How can I curb my mother's spending habit?


My mother is 83 and like many others she lives on a limited income. She has a little savings but at this rate she will be broke sooner than later. She insists on going to the store any store just to shop and when I don't take her she gets angry with me. I'm not able to financially support her when she is broke, how can I get through to her about her spending without getting into an argument or threats? Is anyone else out there in the same boat? Any suggestions?

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If the behavior has always been a part of her personality, she may be an addictive shopper. If this is relatively new behavior, it could be a symptom of dementia.
In either case, it's going to be hard to control. My suggestion would be to firmly say you'll take her somewhere else (offer suggestions) where you can both have fun but you're not taking her shopping. If she gets angry, she does. You'll need to learn to not let that bother you, which I realize is easier said than done. But that is called detachment. Sometimes we just have distance ourselves emotionally from someone's negative behavior.
A talk with her doctor may be in order in case there's a medical cause as I mentioned earlier. Her decision making skills could be affected by one of the many types of dementias that people can develop.
Good luck,
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I understand your dilemma too, rrsams23. I am wondering how much "proof" is needed to contest a legal battle if "Filial Law" comes into play. My parent lives in a state with Filial Laws, meaning (paraphrased if I am interpreting this correctly) that if your elder family member is broke and requires funds to live that you as a close family member (child, spouse) will have to support them from your own funds. If I am reading the Filial Law correctly, it means if I refuse then I can be prosecuted under that law. If I have asked the parent to curb their spending and they refuse, then do I need a paper-trail of proof that I have done my best to take care of their needs but cannot curb their destructive spending habits that got them into this mess? Examples are catalog shopping, Shopping networks, hair appointments at an expensive salon, and alcohol. She says she "hasn't spent on anything for herself in years" but it's flat-out denial. If I find these examples on her credit card I have some proof. I have seen examples of spending when I visit, but she hides a lot of the proof of spending. To get proofs I will have to go to credit card companies and have an investigator do research. For my own peace of mind, is hiring an investigator worth it to protect myself and my own family? I still have a child to put through college and I have one other child who is an adult with special-needs who will need my help all through my life. My spouse and I have always been frugal yet I fear for our future given the direction the economy is going. I cannot be saddled with a parent who was not the best and is heading into a fiscal spiral downward. We can maintain for our immediate family but "Filial Law" would ruin us. The state we live in does not have Filial Law. Am I protected from her bad choices or can she reach across state lines?
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