Hi there,

I'm a reporter for a show on national public radio working on a story about managing an elderly person's finances. If you manage the money for someone else, how do you decide what's OK to spend the money on? Are there tough choices or it it pretty clear? Can you pay yourself to take care of them? What if family members disagree on how to spend the money? What if someone accuses you of spending the money incorrectly? What are the legal and ethical issues you think about? I'm looking to speak with people who have faced these questions in the past or are currently struggling with difficult decisions. I'm reachable at tsamuelson at marketplace dot org. Many thank in advance to anyone willing to share their experiences.

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I have been managing my Mother's finances for two years . I have power of attorney and have the bank accounts in both our names. I manage monthly bill paying which includes homemaker , day care, rent, utilities supplemental insurance,and I pay myself when I am unable to pay my bills becuase I am semi-retired and work two days a week . I retired early and was not prepared financially to retire. Due to my own health issues, a stressfull postal career, and a ailing Mother, something had to give. Since retirement I have accomplished one of my goals which It took a year and a half to complete but I am Certified Phlebotomist which I hope will be flexible enough so that I can be less reliant on anybody money, like I was before I became a Caregiver.
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I receive an Independent Budget for my Dad (I live in England) and he has a monthly allowance for activities and transport. When I asked Social Services how do I spend it as he does not want to go out sometimes. The answers I received were very confusing. So when he doesn't want to go out, I buy treats for him and take them to him and I call this our picnic. But when I go to do the next quarterly budget sheet to be submitted to S/S, then I can only hope that this is ok. Basically, I am totally confused by this Budget account in terms of what I can spend it on and what I can't, so I make sure my Dad does not go without, but don't spend too much from this account in case I am doing something wrong. The money remains in the account as I am scared of being accused of fraud. Therefore, a concise method of spending to the carer/s would be helpful as this would result in one less confused state of affairs during a time when you feel that your parent (in my case, both my parents) are not the only ones with dementia.
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Follow the golden rule. Do onto others as you would have them do unto you, or as you would have your children do unto you...
When my mother-in-law's Alzheimer's progressed we had to move her from her own home and across the country to be near us, she lived with us for the first couple of years. No charge, she paid for her own clothes, and other personal items. Then she moved into an assisted living facility about a mile away. It was the nicest in town and close so that we could pick her up on our way out on errands and the such. Her money paid for this. We could have picked out a MUCH cheaper place, but you get what you pay for and we felt her money should be used for her and not saved for us to inherit later. The company owns a lovely multi-tier care set up all on the same property. As her needs increased she stepped through their different care facilities until she died a few years later. We always kept true to her way of doing things where her money was concerned. We she never lacked for anything, we didn't pay our selves for her care. We aren't perfect, we just did things the way that seemed right and honest and loving. It was her money to be used for her care and happiness. We would be happy to have our children treat us the very same way, should the need ever arise.
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