Money worries of a different kind!

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by BlitheSpirit, Jun 25, 2015.

  1. BlitheSpirit

    BlitheSpirit Registered User

    Jun 24, 2015
    Hi, I've been reading the posts here for a while and feel humbled by the kindness and fortitude shown. I'd be grateful for a little advice on how best to handle demands which are impossible to fulfill.
    My husband is an only child. Two years after his Dad died with dementia his Mum has been diagnosed with AD. She has moved into a CH close to where we live as my husband could no longer support her in her own home 130 miles away from our home. The CH we chose is simply wonderful.
    My husband has found events very stressful and is in quite a depressed state. He wants to do his best for his Mum but feels that she has a smile for everyone but him...he has POA and has spent an enormous amount of time sorting out her affairs.
    She has been in the CH for 6 months now and bombards us with phone calls. She wants money, despite having had £70 in her purse for weeks, she wants at least a thousand pounds and she wants it now!! My poor husband is tearing his hair out...
    We've tried every tactic we can think of, avoiding confrontation, attempts to distract, simple reasoning.
    Has anyone else had a similar scenario? I'm very anxious to try to make the best of our situation and to support my husband and Mil.
    Thank you so much if you've taken the time to read this post.
  2. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    Is she calling you from her mobile or a phone in her room? Could it be disconnected? Could you block her number? If the care home is so wonderful they should have a solution for this and not allow one of their residents to harass her relatives. Sorry, but I think you'll have to be tough here. No more phone calls, whichever way. If she asks in person during a visit, agree that she will get the money tomorrow, then change the subject. But if she has such an obsession with it and gets agitated, maybe talk to a doctor? I'm not advocating antipsychotics and the like but maybe there's something mild that can help her settle down.
  3. ITBookworm

    ITBookworm Registered User

    Oct 26, 2011
    If MIL only phones you from her CH to ask about the money and nothing else I'm afraid I would speak to the home and ask them to remove or restrict her access to a phone :(

    It can't be doing her any good getting so upset about it and the home is being paid to handle any agitation. With any luck if she isn't able to badger your husband so often the fixation might wear off a bit - although when she sees him in person she will probably remember again.

    How good is her short term memory (other than about the money :rolleyes:)? Would she remember if she was told, when you are visiting, that the bank is closed but you will sort it as soon as the bank opens, or maybe that they won't give anyone that much all at once, or..... Basically you are saying yes but putting a delay on it.
  4. starryuk

    starryuk Registered User

    Nov 8, 2012
    Hello Blithespirit and welcome.

    It is so difficult isn't it. We want to do our best to please our mums, but when the demands are irrational etc, we just can't and then feel guilty. I am sorry your OH is getting so distressed by things.

    Does your mum have her own personal phone in her CH? Could you disconnect it or make it incoming calls only, so that she had to go to the office if she wanted to make a call? This would give the staff a chance to distract her, or dial the number and then say there was no reply if necessary. You would still be able to phone her when you wanted.

    About the money...difficult. My feeling is that you could 'agree' to get the money for her 'as soon as the bank opens tomorrow'. If she remembers the conversation, say you have 'put it in the CH safe for safekeeping'. Let the manager know. Do you think that might satisfy your mum? I know my mum always accepted that her jewellery was in the safe, when she asked me every day where her rings were.

