Mom keeps spending money she doesn't have. What can I do?

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She gets more than enough to live decently but she pays out in credit and bad loans, then she doesn't have enough for food.

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May I ask if your mother has OCD? I ask this because spending beyond her means would be something that she is not able to control if she has this form of mental illness.
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JoAnn,
Good advice about the bank though I do most of her banking stuff online. I do not allow her to have any cash or checks because my brother was coming over and extorting money out of her everytime he came by so I just took it away. She gets everything she needs, believe me, she is so spoiled! She thanks me all the time for taking such good care of her and how glad she is that she chose me to take care of her but it can really wear you out, as you know. Your 68 and I am almost 48 and I am wiped out physically and mentally. I do feel for you and it sounds like you need a well deserved break! It is sad when you are literally watching your life pass you by. 😢
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Sorry if I came over hihanded. You have Moms diagnosis so this is when POA comes into effect. Take ur POA to the bank and have ur name put on her acct if not done yet. See if u can have it set up that only ur signature be accepted. To be honest, I think ur Moms Dementia is such she should have very little money on hand. I do know what ur going thru. My entire retirement is been taking care of Moms bills, having her live with me and now in SNF. I also have a disabled nephew that it was expected I handle all his stuff even though Mom at 80 chose for him to live with her. I am so tired of working with the government and filling out forms. Now, I have to find nephew a place to live and probably will have to get HUD involved. One thing after another and at 68 I am tired.
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JoAnn29,
I did not just jump in because she had me down as DPOA and POA. I started noticing changes in behavior, forgetfulness, getting into little fender benders when she had a near perfect driving record, calling me on a strangers cell phone even though she had one in her purse crying that she forgot where she parked her car. One of her co-workers telling me Mom was having problems at work. Lots of red flags. I then made an appt. with the doctor to have her checked for any mental issues and was even with her when she took the test. She failed miserably. So, when she had a legitimate diagnosis from her doctor that she had "dementia" I then started helping her out and discovered all the money she was wasting. She had 8 different accidental death and dismemberment policies! Does that sound like a person who knows what they are doing? Credit cards with almost a 30% interest rate on them. Giving to so many charities because she is a big softie and then they turn around and sell her name to other charities so she receives more sob stories and causes she should feel sorry for and get out the checkbook. The problem is, she is not loaded with money and she should have been saving for her own retirement.
Prior to all this, I was living with my husband and was not paying any attention to what she was doing because I felt she was handling it just as she always had. I took on her request of DPOA and POA (when and if she became mentally and/or physically unable to do so) I did not know you could even start taking anything over until that had been proven by a doctor to be the case.
Sorry if I come off sounding snippy, it is just a touchy subject for me because I have had to go through it with my own Mother, I still have to handle all her stuff and it's no fun. It is a huge responsibility on my shoulders. I also am a caregiver and help out a little 90 year old a couple days a week for a few hours who is definitely having a great deal of confusion and should not be handling her own finances, I see all the mistakes all the time, I have all but begged my agency to make sure her son is aware of this and have him help but I see nothing happen. She spends a fortune on the Publishers Clearing House scams, just sure she will win and then say's she isn't sure she has enough money to pay for her food at the grocery store. She is always late paying her bills, gets dinged with late charges, and all I can do is stand there and watch because nobody will do anything no matter how many times I report it. I am sure she feels she is competent to handle her finances but obviously, she is not.
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Really, its sad when our parents are still considered competent that there is no way we can help if they don't what the help. Even competent, there is an aging process that they don't reason as well. Plus, they want to stay independent and won't admit when they need help.
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Just because u have POA does not give u the right to use it unless the person has been found incompetent. TG my Mom realized she was having problems handling her money and was glad to give over the responsibility. If Mom doesn't have Dementia, then u really can't make hwr do anything. You r lucky she has gone with it.
I worked for a nursing assoc. We had a call from a patients son just about accusing one of the nurses of stealing $50. His Mom had made him POA recently. It was found that she had walked from her apartment to her bank nearby and asked the clerk to fill out a withdrawl slip for $50. His Mom was of sound mind but once he was POA he thought it gave him the right to control her.
TG Mom knew her limit when it came to her money. She gave nothing to charities. But I still contacted the ones that kept mailing her requests. If they included a self addressed envelope, I would send the info back with Moms address circled and the message to take her off their mailing lists and phone lists. If no envelope was included, I would email them showing the exact way they had Moms address and say no longer send info to this or any persons at this address. To keep from getting this stuff do not subscribe to magazines, books, CDs, etc. Don't sign up for catalogs or winning of trips or cars. Tryvto train Mom that when she answers a phone say Hello clearly and loud once. If no one answers, hang up. And the new scam is "do u hear me" the person answers yes, this is recorded. Then u get a pkg in the mail u owe on and when u check it out, because u didn't order it, they replay u said yes to the order.
Like asked, is Mom loaning out money? If so, maybe u need to call these people and tell them the loans need to stop because Mom is going hungry becausevshe has no money.
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Been there, done that. Mom wasted a huge amount of money on charities, unnecessary insurance policies, super high interest rate credit cards, I had to jump in and clean up the whole mess! Now I do have DPOA and POA and handle all her finances and keep her on a tight budget.
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After 3 years of dealing with this a PRE-PAID debit card has been a life saver!
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Who is she loaning money to?
If it is family these are the people you need to talk to as well as the Credit Card company. Keep in mind any "loans" will have to be repaid and will effect outcome if you have to apply for Medicaid.

If you can't cancel the cards see if you can ask for the maximum limit to be dropped and that a limit be placed on purchases. Your best bet though would be to take the cards away.
If you are not POA or Guardian it may be impossible for you to cancel the cards, she would have to do that.
You could replace the Credit Cards with a Debit card and you might be able to place a maximum on that. Or I know they require an activation fee but one of the "re-loadable" credit cards. That would have only a set amount on it. You could reload it weekly, bi-weekly or monthly depending on how you want to control the spending. In any case a specific amount could be put on the card that would be within her "budget"

This might be a case where you or someone should become her Guardian.  A process that I dislike but in this case it might be necessary. 
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And take away her credit cards and make sure she doesn't have the numbers available on any old statements either. Tell her the CC company revoked them because she is in arrears or something else plausible.
Isn't it amazing how quickly we have become addicted to our plastic, and how easy it is to get into deep trouble because of it?
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