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My mother is just literally putting their finances up in soap! Yes I said soap not smoke! She over buys hand soap, 12 per week, dish soap, 3 large bottles a week, she buys 2 gallons of expensive laundry soap per week, a new set of towels per week...on and on and spends $400 per week at the grocery store! There are just the 2 of them! She will not stop. She has exhausted their savings and can't understand why their savings is gone. She now keeps wanting to mortgage their house rather than stop it! How can I make her stop? What is causing her to be this way? I point out to her that she has 15 unopened gallons of laundry soap and do not buy more! She says she needs it! She doesn't need it! What do I do?

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I think it is her coping with the situation. She never did this before. My dad is in mid stages of alzheimers. She tells everyone that he only has light dementia. I live an hour away and work full time. We tried to hire nursing care to help her but she was angry that we sent them and sent them away. She still keeps the house nice, we just thought perhaps she would appreciate some help. Aside from her spending and refusal to acknowledge the situation with our dad she acts fine. She hides much of what she buys. You have to go on a treasure hunt to find it. Some I don't find. She claims she uses it but my brother goes up to take out their trash and he said she tries to get it out before he arrives. I think she doesn't want it found out that she throws much away. He said it's far too much trash for 2 people. I just don't know what to do. If I question too much she says its none of my business and she will do what she wants. I don't think I can legally stop her without making her mad at me. I hate to have to prove her incompetent. She would hate me if I did that. It's an awful situation. I will read up on what you said above. Perhaps find resources to learn how to handle the situation.
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lealonnie1 Dec 9, 2019
It's always worth having mother 'mad' at you if can make her stop flushing the family fortune down the drain! It's also worth her wrath if you can get her deemed incompetent, for the same reason. If they're both homeless as a result of her compulsive spending habits, who's going to be 'mad' then?
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It's all soap and hygiene-related items, is it? Do you think that might be a clue to what is causing your mother's obsessional anxiety? - I'm just wondering if you've had a good look round the home to see if your mother is struggling with your father's care, and whether there is some continence issue or something like that which she finds too shameful and embarrassing to deal with, which is causing her to hunt desperately (and alas ineffectually!) for a solution.

And where is she storing these things? If she's been hoarding them, what state is the house in and how much do you have to do with her household routines?

Meanwhile if she has a major source - such as a local grocery store or supermarket where she is a regular customer - ask to see the manager and explain the situation. It may be possible to come to a private, confidential arrangement for returning (unopened, perfect condition) items for a refund.
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It is up to your father to get her to stop, not you. This is his wife. He needs to take control of the finances before they lose the house!!! I know. My family went through it. My mother is a gambling addict. She worked briefly outside the home in the 1940’s. Other than that, my father went out everyday to work. When he retired, my mother went on a gambling spree and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings. My father took over the checkbook and had her name taken off the account. Luckily the house was in HIS name ONLY!!!! Your father needs to put the house in his name only and take away access from her if the checking account. If that doesn’t work, he can always divorce her. My father said he should have divorced my mother in the retirement years. It would have been cheaper for him he once told me.
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Countrymouse Dec 9, 2019
The poster's father has Alzheimer's Disease. It's often worth checking a person's profile for background information before replying.
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As was mentioned can you look into getting her on medication? Is there a way to control access to her ability to spend money? I imagine reasoning is out of the question. I am so sorry you are dealing with such a stressful situation. My mother had some issues but nothing like what you are going through. Can you have a heart to heart conversation and explain she is running out of money for her care. I think you will have to take away the ability she has to continue to spend money drastic as that might be. Eventually I found that repeated efforts with my mother finally set in. Sad as it may be I long for the day we do not have to write numerous checks to children of relatives for small amounts. Many of these relatives have no need for this money but it is her way of staying in touch. Of course since it is Christmas we are in the midst of it. Then i have to hear complaints from my husband who balances her checkbook and enters all of this in a computer as well as the checkbook. In June her LTC policy runs out and I am considering whether I tell her this giving has to come to an end. Secretly i wish she could just forget about doing this.
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My husband’s grandmother overbought toilet paper and ketchup! Her bathroom closet was filled with toilet paper! The pantry had a shelf full of ketchup. It was only her living in her home.

Silk scarves was another thing she loved! She had to have expensive silk scarves.

But once she asked for a senior discount at Burger King! I swear they have no logic!
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Riverdale Dec 9, 2019
Well at least there is always a need for toilet paper. This reminds me of a funny story. Many many years ago my husband had a work contact that had a family business that involved paper products. At holiday time some associates would get a big box and become very excited only to unpack it and find it was filled with packages of toilet paper to their dismay. I would be thrilled if someone sent me a box of toilet paper. One more item I wouldn't have to go out and buy!!
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Compulsive Buying Disorder (CBD) or Oniomania may be what your mom is suffering from. Google it for an explanation. Did this come on or worsen with your dad's dementia diagnosis? Maybe it's her way of coping with her anxiety over the situation. Perhaps she needs to see the doctor for direction or medication. What a terrible situation...I am so sorry for all you're dealing with.
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