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

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Even though he only has a certain amount to spend, he has withdrawn $520 in the last 3 weeks, his receipts total about $200 and he cannot remember where the rest has gone.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

Thanks!

17 Comments

I'd bet dollars to donuts he's stashing it and forgetting how much and where. My mom before she really even got bad had over $900.00 in a teapot - she knew about it and thought it was something less than $100.00 and wanted me to use it for my travel expenses (I think she was a little behind on airfare and gas costs too :-) but we used it to pay a skilled care bill of hers. Try thinking of where Dad would stash something to keep it a secret or a suprise from you, check the pockets of anything going in the laundry too!
Yes, he could be hiding it. He could also be giving it away to strangers he meets on the way from the ATM machine! Who knows?

But here is the certainty: You absolutely have to take more control of the finances. I would close the account that has the ATM card. He may be angry and frustrated. Help him over that as best you can. But isn't that better than being broke? And, if it ever happens that he needs to apply for Medicaid (let's hope not but it is hard to be certain) large sums unaccounted for are going to be a nightmare.

Help your Dad. Take over his finances completely.
lol, i am living with one who has dementia. He has a shopping problem, what he sees on internet he buys. I then found out he has 10 over drafts protection on his accouts bank warned him you keep shopping we will close your bank account and we are giving you allowance no more then $300.00 a month. I am in process filing to be conservatorship waiting on lawyer to email me back when she returns from vacation to start procedure. Yes when you have dementia and first thing they do is go shopping online and spend money on stupid stuff you don't need. Here is a sample what he did. He order car insurance for $50,000 for civic honda and we don't even have a car or that kind of money. My daughter tells me insurance company keeps calling us about car insurance she told them we don't have a car or that kind of money.. Then he goes and buy a IPAD for $900.00 from QVC and he only made one payment and phone calls started to come in all day everyday where is the money. Bank closed account on him cause of his shopping and opened another bank account with a limit. Living with someone with Dementia is not fun, basically your life is on hold..
Thanks one and all! I have control over the bank accounts but may do what MissSassy4864 suggests and close it altogether and just give him an allowance.

Thankfully Dad cannot figure out how to buy anything on line but he does buy all sorts of silly stuff we don't need but he sees it at the grocery store think it sounds like something good to eat!

I will start checking coat pockets and pants pockets and other places. It is tough as he is usually home when I am.

Yes, MissSassy, I feel like I have lost my identity and wonder if I will have any energy when I get my life back to participate. I am exhausted.

Thanks again for all the great comments!
the good thing he can't shop anymore, but when it comes to having money he don't worry about a bill he wants to go to the store and buy junk food, and simple stuff and things that are not worthy to have.. Talk to your bank about your situation and let them know what is happening. My daughter told them he has Dementia and when she told them what is happening they got to took care of his money and gives him allowance. ATM card won't work at all even he has one they won't let him take with draws from bank. If he wants to take $20.00 they say NO we are setting a budget for you...He is not mad no more at first he was. They forget alot. Good luck to you... I am exhausted to. I got got Meds for him 400mg serqual something like that to let him sleep at nite. I hope that will work, he was taking one hundred mg did not work at all. Now he is sleeping i am relaxed and less stress I hope meds will work..
I am tired i can't even type or write at all. Good nite all, i think i a going to sleep early wake up call is 12:45am to go to work. Have a great nite all. Good luck
As to the big withdrawls contact the bank to see where the money was withdrawn. Then see if that location can show you a photo of the subject doing the withdraw. That way you can be certain it was your father. As a side line it may give you an idea of where it was sent. Just dont advise the bank of the latter. Tell them you are concerned that someone is taking advantage of your dad or may have stolen a card.
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.
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.
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.

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