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My 87 year old mother is insisting that we take out her $3000 she has in savings and give it to her in cash. This is all of her savings and she will not say what she wants it for. She accuses us of having stolen it from her. When we say we are worried it could be stolen or she will need it in the future, she says her finances are none of our business. It is partly dementia and partly a power struggle. We are afraid she wants to give it to the caregiver. We have contributed tens of thousands of dollars to her care over the past 5 years and we will step in again if she needs something after this money is gone. Does anyone have a good solution?

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You are right that it's partly dementia and partly a power struggle. Our elders lose so much dignity and power and their money, in their minds, means independence. My uncle gave thousands of dollars to a couple of agency caregivers. They were very good and he had to move to a nursing home. It's what he wanted to do and it was done. But, my mother was a little annoyed.

However, when she got to "that stage", she did some unwise things with her money and I "couldn't stop her." She, of course, was right. I didn't want to stop her, but I wanted her to understand what she was doing. In the end, it was her money and she did what she wanted. Then, of course, she couldn't figure out what happened to the money. It's very hard and my heart goes out to you.

You are very generous and are doing all you can. I don't know that you can stop her unless you have guardianship. Logic often won't help in these struggles. The only practical advice I can give you is to see if a third party she trusts (outside of the family, like a faith community leader), can talk to her. Often, a third party helps because that takes away the parent/child thing and the family dynamics.
Good luck, Harpchick. You have your hands full.
Carol
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