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Hi everyone it is nice to be here. I have a question about agitation with my mom and dads bank book. My dad has dementia and always thinks me, my sister and my mom are trying to steal from the bank book and tries to hide it in the house. We are afraid we will not be able to find it and when we say let mom hide it somewhere, he gets mad and accuses us of trying to steal. I hope someone here has advice on how to deal with the paranoia and agitation. Thanks

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Reply to sudalu
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A person with dementia cannot be in control of any finances. If dad takes over, he'll have overdraft notices coming up BIG TIME. Remove all control of banking from him, else the $$ will wither away. My SIL, who has Alzheimer's, was receiving tons of overdraft notices in the mail, but hadn't a clue what they were - never spoke up to her spouse that she was having trouble with money - this was a woman who balanced a checkbook to the penny - BUT NOT ANY MORE! She was draining them dry of money.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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I have awesome caregivers staying with my 91-year-old mom. They take her shopping, to lunch, to movies, to exhibits, do crafts with her etc. Mom is functional but her memory has never recovered a severe illness last year and she has been diagnosed with dementia. I have monitored her spending and check books for years, as well as paying all her bills, but when she wrote almost $4,000.00 in checks to every "gimme" letter she received through the mail one month, I took all checkbooks away except one - and I leave less than $1000.00 in that one. I opened a savings account at the same bank to which mom has no access and funnel any money over 1K that is deposited into the checkbook (stock interest, retirement money and such) into the savings so she doesn't burn through all her money. I pray she never needs moved to AL or memory care but being careful now will allow for the means to care for her throughout her life. The care givers now monitor her spending and check the mail - tossing out all the "pleas for money" mail (which tragically target the elderly who are very vulnerable). Although I explained (several times) that most of these mail pleas were scams, she cannot really grasp that - so I taped a note inside her checkbook as a reminder. "Mom - you may no longer write any "gimme" checks - remember?"
That has seemed to work so far, she may not remember but she doesn't want to admit that ;-) So far so good!

I understand dealing with dementia patients is frustrating and KUDOS to all of you who are patiently dealing with the slow loss of your parent or loved ones memory. I chose not to totally restrict moms spending as, I feel, it is her money and as long as she uses it to entertain herself (she loves eating out, going to movies, buying trinkets) then it is all good. Luckily, my father left enough to keep mom well cared for.
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Reply to MoodyMe
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Although my name was included with my parents on their accounts, I eventually was responsible for all bill paying. Although she wasn't likely to write a check (she preferred passbook accounts) I was concerned about her withdrawing from her checking account causing one of the payments on their behalf to bounce. The answer was to dedicate one of her passbooks as hers and only hers to use in case of an "emergency" or whatever need. She had total control of it and could refer to it at any time. Not a lot of money in it but still.......The rest of their funds were managed by me which of course I kept them appraised of. This arrangement worked great; we both had peace of mind.
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Reply to lynina2
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Not sure what you mean by a bank book - a lot of people here seem to think you mean a cheque book / check book, but I'm not sure. Assuming you do, just let him keep it, ask bank to issue a new one on the basis current one got lost (so all cheques from that book are stopped) if he does write one it will get returned unpayable and you can step in, if he just wants to feel in control fine. I think it would be a good idea to sort out POA with Mum whilst she is able to - whilst she can write the cheques that are needed fine, but if you need to take over a POA done now will make life easier.
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Reply to TaylorUK
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Hopefully, your mom is on the account. If so, take her to the bank and the bank can provide your mom the information that is being requested. Also, you and your sister needs to get a Power of Attorney over your dad and mom, so either of you can step in if needed. Also, register online at the banks website and so you can monitor, pay bills or do whatever needs to be done.

