscrupulous was preying on her somehow.

    However, I have been out with her a few times lately. And seen how she handles money. (Usually we only really take her out for tea and cake and we do all the paying.)

    In Boots last week she needed contact lense solutions which came to £11.58 (After we had finally worked out that the reason that we had to keep getting her new contact lenses was that she wasn't cleaning them, but that's a whole other story.) Her purse was stuffed with folded up notes and she carefully placed three five pound notes and two ten pound notes on the counter. Then added a pound coin. The poor Boots lad was bewildered. He pushed most of it back towards her and took what he needed and then gave her change. She didn't seem to notice any problem.

    I went with her to draw her money out in the post office this week in a vain effort to get her to draw out less, and the lady must have said to her four or five times to make sure she put the money away before she left the shop - but she didn't. I got stuck behind a buggy and when I got outside she was still trying to stuff it in her already full of cash purse while crossing the road and dropping a couple of banknotes as she went.

    Then in the local shop it was the same - her bread and biscuits and eggs and milk came to just over £10 and she carefully laid out an assortment of bank notes on the counter.

    Going to the local shop is her little bit of independence though, and drawing out her cash is what she's always done.

    What are we going to do?
  2. joggyb

    joggyb Registered User

    Dec 1, 2014
    Do you have PoA? If so, you could ask her bank to limit her withdrawals to a lesser amount, say £50, and see how that goes...
  3. joggyb

    joggyb Registered User

    Dec 1, 2014
    Do you have PoA? If so, you could ask her bank to limit her withdrawals to a lesser amount, say £50, and see how that goes...

    If not, could you try to intercept her shortly after she's taken out the £80 and try to remove £30 or so?
  4. JayGun

    JayGun Registered User

    Jun 24, 2013
    We do have POA but haven't activated it yet. I think she would kick off in the post office every week if we did that, and might get herself banned- but I will add it to the list I'm making of things we should consider.

    We are possibly a little too worried about upsetting her. Most of what we do is focused on keeping her happy,. My husband would let her throw all her money ito the four winds and pay £35 for some bread milk eggs and biscuits every week if it avoided a row.
  5. irishmanc

    irishmanc Registered User

    Jan 14, 2015
    I can see where your husband is coming from Jaygun, but there are just too many people who could potentially rip her off so I would really think about activating the POA for her safety as well as your peace of mind. The world is unfortunately full of unscrupulous sorts who prey on the vulnerable.
  6. brambles

    brambles Registered User

    Sep 22, 2014
    NW England
    Hi Jaygun,

    I have a very similar problem with mum, except, it is me who draws the cash out for her every week. ( She cannot use a cash card and I have a third party mandate on her account)

    She also only pays £10 to her chiropodist and her hairdresser every few weeks and only buys bread, milk and biscuits from her corner shop. (Huge cupboard full of ginger nuts!)

    I don't know where the money goes. She always pays with a note as she can't add up change any more, I believe the people at the shop are honest and they are kind to mum and are sometimes the only people she sees for a face to face talk during the day.

    Perhaps she is hiding it but I don't know where.

    I have suggested many times that she takes out less, but she is adamant she likes to have enough cash in the house for emergencies and nothing can dissuade her from this.

    I do have LPA but I really don't feel just yet that I can tell my mum how much of her own money she can have each week.

    So I have no answers, just the same problem!

    brambles x
  7. Keepingup

    Keepingup Registered User

    Jul 13, 2015
    We try to pay everyone ourselves via transfer using PoA. Simpler all round for everyone and means less cash in the house.
  8. jugglingmum

    jugglingmum Registered User

    Jan 5, 2014
    My mum buys lots of tat from the Betterware catalogue which is delivered to her door. she is spending maybe £100 in one go sometimes (at xmas time) - but she does enjoy it, can't get to the shops and I don't think I should stop her. The betterware agent did ask the team at her sheltered extra care to check with me if she could afford it before processing the order. If it was money just getting lost I think I would take control in some way, even if it did mean upset.
  9. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    When I discovered that my OH was getting £100 cashback at the newsagent every week but had not much to show for it, I took his bank card away and provided him with pocket money. Sorry, but I have to look after him in his best interest. Luckily he didn't protest, the only noises came from people who should know better about curtailing his independence. I ignored them. He could NOT afford to lose £400 a month God knows where! So that time when the fraudster came to his door wanting to see his bank card, he didn't have it. HA.
  10. loveahug

    loveahug Registered User

    Nov 28, 2012
    Moved to Leicester
    I've no answers on the cash front, sorry, but may I suggest you make a note of the security code that's on the back and then scratch it off, it will stop any cold callers taking advantage of the situation and creating automated debits. Best wishes
  11. Pear trees

    Pear trees Registered User

    Jan 25, 2015
    I would register the POA at the bank and then put a limit on withdrawals. I did this for my mum who was withdrawing £300 two or even three times a month. She did complain for a while and I had phone calls from the bank whenever she went in, but she did let me start withdrawing money for her over winter.
    She only needs enough for her lunch club 3 times a week and weekly shop, £70 Max.
    However she always seems to have £300 in her purse which seems to be comfort amount for taxis emergencies etc. We empty her purse regularly and bank it, but she has money stashed in the wierdest places over the house which we can never find but she always can!
  12. JayGun

    JayGun Registered User

    Jun 24, 2013
    That's a good idea lovely thank you. She'll tell anybody anything if they ring and start asking questions. She often says that "somebody" rang and asked her loads of questions but who and about what we don't know.
  13. JayGun

    JayGun Registered User

    Jun 24, 2013
    I know. :( I have my suspicions about her local shop to be honest. There was something about the way the fella flicked a look at me that made me wonder if he usually takes all the money she lays out on the counter. And the lives in there are outrageous enough without actually robbing old ladies.

