obsessed with money


Registered User
Mar 1, 2008
My MIL has always kept a tight hold of the purse strings and it's a family joke she would 'walk a mile to save a penny' but since her illnes she is totally obsessed with money. She sits all day going through her bank books and bag and purse trying to add things up and obsessing there is money missing, or she hasn't enough to live on etc. Do peoples characteristics become more exagerated with the illness ? We can't even take everything off her because she still has the insight to know it's gone !And then that natters at her. 3 phone calls already this morning about money. And it's only 9.30 ! My husband had planned to go walking with his friend today - I've packed him off because I think it's a stress-buster and she doesn't use his mobile number so I'll field the calls today ! I've told him to run for the hills !


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
Do peoples characteristics become more exagerated with the illness
Hello helbo

Yes is my answer to your question.

my personal view is that people with dementia are no different from those without.

It is just that they do things too much, or too little, or at an inappropriate time, or in an inappropriate place, or with inappropriate people. Things that might have been suppressed - swearing, for example - may become the norm.

They concentrate on small things that can absorb them - moving furniture or other objects, or worrying about money, or hiding things.

all par for the course, in my opinion.


Registered User
Mar 6, 2007
Wigan, Lancs
Hi Helbo,

Obsession with money is very common. My Dad who never bothered with money (happy to spend it, but never checked whether there was enough money in the account!) has become obsessed with money. At first it was just opening bank statements, something he had left to my Mum for 40 plus years. Now he is past being able to understand a bank statment, he is obsessed with having cash on him and keeps his wallet with his cards (long since cancelled) on him at all times.

So in answer to your question, yes sometimes pre-existing characteristics become exaggerated, sometimes they develop brand new ones. Not much help I know.

Hope your husband has a good day's walking. :)

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Hello Helbo,
Do peoples characteristics become more exagerated with the illness ?
In my experience, Yes, yes, yes.

My husband always managed our money. He was in business and so did all the banking and budgeting. I was happy for him to do it as I was never interested.
Now he has no control because he has lost his ability even to read a bank statement and it worries him constantly.
He cannot appreciate we have money coming in regularly, without having to work for it, he frets constantly about how much we have, whether it`s enough to pay the bills, where it goes and how we get it. He is beginninmg to distrust the bank, thinking they will run off with his money.
I believe it`s all a part of security, as my mother was the same. She had been in business too and was used to handling money.
Whatever the reason, it`s very trying.


Registered User
Nov 7, 2004
Hi Helbo

Yes, mum had always looked after her money, but it became a constant nightmare.

Mum was always checking what was in her purse, day and night.

If she had less than £30 it was a major crisis because “the milkman might call and I won’t have enough to pay him” (always the same phrase.) (And she could end up having only £5 in her purse if a Carer had taken her out and removed the money from her purse for safety and failed to replace it on return. This happened many times).

If she had more than £60 in her purse we had a smaller crisis. “A burglar might come” (always the same phrase.)

After the Government stopped issuing Pension Books we had a constant problem. “I have lost my pension book”. “How can I get any money” “I will starve”.

If I showed her a bank book she would just deny it was hers, possible because it was not a bank that she remembered from pre 1940.

Those who have not experienced a person with AD have no idea of what it is like.



Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
Toronto, Canada
My mother had quite a bit of money in a savings account and insisted on showing her bankbook to all & sundry.

She also fretted about the cost of the first home she was in but I lied quite easily about that. As long as she had some cash on her, coins and notes, she was reassured. Fortunately, it didn't need to be a lot of money. But yes, worrying about money does seem to be one of the more common traits of AD.


Registered User
Mar 1, 2008
Oh my goodness ! Thanks so much for your replies, it's a common theme then. As far as the day has progressed, I had another call from MIL insisting she owes us £650, I managed to placate her, and told her my OH was going over to do her tea later so she could talk to him about it then if still worried. I then went out to do some shopping, checked the phone when I got back and thought 'oh good, she's settled down'. Unbeknown to me she had rung my brother in law on his mobile, and he has had to come home from work to calm her. OH returns from walk saying his brother had left a message on his phone telling him this, so immediately I'm saying 'oh so it's all my fault is it? because I was out and she rang him ?' Oh dear. I bet he goes over in a while with her tea, and she can't remember doing it. Best of it is I've spent all afternoon preparing the next 3 days meals for her, blissfully unaware his brother has been summoned from work !


Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
Do peoples characteristics become more exagerated with the illness ?

yes as from my experience it like looking at mum characteristics from a magnifying glass.