If you do not have a POA sell it to your dad that just in case he gets sick and is in the hospital or something worse happens so you or/and your sister can help to pay any bills or take care of any issues if need be.
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Reply to Sandyinstl
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Does your father actually write any of the checks out of that account, say for bill paying? Set as much up on auto pay as possible. Then let him have the bank book and replace it with a new account in your mother and your name to manage finances. We had this problem with my father and as long as he had the account book, which he would hide and then not be able to find and then accuse us of stealing he was some what fine. We also gave him keys to the house and car that didn't work but it made him feel in control. It is so sad to see our parent get this way but we must manage as best we can.
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Reply to Nancynurse
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My mother was same about her finances. Normal actually. Go to the bank & have mother get a new bank book with current balance, etc. Or do it online. You can monitor everything. But I wouldn't frustrate your father anymore.
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Reply to anonymous418566
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Let him keep it. Just keep the bills and charity requests away from him, and do all the real banking online, where he'll never notice...
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Reply to SFdaughter
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My mother was very controlling, but clearly messing up with bill paying and check writing...eventually with my father's knowledge and blessing (joint account) I managed to take the checkbook register and any other reserved check pads. When they needed additional checks we had the bank order them and deliver them to the bank where we picked them up. By then I was POA and took the paperwork in for the bank to make a copy of and put on file so the hassles were minimized...if you think our family members are paranoid, you haven't seen anything until dealing with bank people who don't know you! The bank was able to give me a copy of the more recent statement at that time and from there I brought the screwed up checkbook register up to date. Future check ordering was done with my PO BOX address, so the new ones (ordered through Costco at great savings) were delivered there. Should also note all the bills were done with address changes so mom had no bills to pay.
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Reply to gdaughter
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My 88 yr. old mom was always very cautious and controlling of her finances. Even though her dementia has been progressing for about 5 years now, she'll still occasionally bring up money, and checks, and bills, etc. It's sad to see her so confused but telling her that everything's done on the computers now and "we'll look at the statements at the end of the month" seems to calm her down and we can move on to something else. Of course it comes up again and again but each time assuring her we'll check the computer monthly alleviates her anxiety and confusion at that moment. (earlier on in her dementia, she'd sometimes remember and ask to see the statement so I'd "develop" a realistic statement and that would help. Now, no statements are necessary, just the reassurance that we'll see one later.)
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Reply to Suecvb
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Mom passed away about a year ago and she had a bank book. (Who knew those things were still around!?) She'd had a bank book all her life and it was important to her and it made her feel good and important when I took her to the bank for some spending money so she could buy us lunch. I was her POA in all matters.

What I did was have a checkbook that she knew about--but I didn't remind her of it very often as I didn't want her to access that bill-paying money. I kept about $300 in her account with her bank book. The book was always in her Mom's-all-important purse. If another of us kids took her to the bank, they always told me what the money was used for, taking them to lunch, filling up their car with gas, etc., as a way to ensure the money was properly spent (since a granddaughter like to beg and plead for money).

If Mom was ever afraid her money was gone (she grew in a dirt-poor family and she went hungry so us kids could eat) I'd hand her her purse, she'd dig out her bank book and we'd review it. I'd also show her the checkbook and that all her bills were paid. That would ease her mind, and I always assured her she'd never be without money. Then she'd reminisce how hard life was for her (no complaining, just factual).
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Reply to MountainMoose
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How aware is your husband? Does he still know what is in the bank book? Is it possible you can get a duplicate from the bank and have him keep it while you or your mom keep the real one? Or sign up for online banking so that even if the book does get lost, you still know what is happening with the account.
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Reply to Kathy4177
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We had the same issue with my mom.  We took  care of her for 5 years and 3 months, once Alzheimer's (and paranoia) took hold. We told her that she could lock up her purse in a locked drawer. (My husband and I also had a copy of the key.)  She was very possessive of this purse, even though it only had $5 and a lipstick in it! One day she locked her purse in the drawer with her key in it, and then  found our key and hid it. I searched that room and couldn't find it, so Hubby had  to drill through the drawer. My mom also tore out the phone number of her accountant from her address book, lest we find it. I must say that my name had been on everything since I was 20. She and my dad made me Power of Attorney, and she even said, at the time, how much she and my dad trusted me, (since I never gave them any reason not to.) I tried to reason with her once paranoia and Alzheimer's hit, reminding her of how much mutual trust and respect we had for each other, but it was like talking to a brick wall. Even her accountant tried to reason with her, to no avail. We also made frequent trips to the bank. Luckily, the staff was very accommodating. I even wrote a  book about our travails, as much to help myself as others. It's called, "My Mother Has Alzheimer's and My Dog has Tapeworms: A Caregiver's Tale." When my mom would get accusatory, I had to remind myself it wasn't "her" any more. Maybe that's the best advice I can give. Also, maybe you could talk to your dad's doc, to see if medication or a change of medication can help. Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn't. I talk from experience. You might want to keep an eye on his checks, so he doesn't write them to strangers. Best of luck.
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Reply to rlynn123
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Thinking that people are stealing or hiding things is a very common early symptom of dementia. It can be hard to deal with but please don't take it personally as it will pass. Try writing everything down and copy statements etc so that it is clear where all monies are going and the information is always available for your dad to see. He needs to still feel in control so you need to try and make it seem that way. And try to have patience as it can be very scary and confusing for the sufferer. Good luck.
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Reply to NannaJ
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My dad is very attached to his banking, uses checks for everything and keeps a very accurate paper check register. He faithfully balances his checkbook to his paper statement each month. He says he’s only aware of what a clothesline is, not what online is! So there’s my support and understanding of someone not doing banking online and being attached to the bank book 🤗 Obviously, I’m not as yet in your situation but I’d think it best to let your dad have it, and keep records elsewhere
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Reply to Daughterof1930
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My 92 year old dad still uses a checkbook. Nothing online. As part of the conservatorship, we allowed him to keep his own checking account and pay some monthly bills. When I started helping him with it a few years ago, I had to try and remember how to write a check and balance a checkbook! His balances to the penny and he goes to the bank at least once per month to have the banking people go through it with him (I balance off the statement each month to double check).
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Reply to Babs75
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It sounds like your mother is cognizant but while she is, please get POAs set up for later if you haven’t . You’ll need them eventually.
To some commenters, many older people don’t use online banking.
When my mother could no longer handle her finances, ( she thought she could but we knew she couldn’t), we put my daughter on her accounts and my daughter monitored them online. My mother knew she was on the accounts but didn’t realize she could monitor online . That way if she double paid or forgot to pay, we caught it.
My mother constantly accuses us of stealing as well. That’s due to the dementia and not being able to keep track of things. To their frustrated thinking , they can’t be confused so someone must have stolen it lol🙄. Just change the subject or walk away, you can’t convince him it’s not happening . Mom always trusted my daughter though so is there anyone your father would trust to help him?
Fortunately for us my mother’s ALF won’t allow cash but I want to get my mother a refillable gift card with a small sum on it so if she wants a pizza or something she can get it. That way if she loses it no great loss but she won’t feel so limited.
For your dad, I’d open a new account with your mom and one of you on it and close the old one or just keep a small sum in it in case he uses it, like $100. I assume your mother is on his account. Then he can have that check book while someone else does the actual banking
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Reply to Jannner
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In this day and age, I'm surprised you still have a bank book. So much has gone to online statements due to the computer.

