My Mom always wants some cash to "keep in her pocket" in the ALF. Any suggestions? - AgingCare.com

My Mom always wants some cash to "keep in her pocket" in the ALF. Any suggestions?

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My mom has been used to keeping cash on hand, just in case. I moved her from NY to an AFL in VA near me 4 weeks ago. When I moved her in I gave her $85 in cash, of her own money. I took her bank cards, and insurance cards out of her wallet, and only left the cash in it. Two weeks ago she called and told me she was out of money. She claimed that she took a couple of trips, one was on a plane, and spent all her cash. My mother has not participated in any activities at the ALF, so these events did not occur. My mom has Lewy Body Dementia, so she's subject to delusions and hallucinations and is often confused about general events. She spends the majority of her time in her room, constantly looking for things, moving them from place to place, and then not finding them at all. One day I went to pick her up to take her shopping and she couldn't find her room key. I told the nursing staff on duty and they said she had on a particular coat while she was out in the hallway earlier. I checked the pockets and there was the room key and the $85. Since then, I haven't been able to find the money anywhere.

When I told her that she didn't need any cash, because I would be the only one taking her shopping, she yelled at me and told me that she will not allow me to keep her own money from her.

I took her out to Target over the weekend and she insisted on getting cash back after her purchase. I told her the most she could get was $30, but she was not satisfied with that response and starting telling the cashier her sob story. I have durable power of attorney and a medical power of attorney and have been handling her finances (paying bills etc.) for two years. I convinced her to sell her co-op, so she has the proceeds from that sale and her pension to live on, but it won't last more than a few years paying rent in the ALF.

Any suggestions on how to handle this situation and not succumb to my mom's tirades over giving her cash to lose would be extremely helpful.

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NYC, I hear you on the mail issue! I think it's a perpetual problem. I'm still working on it!

What you might do is just have magazines forwarded to the ALF - something like Reminisce, Reminsce Extra, Country and Country Extra.

The first two are generational magazines with lots of stories about growing up in the country, before tv and Smartphones, and have stores about WWII. The latter are "coffee table" magazines with stunningly beautiful photos of country scenes and often photos of pet animals and farm animals. Just looking at the photos is relaxing.

That way she'll get some mail, and hopefully her name won't be sold in a mailing list to some pesky "charities".
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Excellent suggestion about using play money GardenArtist! That's very funny actually. Yes, my mom also asked since she's moved into the ALF can start receiving her mail again. I had it forwarded to my address earlier in the year, when she couldn't locate any of her tax documents. I told her that since I'm still paying her bills, that's easier for me to keep track of everything if the mail still comes to me.
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Give her play or Monopoly money. If she says it doesn't look like real money, you can tell her that the federal government is so broke it had to change the quality of real money and use cheap paper stock.

When she needs something, pay for it yourself from her funds, but tell her that you just want to help her because of your love for her.

Also pre-empt her when you go shopping and ask what she needs, stop and get a dairy queen or something special that she likes, so the visit and trip end on a positive note rather than a disagreement about money.

If she does need anything else, make arrangements with the facility to bill you directly.

Having money I think not only conveys a sense of independent but of control - money is a major commodity in life and if she's deprived of so much already, this gives her one thing over which she can believe she has control.

I think this is also the reason seniors spend so much time on "reviewing" junk mail; it makes them feel important in a stage of life when they've lost so much.
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My mom wants her own money too. I give the assisted living money for her to get haircuts, drinks or anything else. She can't seem to remember this fact and forgets to ask for it. I give her $20-40 at a time. If she looses it, I don't care. She likes to hide it in her drawers so you know she can't remember that :)
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Thanks pamstegma. My mom hasn't gone on any of the shopping trips or other excursions with the ALF yet. However, if she decides to, I can set up a petty cash account with them and whatever money she spends would be tracked. So I guess she basically wants to feel a sense of independence, but there isn't anyway for her to spend money. She just wants it in her pocket. So basically, it will just be lost somewhere...
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Thanks Sophe509! That's a really good idea about carrying that business card around. I was actually standing behind her when she was talking to the cashier, so I was able to shake my head no to the cashier, and she understood. Yes, my mom has already accused the staff of taking something or another from her room. And you're also right about determining the value of money. When I told her how much she was getting from the sale of her co-op, she didn't really seemed phased. Sigh...
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We give mom $40 a month in cash. That covers her little shopping trips at the ALF, usually to a dollar store or hot dog/ice cream place. If she goes to lunch with someone, she puts the lunch bill on her debit card and keeps the cash from the other person. They are sneaky!! We pay the beauty salon at the facility with a check, because mom would try to short change the hairdresser. She has asked for her checkbook, but there is no way she is getting it.
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That's a difficult one. I have had the same problem. Mom says that the staff stole the money but she squirrels it away in some pocket or other. My expectation is that as you set limits with her she is going to yell at you and be angry with you and tell everybody you stole her money and robbed her blind. Anybody who listens will hear how abusive you are to her, how to have her imprisoned there, etc, etc. Some folks carry a business sized card with them that says "Mom has dementia and behaves oddly sometimes, please be patient with us" or similar, to hand to the befuddled checkout clerk. I just smile at the clerks and we get through whatever the transaction is. I give Mom $20 or $40 whenever she claims the other money was stolen. I tell her I'm happy to get anything she wants if she will write it down to tell me. The other thing is, they lose the ability to determine the value of numbers; for example is 85 degrees F hot or not? Is $20 a lot or not? So be prepared for that, too. Pat yourself on the back, you are trying hard to do a good job.
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