Excessive ATM Withdrawals - buying, hoarding or giving it away.


My father and I share a home, he is in the mid stage of Alzheimer's. I have take over control of the checking account and allow my 90 year old father about $800 a month for him to do with whatever. I move most of the retirement funds into a Money Market account which will be our emergency fund as cash is pretty lean these days. I pay the 4 monthly bills he has each month out of the MM account.

I did this as I found an index card on his desk that kept track of his ATM withdrawals. He refuses to use his debit card. Anyway, most of the withdrawals were okay but then started escalating and in May he withdrew over $1,300 and I could not see what he could have possibly spent it on. We went to his lawyer so she could talk to him about how to protect himself and suggested that I open another account and leave his "pocket change" like she does for her mother. When we asked him about the money he could not remember what he had spent it on. The receipts I could find never totaled anywhere close that amount.

Even though he only has a certain amount to spend, he has withdrawn $520 in the last 3 weeks, his receipts total about $200 and he cannot remember where the rest has gone.

There are no new clothes or things that I can find in the house. He has recently had his license revoked by the State at his doctor's recommendation so it isn't going on gas or car upkeep.

I have heard that sometimes Alzheimer's/dementia patients hoard or hide money. Does anyone else out there have similar experiences? If so, is this normal? How, if any, can it be changed or managed?

He is angry and frustrated at me as I have taken over the control of most of the finances even though he admits he is not handling his money well.


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My father, took 380.00 from the atm and lost it.

Lately his big war with me is multilevel marketing. He wants to buy! He wants to buy!
I have called companies after he makes online purchases, and cancelled, their nasty setups of buy 1 cure-all pill, and get 1 free. But it's not easy to cancel, as they always seem to keep at least 30-50$ in their pocket, for receiving the first free bottle.
Now his friend, another elderly man, is a multilevel marketeer
referring longevity pills. From a non-us company,
a company with a record, where the heads even went to prison for tax evasion and faulty products in the bottles.
He calls me the thief and wants me "his only caregiver" out of the house.
These situations have become to insane to deal with, and the credit card companies, are not helping. They do not seem to offer card blocking on internet purchases, and even if I did get that to happen he could hit me.

This generation of derogatory elders 70+ are abusive
and do not deserve any help given by their children.
However, many still are physically active,
driving and talking to people on the streets and shops, and for some reason they are getting way too much Mr. Nice Guy by everyone.
When they are rude and abrasive, and selfish, with not even a brain to comprehend how long 7 days are, or even pay their bills.
Nor are they able to think their savings is for the future.
The basic understanding that money has to be there for them,
through til the end of their lives, funeral costs included.
So, they cannot overspend.

End of story.

It's still an issue! There is that gray area where the person is not incompetent enough to have POA activated but judgement is just not 100% and the predators are out there, and know how to "dress as an angel of light" with flattery and sob stories, believe me.

At this point and time does it really matter,since the post was from 2012?

This probably doesn't explain where your dad's money went to, but is another thing to be aware of. My MIL was a very kindly soul, and easily taken in by people who would call her and praise her and ask for money for their "charity." One of her sons finally noticed that someone was taking $900 out of her checking account monthly, and as word got around to other scammers, she was sending money to others who called and asked for it after they told her what a wonderful person she was. Just something else to be aware of in elderly folks with dementia.

Definitely go through magazines and papers before they go in trash or recycling. Shirt pockets, under drawer liners, address books, books they have been reading, etc...... I am betting you will find a few hundred hidden here and there.

I think $800 is too much pocket money for someone with a spending problem on a fixed income. Would your dad notice if you gave him less? Instead of giving him $200 a week, how about you give him $100 in small bills like $1s and $5s?

This may sound extreme, but have you followed him to see where he goes?

I suggest you set-up a separate account just for your father's ATM withdrawals. The account should have a very low limit. This will prevent him from withdrawing amounts the limits set. You can deposit more funds as you feel appropriate. Your bank should be able to help with setting up a new account with debit only or ATM withdrawal priviledges.
I almost guarantee that this option will frustrate him and make him angry. But money is power when it comes to memory loss caregiving. You must prevent him from squandering liquid assets. On the other hand, allowing him an "allowance" is important for his dignity. Thus, my recommendation for the low limit on the account for his ATM.
IMO, caregivers for those with memory loss have a hard grasping that money loss and misuse is part of this disease. Thus limiting the amount that can be lost is a way to limit caregiving frustration with this unwise behavior.
I am a professional caregiver. I have seen money given away, hidden, used for unwise purchases over and over again. It is hard to escape this behavior.
Good luck.

I have been going through the same thing with my dad. He had stashed money so he would always have it, he didn't trust banks, right before dad got bad he started to throw things away. My aunt, his sister who is VERY greedy lives across the street from him, called me and told me he was throwing things away but not to worry she was watching him. I guess she was doing more than that because dad had to go in the nursing home and do I started looking for money he had hid., didn't find a whole lot, also found out there is a separate account at the bank in my dad and my aunts name, never knew ths existed, because no one has power of attorney I can't get any information about this new account. Makes me wonder if he threw money away or if she asked him for money, he had gotten to where the money didn't make sense, you may ask for a ten and he would hand you a hundred, amounts didn't make sense. Get something done so you can find out what is going on with the money you can't track down. With dementia they throw away stuff and hid stuff. Good luck and keep us posted.

My mom in law has dementis and we have taken over her bills. We found she was giving money to others in the family...and then she would bounce checks. So we finally got through to most of these family memebers, that this had to quit. She has no money for anyone.....then we found out she had got her credit card company to issue a family member a card on her account. I then called the credit card company, but they said unless she called them, they could not stop anything. So I gt the card from the family member and cut it up. So, if you are not seeing anything he has bought, he may be hording it, but could be giving it away to someone that has befriended him....it is a shame when they can not remember what they have done, and they get so upset when you try to talk to them....Prayers are said that you figure out what is going on and where the money is going.

Our mother experienced some one exploiting her as her cognitive functioning decline was occuring. The financial institutions watched hundreds of thousands of dollars be depleted and stood by and did nothing although they new the money was being withdrawn under duress. If you have concerns get conservatorship and take charge of the funds. It can escalate and the system will not help you. We have attempted to address our families issues with the banking industry, health and human services and police to no avail. If your worried protect your loved one. There illness is precluding them from helping themselves. It may be simply forgotting where the money is "hidden" or they may be victimized. Err in protecting them. I wish we would have known earlier so we could have perserved our mothers assets so she has them when she needed them. Financial exploitation of the elderly (especially involving abuse by family) is an area the system does not want to address even though the studies should how frequently family members do just that -exploit the person who trust them.

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