    These are just a couple of ideas. You may not want to resort to subterfuge, but for me it was the only way I could keep mum happy during those times.
  5. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    Hi BlytheSpirit, welcome to TP.
    The 3 previous comments by starry, bookworm and beate are ways of addressing the issue, however, they aren't a solution for your MIL. Blanking her by denying her access to her son in my view isn't the best way forward (sorry guys but I don't think it is).
    When I did the house clearance on my mum's house I found £3k in cash stashed around the place, my cousin found £6k in his Mum's house, all in cash, it seems to be a common theme with the older people to like to have a stash of cash in the house.
    I've suggested it before but why can't care homes have a "Grey Pound" some sort of monopoly money with no value so they get the comfort of having a big bunch of notes but they have no value. If they get "lost" or "stolen" the staff can simply replace them.
    If having a wad of cash is a comfort then depriving them of it doesn't add up to me, you wouldn't deprive them of anything else like a picture, a teddy bear or any other memento so why take away the "comfort blanket" of having some cash?
    Personally I look for solutions and cutting off the phone calls might work for you but it won't help your MIL or the care home.
    The desire to have some cash is as reasonable as "surrounding people with familiar thing" so much valued on here, to some people that is money it gives them a feeling of security. People may disagree but in your MIL's mind that is what she wants and so that is her reality, or just blank her, which to me is no solution (sorry).
  6. Cat27

    Cat27 Volunteer Moderator

    Feb 27, 2015
    Have you asked her why she wants the money?

    My grandad used to ask for money so he could give it to the priest. Apparently when he was growing up the priest used to call round the houses for money every week & the kids would go hungry at times so the priest had his money.
    A priest did communion at his CH & grandad thought he had to pay him.
  7. susy

    susy Registered User

    Jul 29, 2013
    North East
    I've known homes where they have pretend money that looks real enough but isn't real and wouldn't be accepted in a shop at all. That's enough to pacify the residents who have money issues usually. Maybe try this and I hope it works
  8. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    I take your point about people with dementia liking to have a stash of cash around and I too found a stash hidden in mums home after she went int a care home. Unfortunately, Blythe Spirit had said their mum was asking for money from the bank even though there was £70 in her handbag, so Im not sure having pretend money will work in this case.
  9. RedLou

    RedLou Registered User

    Jul 30, 2014
    This happened to me with my dad. I got round it by saying the hospital (in your case CH) does not allow large sums of cash to be given to residents. (IE the blame someone higher up the food chain tactic.) After a while this went in although he started demanding I send blank cheques to people. (I told him his bank did not allow this.) Then as he declined that phase passed.
    If I had a confrontation with him over admin, I always tended to point the finger elsewhere to try to avoid the scenario of the cared for turning on the carer. It was only partially successful. Please tell your OH this is common and not to feel alone in this.
  10. starryuk

    starryuk Registered User

    Nov 8, 2012
    I know what you mean, Kevini, and no, op's mum shouldn't be denied access to her son, but he is being bombarded with calls and becoming very stressed and depressed over it.

    That is why I thought perhaps it would be better if op's mum had access to the phone via the CH office.

    Re the money, I was wondering about a fake stash, but didn't dare suggest that op went into the forgery business!

    I think the idea of the care home having 'monopoly' currency for the residents is good, although how long before it got lost or 'stolen'? I suppose that might cause another set of problems.

    So difficult....
  11. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    It's a good technique, Red, putting the blame on someone higher up. Worked for me on a few occasions!
  12. Bod

    Bod Registered User

    Aug 30, 2013
    Would she accept a "credit card" which you would "top-up" as required.
    Just be sure to remove the 3 figure security code from the rear, if this was a genuine time expired card.

  13. Sue J

    Sue J Registered User

    Dec 9, 2009
    I agree with Red Lou, BlytheSpirit. But at the same time as denying her something try and distract her onto something else she might like and promise to bring it next time and make a point of saying , we discussed this last time and I've brought it for you. Maybe a nice cake that will keep her distracted during a visit, maybe you can discuss how good the bakers is etc. etc. just an example. It works with my friend and I just say I don't want to discuss money, it only upsets you and we can't do anything about it and am finding this works especially when I've not been for a while, as she knows if she goes on I won't stay long;). To promise it later is not a good idea, in my experience. She is a friend though and not my mother, more difficult for a son or daughter I know. You need the home to back up what you say though i.e. such large amounts aren't allowed. Maybe if she could or has to accept that taking her a copy of her bank statement each time may appease her if she is able to see its still in the bank OK.