    It's been a close call on the bill front once or twice too when there's only just been enough money to pay the bills that have come in. If we had a cold or long winter I'd worry that there wouldn't be enough left in the bank to pay a big bill.

    I wonder if she'd just go and get cash more often if we reduced the amount she could draw out? She surprises me by working out fixes for problems sometimes. :)
  14. JayGun

    JayGun Registered User

    Jun 24, 2013
    COR! Well done. Ha indeed! I dread something bad happening to MIL in that way. She's never going to remember that she only draws out a certain amount, or let us do it for her. It's going to be constant ructions and distress and shouting at the poor lady in the post office who will have to tell her every week that she can't have her usual amount.

    It's just that she wants stuff done to the house and garden - new carpets and fencing and redecoration and curtains and things and there's not going to be any money if she keeps getting through all her money every month in cash withdrawals - with as you say, nothing to show for it - and cheques to charities and in birthday cards.

    She doesn't have much coming in due to only ever working part time and it's just worrying where the heck it's going.
  15. JayGun

    JayGun Registered User

    Jun 24, 2013
    I wonder how much my MIL's comfort amount is? She can't count or understand amounts any more so I suspect it's an absolutely stuffed purse that makes her feel safe. She only needs cash for buying bread and biscuits really. She sends cheques to charities and in birthday cards usually. She can't walk far and doesn't really go anywhere that we don't take her. She refuses to go to lunch club, we do her shopping. She won't get in a taxi.

    I'm just so worried that something bad is happening and we're not protecting her well enough.
  16. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    To be honest, that fraudster did me a massive favour. Because that incident was what made me call SS in hysterics, demanding another assessment, assisting he was at risk opening the door to strangers and they had to do something. It set all the lovely things like Day Centre, sitting service etc in motion. But that's off-topic. Money is a hairy subject. People with dementia just don't do finances that well anymore. I know of people having given their loved ones in care homes Monopoly money, but obviously that won't work in the real world if they try to pay for their biscuits with it. Trying to limit their access to money is all you can do if someone lives on their own.
  17. Linbrusco

    Linbrusco Registered User

    Mar 4, 2013
    Auckland...... New Zealand
    Jaygun you could almost be describing my Mum.
    She has an ATM card but only uses it for groceries when I go shopping with her.
    As Mum always used to handle her & Dads finances I took over 2 years ago.
    I have both POA and authority on their bank accounts.
    I draw a weekly amount for Mum & Dad.

    Dad with cognitive impairment spends his in a flash.
    In his case I know where his is going... Cigarettes and gambling... They're his two vices and needless to say why he has never handled the finances.
    Mum with AD, spends less than half of hers, and for a long while I've been putting the other half in a separate bank account for her to pay for her getting her hair done, chiropodist, taking her out for morning tea etc.

    Imagine my surprise one day when she showed me a purse stuffed with notes.
    She said she was keeping it to buy a new jumper.
    Then she said her money had gone missing, and who had taken it!
    She had changed hiding places and found it.

    After this I convinced her to give me her money for safekeeping.
    Unfortunately I had to use Dad as the reason. If Dad knew she had that amount of money he would ask her for it... True story :)
    Now when I give her her money I have to give her small notes. She cannot handle change from bigger denominations.

    I hate to think when the time comes that she can no longer use her ATM card or forgets her PIN. Dad is a technophobe and has never ever had an ATM card. Just as well.

    I think in your Mums case you may need to get her bank on board.
  18. Keepingup

    Keepingup Registered User

    Jul 13, 2015
    That's a great idea. Thanks' for that. In fact might consider doing it on my own cards :)
  19. dottyd

    dottyd Registered User

    Jan 22, 2011
    Mum got pneumonia and had to go into hospital and I was fortunate enough to get my hands on her card and bank book.

    Thanks to that I was able to put good food in her fridge. Keep her house immaculate and pay a carer to come in for an hour on a morning, to pay for day care, nice clothes and shoes.

    She wasn't hoy but when I learnt that she gave a taxi driver £40 for a four pound fare I knew something had to be done.

    I set up an account with a local taxi company and wrote Taxi and the number near her phone. Then I paid the monthly bill.

    This strategy worked for a little while . Eventually the drivers became like carers. Cajoling her into the car when she decided she didn't want to go to day care.

    Till she went into the home.
  20. lizzybean

    lizzybean Registered User

    Feb 3, 2014
    My MIL hides money, she always "needs" money put on one side for bills. We pay all her bills for her but we cannot get thru to her that that is the case.
    I have her pension card & I draw out way more than she needs every week, she needs to have a certain amount to make her feel comfortable. I check her money stashes every time I go & sometimes it has grown! If I find her other hidden stashes I snaffle it away & give it her back as & when she needs it, sort of recycling.

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