How to deal with an elder buying needless things?

Asked by

in a wheel chair buying exercise equipment

Answers 1 to 10 of 21
Lol. My Mom buys so many clothes it's ridiculous. Her closets are packed. I told her she could keep out of season things in my guest closet, but now that's packed too. She's constantly buying things that don't fit so I have to send them back.. She's spends hundreds of dollars in return postage.

I someone sends her a coupon she has to spend it.

She buys more ridiculous time savers. That don't save time because I have to send them back.

I'd like to ban QVC from her tv.
Top Answer
You can put controls on that QVC channel! My Dad had to do that with my mother. Not sure how you do it but contact your Pay T.V. company and I am sure they will be glad to help you out! (I think he had a password for it)! Good Luck!
Very interesting. My Mom's addicted to purchasing things she doesn't need "just in case". She even has expired stuff in her pantry, that she'll never use. ( cans of beans, palm hearts, etc.) Wonder if it's part of a regression type thing with demetia?
My husband went through this too -I do think it's one of the early stages of dementia. He bought all kinds of tacky things (THREE Snuggies!) and became obsessed with Publisher's Clearinghouse contests. Eventually I took over all the bill -paying (watch out that she's becoming late with those) and took the credit cards and checkbook and wallet. He still complains once in a while, but not often.
My widowed father went overboard signing up for expensive online dating sites approx. five years after my mother's passing. I knew it had much to do with loneliness and mild depression, but one look at his credit card bill and I simply took the card away from him. My brother and I both explained to him (brought him back to reality) that he barely has enough income on which to live, let alone sign up for every dating site on the web! He realized we were right, and all agreed that I was to become his POA, to handle all his bills and any incidental purchases he may have wanted. My brother and I DID give dad a gift card for $50, that he could use for any online purchases, but we feared that could become a 'monster' and that he would ask for more. He only used it once (for half of the amount - there is still an available balance), and has stopped frivolous online spending. That was months ago and all is still well. Shopping in stores is not so much an issue, as he is unable to drive so is with me for groceries, etc. Hope this helps someone. It is difficult, but sometimes inevitable, that we children become the parent - the circle of life.
I don't think just in case items are a symptom of AD. I have 2 of pratically everything. I buy the item very on sale or at a yard sale. I have the 2 one just in case the 1st one breaks. Then, I don't have to immediately run to a store to pay full price to replace the item. I have 2 fans, heaters, coffee makers etc I don't hoard just have back ups.
For too many years my Dad fell for Publishers CH and any sweeptakes contest that came to his mail box, he would send $$ to charities when in fact he was almost a charity case himself! He would allow neiter my Mom or I to "handle" the check book or mail.

After he had no choice about the checkbook and mail, I really saw the waste of money when he'd tell my Mom she was wasting money if she wanted something new, furniture etc. and he would never buy himself new items only hand me downs. But I'm told and from pictures I see, he used to be quite the dresser. I dont know what happened over the years.

Then when I had to clear their Apt out, it was truly sad! Dad had drawers full of catalog merchandise, watches, books, magazines that no one was intrested in, gidgets and gadgets under his bed in suitcases boxes galore! I donated so much and tossed too much!

I wish I had the guts to take the checkbook, cc, mail and car over a few yrs earlier but he refused and Mom knew there was a problem but did't want to question his manhood! In her world Mem took care of the household finances soo life happened and now there is no car or cc, I take care of the mail and checkbook..to pay the NH for their care...not too much finances to worry about now!
Yes, I worried about my husband's pride, too, as he'd always handled all the finances and taxes, has a Master's in Economics. But when I encountered a late fee for one credit card and took a look at his desk, I just broke it to him as gently as I could that I would be happy to do the bills now. I weaned him from one thing at a time, am doing all bills online now so he never even sees them -I never give him any mail any more without looking at it first, and the pleas for donations have stopped altogether. I did let him send in some donations for a while, but I started checking on the charities online first and talked him out of quite a few. The only one he still wants to do is a check to the church once a year, doesn't even ask about others.
I have found that my mother has a need to shop due to her fears from being a depression child. I give her gift cards to the Dollar Tree and take her shopping. It cuts down on some of her impulsive shopping.
Yep--Great Depression Era thinking stimulates many to hoard loads of supplies, just in case. IT does not matter that those are out-dated--they rarely understand the concept of "rotating stock" that is needed when one has extensive pantry stock.
Mom hoarded chatchkies [sp?], clothes, towels, pillow cases, furniture, and foods, she was also totally unable to do maintenance on anything. Not cleaning up messes, not proper care of all those piles of junk.
It was filthy, unhealthy.
I would have gladly turned over her money affairs to one of my siblings, yet, they mostly all said "let her spend it on anything she wants--look how poor she always lived! Let her enjoy!" But they woulnd't let her do that in their houses!
And, once it was all gone, they started suckering for her accusations that it had been stolen.
People who hoard, fear.
Their piles of hoarded stuff provide a perverse "security blanket" for them.
Lordie help anyone who tried to take any of that away!
IF anyone were to take care of their elder sensibly,
Money affairs would get turned over to someone with the elder's best interests at heart and mind, and taken from the elder
--MAYbe giving them a small allowance,
before they become destitute or lack proper care they need.
If there are multiple children, those need to agree and work together.
If they cannot, it will fail to help the elder and the family members cope,
and the whole experience becomes tragic,
instead of the beautiful life-transition-event it could be.
IT is so hard to tell when the moment is, to do many things for elders, since the changes are too often not clear-cut.
But it is never too early to set up POA's and other documentation, to have that in place.
Buying needless things? Time to put foot down. They will not like it.
They need reassurance--though sometimes no amount of that is enough..let them know you understand their fears of lack; it can be a struggle to give them enough reassurance.
Fear makes people do crazy things.

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support