This person has been failing (and in denial about it) for many years until an accident forced the decision to get them into care. They now have a diagnosis of Alzheimer's. Currently they're in assisted living, but soon may need a nursing home. They have a will already; the POA has been enacted; we're doing all we can. Yet this person is constantly asking us to allow control of their own money, checkbook, credit card, etc. NOT possible and not safe! We do dispense cash, but that's not good enough. How can we give our relative some dignity without giving them access to things they cannot and should not handle?

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We gave our loved one the checkbook (limited number of checks) and statements to write checks and put in envelope, etc. Then we told them we would mail. We would just shred once we picked up from loved one and never mail. We had autopay set up. We also gave small allowance.
This may be advised to be done under supervision "Dad, I'll come by end of each month and we'll go thru bills so you can pay and then have lunch after".
Also, I think prepaid card sounds good -- then YOUR loved one can use to take you out for lunch, etc and they pay and feel in control.
You just have to be careful with limited money and not leaving checkbook around where someone unscrupulous could get ahold of it and make unauthorized purchases.

Another option is if you can open a new account and transfer all funds over there and cancel old account. Let the elder continue to write checks on old account - but the checks will be invalid. (again you never mail these). They feel good, you don't have to worry about the bogus checks.

My friend also set up a desk for her dad and would give him folders, old stuff, pens, pads, etc. so he could "go to work everyday" -- he was constantly engaged in shuffling papers, looking at old policies, etc.; keeping his calendar (might want to cross out any confidential data (account numbers, SSN).

Hard to make them feel important. The other thing is when you get these "fake" credit card or aarp cards in the mail - you can always tuck them into a purse or wallet and in makes someone feel important carrying it around, but it is "un-usable".

My mom is in memory care and obsessed with her mail, bills and money. I keep telling her the fib is that "we put HOLD" on mail at post office and all her mail is being held for her until "next week". She is good with that.

Also, nice if you can send your loved one cards, letters, bring over the junk mail for them to go through. It lets them feel in control and they tire easily from it because they no longer have the focus.
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Crystal95437 Sep 2018
Really great ideas!
Your responses will need to be therapeutic fibs - you don't come right out and say no or try to convince them that they aren't capable, instead you come up with a plausible excuse: I'll bring them next time - so sorry I forgot, I don't know where my head is - I'll call the credit card company and get an application form (you might be able to give her a form, real or fake, to take care of herself since she isn't likely able to fill it out) - oh, we're out of checks, I'll have to order more.... you get the idea. Then you move the conversation off to something else. Unfortunately if she is determined you might have to repeat this at every visit.
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This is part if the Dementia. I used to tell Mom there was no need for money at her AL. She got 3 meals and snacks each day. Yes, they had outings but she was a fall risk and her Dementia was to the point it wasn't fair to the athletics to have to watch her. If she did go, I would have given her money. You can say the AL requests that residents not have credit cards or checkbooks at the facility. Its nice to think that no one would steal from a resident but it happens even by fellow residents.
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My father has vascular dementia, lives in a good MC where he can get free snacks at any time and wants his money too (really hates that I'm his guardian and have control over his money). I give him $20 in cash each week when I visit (from his money) and put another $75 in an Amex Serve prepaid debit card account from my money. My brother uses the debit card money buying Dad take out lunches and snacks which he doesn't need in a physical sense but maybe does in an emotional sense. Dad has issues around food from his neglectful childhood.

Elder law attorney told me the $20 weekly allowance would be fine if we ever needed Medicaid qualification. Court hasn't had any problems when reviewing expenses either.
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Be careful about the mail you let them see--make sure it doesn't have any reply information that could lead to purchases!
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Such a good topic. There are previous threads (you can search the site) where peolle talk about letting them review a checkbook register and bank statements to approve things. This will sound undignified, but it’s to offer some activities where they get to ‘play’ banking. Perhaps an earlier year’s materials so there’s lots of activity to audit. And something pretty simple so they don’t get overwhelmed. See if this doesn’t give you some ideas. Good luck. :)
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Let the Alzheimer's patient have $2.00. No more. So to them, especially as their disease advances, it would be like having $200.00.
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When Mom was no longer able to care for her finances my Aunt and I set a system in place that worked for her and us. My Aunt was with her Mon noon – Friday noon and I came by noon on Saturday and stayed until Sunday evening. Aunt would help Mom sort the mail and they had a folder that they put anything that needed further attention. When I arrived on Saturday we sat at the dinette table, got out the folder, her checkbook and her ledger book. We reviewed each item and if it was something to pay I asked if she wanted to write the check or should I do it. She watched me balance her checkbook and update her ledger. We wrote a check once a month for cash and that went into her envelope system to pay for gas, groceries, the newspaper and eating out. We also sat together and fixed her pills for the next week and then reviewed her grocery list that they had been updating all week. Once she got comfortable with my involvement there were some weeks she’s say “oh you just do it” and she sat and watched her cooking shows.
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