Besides, you won't need a bank book when the time comes - all you'll need is proof of identification. Let him hide his bank book if it brings him solace.
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Reply to RayLinStephens
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Do you mean a book of checks and the check register? My FIL got where he could t keep up and was driving 20 min each way every day to the bank to check his balance. He was still bouncing checks. That’s when we knew he could not handle it anymore and proposed my BIL to be his “accountant” to “take that stress off his plate”. It was really making FIL anxious. He was paranoid about people stealing and not knowing where his money was going. It’s something you need to consider, sooner, rather than later. He already is not cognizant of truth and how it works. Do you have a trusted 3rd party that would be willing to step in? For us, having BIL 1000 miles away doing it helped, because we couldn’t have the back and forth daily delusions.
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Reply to DILKimba
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Establish an online account to monitor it.
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Reply to choberman
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This is a simple solution for the situation. Make sure you can access his account online to track expenses. Get a few sets of checks. If in book form, take from the back of the book. This way you can track that bills are being paid on time.

If he is aware of his mental health decline... Have a shared account or a Financial POA. This way you can use as needed.
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Reply to leslie3
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Judysai422 May 24, 2019
Never have a shared account. It puts you financially at risk if someone sues your parents and vice versa. Financial POA that is effective immediately, not springing requiring a doctor's designation of incompetence is best. Also, have a list of your parent's passwords so you can monitor their accounts and deposit checks for them electronically if you like to do banking on line.
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I still use bank books to pay my husband’s expenses. It is a way to keep track of expenses for tax and medicaid eligibility purposes.

In any case, my husband had the same issue. I gave him an old checkbook from an inactive account that looks like the real one that I use. He is still happy, and so am I.
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Reply to Worriedspouse
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Bank book? Checks? Is this a post from the '50s? ;)

Let him have all that. Why do you need it? I haven't used a bank book since I was a kid. I haven't written a check in 10 years. Everything is digital these days.
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Reply to needtowashhair
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gdaughter May 24, 2019
We're dealing with older adults, some who are not in the digital age and do not have or cannot afford computers or have read enough to not want to use ATM cards etc. Some people even use checks and keep check registers and balance their accounts monthly! Just because you and some others prefer electronic methods, not everyone does.
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She may mean the book the checks come in.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Thank you so much for the advise. Yes, someone has POA.
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Reply to beawre
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There are still bank books?

Let him have the bank book. Make sure you have a spread sheet of the account numbers.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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I'm kind of surprised your father even has a bank book, banks here haven't used them for years. It should be a simple matter to get his account number and keep it in a safe place, if you need to access his accounts you shouldn't need the actual book - I do hope someone is named as his POA?
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