Mom keeps going to the bank and withdrawing money and then forgetting about it. Is there anything I can do to prevent this?

Asked by

Mom has been INSISTING for the past week that she go to the bank. She asked multiple times during every single day. Why had I not taken her? Because last time she withdrew money (5K) she put it in her wallet, then stashed it in her house and then forgot where she had stashed it, said someone must have stolen it (no one had), then found where she had stashed it, and then blamed someone for moving it (no one had). Completely normal for dementia I think. Her caregiver took her a couple of weeks ago to the bank and she withdrew $700. The caregiver suggested that I take some of it, hold onto it and then put it into her wallet when I saw she only had a couple of hundred there (this way she wouldn't feel poverty stricken I guess). I did this and left her with $300. She did not notice that she had less than the $700 at all. I felt like crap taking the money from her but figured I would keep replenishing whatever money she spent so she would have money in her wallet.

Well, that plan failed! She kept insisting on going to the bank, so I put a couple more hundred dollars in her wallet thinking that would help. It didn't. So with great reluctance I took her yesterday. I was shocked when she withdrew that much and asked if she could take less, but she said she couldn't. And heck, it ain't my money is it, so what say do I have?? After we ate dinner that very same day, I asked her to make sure she still had her envelope so she could put it away safely in the house (yeah, probably to lose again!). Her response of "What envelope?" scared me. I said "The six thousand you withdrew from the bank." Her next response of "What six thousand? I withdrew six thousand dollars from the bank today?" confirmed that this is SO NOT A GOOD THING TO DO!!

When I dropped her off at her house I took the envelope without her knowing. Again, I feel like I stole from her, but I didn't. I don't want the money! I seriously doubt she will even remember this today. So here are my questions:

1. What should I do with the money? Should I either: a) deposit it all back into her account or b) deposit the majority and leave some in the envelope and give it back to her saying something like, "hey mom you dropped this envelope in the car. It has the (fill in a reasonable amount here, say $500) you withdrew from the bank yesterday. Here you go."

2. What the heck do I do in the future? She said she needed the 6K because she doesn't get to go to the bank too often. This is true. The reason is because I am always terrified she will make ridiculously large withdrawals. She is NEVER short of money, spends very little money (I handle all the bills) and always has at least $400 plus in her wallet at any given time. Even if I were to go the bank every week with her there is nothing to stop her from making large withdrawals. She NEVER listens to what I have to say, will not take my advice, and will damn well do what she damn well pleases to do!!

The balance in her account is so small now that it could only handle one or two more of these large withdrawals.

Not sure if it makes a difference but I do have POA, I am on the checking account too.

Thanks for your advice!

Answers 1 to 9 of 9
As I did with my mother, since you have Power of Attornery for your mother's finances, it's your responsibility to make sure her money is safe. Although she may ask for large sums of money, just give her $100 at a time -- it's a lot less painful when she misplaces $100 than it is larger sums. I also dislike having to tell my mother that since she doesn't shop for anything, there is no need to carry large sums and risk "losing" it. She may fuss at me for that, but I feel responsible that her money is protected. And, she generally will quit asking for more money after a day or so as long as I stay firm with her. It's a tough thing to do, but that is part of having POA for another person's finances.
I'd take the money back to the bank, after she withdraws it. Then it can't get lost and her feeling of "I really need this money" gets assuaged. The money is protected this way, and so are you. Part of being a financial custodian, in many states, is showing what happened to the money, and showing that you prevented the person from mis-spending or mis-using it. She is lucky you are her daughter!
I put the majority mom's money in a CD so she can't access it easily and we keep cash for her in the same spot in her desk (in small bills) so she always knows where it is. I keep her checkbook and pay her bills, seems to be working. Good Luck.
Since you have POA take her name off the account or start a new one with just your name on it -I would think since you are POA you would be able to do this-give her say 20 a week since you pay all her bills she has no need for the money-she may be remembering the great depression in her mind-long term memory.
Maybe she no longer knows that $6000 is an enormous sum of money. My dad offered to take me out to a very nice restaurant for my birthday. And then only packed $20 in ones. He thought it was worth much more.
My Mom always wants money in the house....we've found that 20 One Dollar Bills makes her happy.....she thinks she has lots of money that way.
Top Answer
Here's what I think. Make an appointment to have your mother go see her doctor. I assume that you have medical POA. Before you get go that day to see the doctor, talk with the doctor about your concerns and that is why you want him to evaluate your mother to see if she is capable of managing her business in a business like manner. Ask him if he will talk with your mother about her health and how she gave you the durable POA because she trusted you and she needs to understand that now is the time to let you take care of her finances. period. My mom's neurologist did that with my mother and it has worked great.
Thanks everyone for all of your advice. Oh cmagnum, if only that would work! My mother will not allow me to discuss anything about her in front of anyone. If I were to tell her doctor she stubbed her toe, no problem. If I were to say anything about my mother no longer being completely capable, BIG problem!!

My mother is always in complete denial about everything. She has 50% hearing loss and refuses to believe that she needs a hearing aid. She is also in complete denial about money. If I were to say to her or her dr. that she ordered things and then forgot she had ordered them, and then didn't want them when they came, and then I had to send them back. And then she forgot all about it, it wouldn't do any good. She would be pissed. Very pissed. I am not allowed to say anything about her than is not in a positive light. But I do thank you for your help.

The ongoing saga with the bank is still that. Every single day she asks me to take her to the bank when I am with her. Every single day that I am not with her she asks the caregiver to take her to the bank. We have come up with some very creative ways/excuses for not taking her there, "it's closed/I don't have time to" etc. When we are driving by the bank I will divert her attention to across the street and point at ANYTHING, eg. "hey mom, look at that cloud/tree/piece of lint/pothole" so she doesn't see the bank. Yesterday, I positioned myself right next to a tractor trailer so she couldn't see the bank.

I still have her 6K. She STILL has not mentioned it, but does still insist on going to the bank.

Thanks again everyone for taking the time to respond. You are all such wonderful people!!
What would happen if you put the account in your name or told the caregiver not to take her to the bank-you are probably paying the caregiver so what you say should count-maybe she has to be told she needs to be evaluated by a doc in order to keep runnung to the bank.

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