    Just a few suggestions, hope you find something that helps.
  14. cragmaid

    cragmaid Registered User

    Oct 18, 2010
    North East England
    Just say " NO Mum". Sounds easy I know...I actually did it daily for weeks and months, but say " No Mum you can't, it's the law, the insurance man, the police, the care home manager, the bank"...pick any one and stick with it.

    If your OH is the only person Mum phones then...
    a) Set the phone to answerphone and only reply when " the bank is closed".
    b) Ignore the ranting and raving, we've almost all been " the evil one" at some stage.
    c) Get the senior carer/Manager to be in the room with you when you say no and let them re-inforce what you are saying.
    d) Take the phone out of her room, unless she uses it to talk to other friends and family, in which case.....d.2) break the damn thing!!!!:D:D:D:rolleyes:

    Try to get it through to OH that it is the Dementia talking, that she does not need the money and that any fantasy need she makes up is just that....made up!

    Yes there will be times she " hates " him....but she doesn't really...she hates Dementia but she can't understand the difference.
  15. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    SW London
    I agree absolutely that you must restrict access to the phone. If she has a mobile or a phone in her room then it needs to be 'lost' or 'broken' or disabled, with whatever little white lies (or big fat black ones) that are necessary. And CH staff must then restrict access to any other phone.

    Before she went into her CH my mother was bombarding my brother with calls - by that I mean frequently 30 calls in ONE HOUR. The stress on him was appalling. For this reason we said 'absolutely not' to a phone in her room. For the first week or two she would often ask the staff to 'ring my son' and they would restrict it to once or twice a day max. If she insisted they would pretend to dial and tell her he was out or it was engaged etc.

    But it was astonishing how quickly she forgot all about it - we had thought this obsession with phoning would go on for a long time. I do hope you will find the same, without too much added stress all round.
  16. Weary

    Weary Registered User

    Aug 1, 2014
    We had a similar problem MIL. Before she got alzheimers she used to keep large amounts of money in the house, but as her illness progressed she used to hide it and couldnt remember where and we had to spend hours searching. Then it all started to go missing and she would insist on having more in her purse and used to ger very upset and aggressive. We managed to get around the problem by photocopying £20 notes on the computer front and back and fiving her a couple of hundred pounds. Funnily enough they never went missing and we never did find out who was taking the real cash.
  17. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    SW London
    I don't think anyone was suggesting denying her access to her son completely - just restricting access to a phone so that she could not bombard him. It is incredibly stressful to be phoned continually at very short intervals, particularly if the person is always agitated or obsessed about the same thing, and it is something that it is not in your power to do, or give them. E.g. the thousand pounds in the OP's case, or someone demanding to go 'home' to a house they haven't lived in for 50 years. OK, maybe the OP COULD supply a grand in cash but in a care home setting where so much gets hidden and ultimately lost, this would be just plain daft.

    In our case we tried everything to stop my mother ringing my brother so often (there was always some obsession that was all in her head) but because of her short term memory issues, nothing ever worked. She simply was never aware that she had phoned him only ten or even five minutes previously, and many more times that day. And if anyone suggested that she was phoning far too often she would indignantly and very crossly deny it. To her, this was only the truth.
  18. patsy56

    patsy56 Registered User

    Jan 14, 2015
    Fife Scotland
    I was going to suggest this too. And welcome to TP Blythe
  19. chrisdee

    chrisdee Registered User

    Nov 23, 2014
    I have just had a thought - would writing her a cheque work? you could then cut the codes off the bottom to 'neuter it' she might like seeing her name on it. My Mum used to get very confused when we tried to explain bank statements to her - in the early stages of course. sorry if this is a silly idea.
  20. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    i agree with restricting access to a phone. Your OH has rights too. No-one should put up with being harassed in that way

    Photocopying banknotes is probably illegal but I think I'd have a go at that. Or how about this play money

    Would she accept a phoney 'bank cheque' for £1000? Maybe suggest she keeps it hidden in her room or deposits it in the CH safe for safety until she gets an chance to deposit it?

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