I was told that from a dementia nurse ( all characteristics are magnify ) when mum was told she has AZ , but did not believe it till it happen to her.

all characteristics are magnify

She sits all day going through her bank books and bag and purse trying to add things up and obsessing there is money missing,
so when she doing that she not obsessing , but it can be perceive as that , but she forgetting then remembering then forgetting , she done it in the first place and it start all over again , so that why its perceived as magnifying, because its a 1001 time worse how it use to be , before she got dementia

my mother was also a worrier all her life so that was magnify 1001 per cent more .
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Registered User
Jul 10, 2006
south lanarkshire
Hi Margarita

That is a good example, MAGNIFIED.

Mum was always in control of the finances and ahe managed more than competantly.

But, with dementia, she became obsessed with money, was forever hiding bank books and so losing them, then there was a big panic and a catastrophic reaction
When we went to her house and tried to help find the lost money bank books whatever, she created again, thinking we were stealing from her.

The only answer to this problem is time. We had to wait until Mum deteriorated and then took over the finances.


Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
NW England
Hello helbo Yes is my answer to your question.
And No - is the answer from me ....... not disagreeing with Brucie here :)- just a different viewpoint ...... from my owm personal persepctive .....

Dementia has 'changed' my mum ...... or has it? Is it that she is exhibiting exaggerated behaviours or is it that I am more aware of them always having being there in the first place? Is it my magnification or hers?

Obsession with money? Yes absolutely ...... if I don't top her her 'cash stashes' around the house she frets ..... but she no longer has any concept of bills or how much money she has in the bank, or what money goes out each month to cover bills .... she was certainly obsessed before I took over as EPA ..... once she knew the 'cash stashes' were hers she seemed to 'relax' more ....???? So endorse earlier thoughts on 'security' ..... in terms of money .... and to mum that means having cash to hand ....... (even if it's in her slippers!!!!!)

Love, Karen, x


Registered User
Nov 7, 2004
Whilst we are talking about money one should also include the nightmare of what to do when it APPEARS to go missing from your loved one’s purse.

There was never any chance of mum remembering where her cash had gone, and she never had a receipt. Even though at best I could only guess about how much should be left in the purse at the end of the day, when it was nil I would always panic.

Up to the day when mum was taken off Aricept she was still paying cash to “the milk man” “the bread man (mobile shop)” “the Tea Man” “the window cleaner” and her “over 60’s club subs”. And she was also having three or four different Carers / neighbours visiting her each day.

Whilst all these people behaved impeccable (except for the foreign coins someone gave in change), I was always worried when the amount of money left in the purse was significantly less than expected. It was not possible to mount a search for the money without panicking mum, who would always follow me around, so I would sit and irrationally worry about what I should be doing about the assumed loss.

I don’t believe anything actually ever went “missing” because money would keep turning up in a 'cash stash’ stuffed in a vase or hidden under the biscuit tin or at the back of her underwear draw. Sometimes a Carer had deliberately removed the money from the purse if they were going out, and pushed it into a sideboard draw expecting mum to remember where it had been put !!!!. (Mum always had to take her purse when she left the house).

Being male I went for months before I realised that mum had two purses and two handbags, and that the full purse could be in the handbag that had been carefully put away in the bottom of the wardrobe and which reappear like magic at a later date.

With hind sight the loss of the odd £20 is nothing compared to the expense of AD… but at the time I could not see it that way.



Registered User
Feb 27, 2008
My mum is exactly the same. She is always checking her bank statements and all around the house are notes of how much is in each account.When you go into the house she is always in the bedroom and she says she is tidying drawers but when you go in to see she has bank statements all over the place and no one is allowed to touch them. She is forever losing bank cards no matter how many times we try to keep them in the same place.


Registered User
Nov 16, 2007
East Midlands
My husband is always talking about money..he can no longer understand a bank statement..asks me continually if we have enough money..

Checks his wallet and panics if there's nothing in it..

Asks at least 10 times daily about his pension..how does he get it? Why does he have to pay tax? Do they win money on "Countdown"
Do I give money to anyone? How much money do we have? Who pays for mum's taxi home when she comes for lunch on a Sunday..is it us? If I take mum shopping..who is paying for the shopping..and so on ad infinitum..
Part of his daily ritual is to get the share prices on teletext..and watch them rising and falling as the day progresses..the reality is he can not be trusted to look after money..he has no idea..fortunately I'm here to monitor the cash flow situation and look after household finances..

How you all do it from a distance..well..I take my (virtual) hat off to you..

Love Gigi x


Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
I don’t believe anything actually ever went “missing” because money would keep turning up in a 'cash stash’ stuffed in a vase or hidden under the biscuit tin or at the back of her underwear draw

Reminds me of how my mother was , so like to add with my mother she also hide it in pillow cases under her mattress , sure she just hide it then just forget she puts it they , then blames every one of stealing it .

One day I went looking for it with my mother behind me following me, I look it the back of her chest of draws , where I found tins of tuna , stale lumps of cheese , tea bags , so I turn around and said to my mother I suppose the hamster done this ! well she did use to blame the dog for urinating in her bedroom and in the bath .

