Dad is anxious about money and demanding. How do I respond to him?


I feel bad for him but also so angry. My 81-year-old dad is very well off but since my mom died a year and half ago he just cannot believe it. He doesn't trust bank statements and insists on harassing the bank employees to explain to him again how much money he has. Every week he calls my fiance and tells him he needs to go to the bank "just to get his money straightened out." My fiance has very little spare time and is getting really sick of those trips, but he is too nice to tell Dad he can't bear to do it again. So I have to tell Dad, but Dad doesn't trust me and he thinks I'm just being difficult.

My fiance doesn't have a lot of money, and yet usually ends up buying lunch for Dad during outings because Dad is so cheap.

I feel bad for Dad, everything he lost when Mom died. There are moments when he is very sweet an d we have nice drives and outings together sometimes. But when he goes on about how poor he is, sometimes I feel so angry I can't talk to him. Then there are also his ridiculous demands, like that I sew a hole in some old sweatshirt he's had since 1982..he also has hoarder tendencies with clothes.

It sounds like this anxiety about money is textbook dementia? He is forgetful as well, and repeats the same stories again and again, and has some strange ideas. There is also a family history of schizophrenia. I try to keep all that in perspective but it is difficult to respond with compassion when Dad is so cheap, selfish, and mistrusting. Tonight he called my fiance again wanting to go to the bank this week--and every minute we don't call him back his anxiety is growing--but I just can't bring myself to call him back when I feel so sick of his...crap :)

I feel like a horrible, rotten, covetous person for thinking about it but my life, my fiance's life, my sister's life would be so much easier if Dad could just help us out financially. I know I need to stop thinking about that and try to have compassion for Dad in his crippling anxiety.

Anybody else have advice on how to talk to an infuriating parent without getting frustrated?

One last thing, he has been prescribed antianxiety meds a few weeks ago and I think he is taking them, but no discernible difference yet.

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Good Morning,
Your first question, How do I respond? You respond with Love. Oh I know it is not that easy, When we put our folks into Assisted Living from their own home, we just had to be very firm and take our time re-re-re-re-explaining how and why it was necessary. All the time getting the necessary papers in order. Then we explained that it was a 'done deal' and they agreed and signed the papers.
The idea of "no money' must also be somewhat prevalent among that generation. I guess if they don't carry it, they forget they have it! So his going to the bank to 'straighten things out' is his confirmation of the money actually being there. Besides, you do realize that we, the children, our the people our parents will believe only if confirmed by someone else!! Prayers are with you from all across this forum. My prayers are for your peace and for your guidance in making the hard decisions for your dad's care!! God Bless!
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These are helpful responses, thank you...I am realizing how common it is for older people to start obsessing about money. In Dad's case, Medicaid is never going to be a concern. He is literally a millionaire (who shops at thrift stores!)
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Oh, and I agree with Babalou about accepting financial aid from him. I have a feeling that it might come back to bite you in the butt. It might also affect his ability to qualify for Medicaid if he needs to on down the road. What looks like a lot of money on the surface is not much when it comes to nursing home care, so it is always good to keep Medicaid rules in mind when it comes to elder care. A big one here is no gifting of money or property to family or other people.
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My mother has two things she obsesses about. One of them was money. She has dementia and has never had too much business/financial sense about her. My father always handled the family finances when he was alive.

For a year or so, my mother fretted about how much money she had. She gets the bank statements, but doesn't remember or fully understand them. Instead of going through numbers again and again, I started telling her simply that she had plenty to last her if she is able to stay at home, but that it will be gone quickly if she needs to go in a nursing home. It is a truthful answer that satisfies her. Number crunching just confuses her, because she has no real understanding of the cost of things and no memory for numbers.

I wouldn't take him to the bank so often unless he has deposits or withdrawals he needs to make. I know you want to make him happy, but it is a waste of your and the bank's time. I hope you're able to find a way to calm his concerns about money. Since your sister has POA, she may be the best one to handle his concerns.
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My sister has financial POA, I'm not sure for medical.

He saw his regular doctor; I think it would be too hard to get him to see a psychiatrist. But I think you are right that it would be good to talk to his doctor and let her know what is going on. Dad also has what you would almost call an eating disorder; he is always talking about his "spare tire" and meanwhile his pants are falling off him. He's always saying he doesn't need anything to eat, but when you give him something he wolfs it down like he is starving. He eats one meal a day at the independent living place where he lives, and I think he just has something very small for the other meals. Part of it is just his cheapness--he doesn't want to spend money on food.

I know it is getting to where more supervision might be needed but my sister and I feel so bad about moving him out of the apartment he shared with my mom to the independent living place so he could be closer to us...we are reluctant to force him to make another move and give up more independence and deal with another round of guilt and regret. How do you make this decision about when a move is really necessary?
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Who did he see about his anxiety, his regular doctor, a psychiatrist or another type of doctor? I'm glad that you were able to get him seen.

If he was prescribed an antidepressant, they often take a couple of weeks to kick in. However, a short a acting antianxiety med is generally effective immrfistely, but short acting.

Do you go to doctor's appointments with dad? If you don't, now is probably a good time to start. Dad's doctor needs to hear what is going on, even if you simply type him a memo and give it to the receptionist before going in.

Do you have medical and financial poa in place?

If he has dementia, there really is no reasoning or explanation that is going to make dad feel secure about his money.

About dad helping you financially, it does not sound like a good idea. He would end up accusing you of stealing from him. It sounds as though he's going to need a facility soon.
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