I would always ask her how much she lost , it was OK when she said £ 20 So I would take £ 20 when she was not looking , then I would say Look I found it , it was right under your bed all the time .

But when it came over £100 , I could not replace that , but like you say Clive the next few day it would reappear like magic that use to happen also with jewelry .

I would search all the house for her wedding ring she said she lost , next day it was on her finger !!! :D


Registered User
Jul 6, 2007
leigh lancashire
Hi Helbo.my dad was bloody obsessed with money.i put it down to him being one of 7 kids.never had nowt.first up bessed dressed in their house!so when he had money it wasn't a commodity.he was so tight he would wake up to see if he'd lost any sleep!turn the grill off to turn the toast over!too tight to shiver when it was cold!a differnt day and age to what we live in now.bless him.love elainex


Registered User
Jul 10, 2007
I was reading through this thread and suddenly had a thought which made me giggle.

The generation that we are caring for now always dealt in cash, so cash becomes their security, just think when we get there we will start to worry about little cards of plastic! :D

Future conversation;
Me; " I cant find my credit/debit card someone has stolen it!!!"

Carer; "Dont worry Dear, here have an out of date library card."

Sorry if my sense of humour got the better of me here but you sometimes have to laugh. ;)


Registered User
Jan 2, 2008
The same thought went through my mind on Tuesday when visiting mum in her new 'home' there are two levels, one assisted care and the other 'reminessence' (emi). both groups were gathered in the lounge and a lovely man was playing the piano and getting them all to sing, it was a great sight and one that brought a lump to my throat, one particular lady who does not appear to be very old, late fifties, who just sits and never seems to be responsive to anything/one was encouraged and she tried to clap to the music, and I'm sure I saw a slight smile.

My point being do we have any traditional songs that we were brought up with, cant imagine a good old sing-a-long to Queen, Robby Williams, Bay city Rollers or the Spice Girls! :eek:


Registered User
Jul 10, 2007
Mowtown! Its got to be Mowtown for me lol Id be there singing 'Baby love or Rain Night in Georgia' well out of tune at the top of my voice whilst everyone else turns down their hearing aids. :D


Registered User
Feb 28, 2008
Macclesfield, Cheshire
From my experience in nursing/care homes this isn't just a phenomenon restricted to people with AZ or dementia. ALOT of people, even some not considered to be very old obsess about money. I think part of it at least is they have insight into the fact their mental capacity is deteriorating and the read and hear about financial abuse all the time. It makes them very fearful. Heck it makes ME very fearful of being ripped off, so MAGNIFIED is definately the right word.
Try to make sure her bills are on DD and make sure her bank statements are easy to read. Some banks might even be able to help with this. Someone she trusts could write a sort of permanant list of incomings and outgoings for her to refer to. Copy it and laminate it and let her put one near the phone and in her handbag. Give her a money bank with a "see through" front to keep her coins in. Ask her if she would like a set time every week for a person she trusts to be her "accountant" and check all her bills and statements are in order. Give her a folder to keep receipts in and write very clearly at the top of each one what they are for.
Sometimes distraction works. Is there anything she can be diverted with to take her mind off her finances?

I do sympathise with you. Im sure you know its only her illness that makes her so oblivious to your kindness and patience, but when you work so hard for her happiness it can be really hurtful to be acused or simply ignored. Try not to take it personally.

I've found that, although it can take a long time, the worse the condition gets the less notice is taken of money, perhaps because they can't remember or feel too tired to bother. It could be feelings of uncertainty about paying for her future that are promoting these thoughts. Is she clear how she will be looked after, and how her finances will be dealt with once she is no longer capable? Has she got something in writing? Is it repeated to reassure her? Maybe she could speak to a solicitor to have her wishes discussed.
Good luck and keep smiling. It sounds as though you are All doing a great job.:):):)

Edit: Ishard, I think you should get an LPA set up for yourself now.before you start trying to pay for things with your library card and getting cash out with your BlockBuster card!!!! ehehehe :)
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Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
I've found that, although it can take a long time, the worse the condition gets the less notice is taken of money, perhaps because they can't remember or feel too tired to bother.

I can not pin point , when it all stop about mum panicking about her money , its just seem to disappear without me even noticing it really . For my mother I would say she just became to tired to bother,because how I perceive it now looking back , as the disease progressed it all came to much for her to comprehend with all the brain damage going on in her brain .

I remember she use to tell my friends and daughters " I give her all my money, and she don't feed me :eek:. what she meant is that I had forgotten to get her the food she like , so had to even her something else . she get the hump . She still get the hump now about food she does not like , but does not mention money any more .

Sad really , but it never felt sad when it was happing drove me mad:D it was like an never ending money story . but even story has an Ending . Then a new
beginning , that was the incontinent stage.... In that Now with her , been about a year half so far ....... Oh I do go on
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