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It may be something that this elder is "fixated" on for some reason. Possibly real or faux occurrence to her, whereby now "she's thinking about it, thinking about it and thinking about it." Remember, the elder's mind is now changed.
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Mother would routinely slip eldest brother between $100-200 every time he came around with some hard luck story. Drove the rest of us crazy. We didn't want her money, but at the same time, he was stealing (silver, antiques, anything that wasn't nailed down) and pawning it. We all knew it, I'm sure mother did too. Dad put her on a strict "cash only" basis t save them from utter destruction. Then mother only HAD a couple hundred bucks on her, and checks were screened by my POA brother each month.
Mother has given youngest sister many, many thousands of dollars--a one time thing, and she sort of tried to pay it back. After dad's death, all debts were forgiven and brother and sister were written out of the will. Jokes on the rest of us, there's nothing left.
Mother is sweet to slip a $5 bill in the birthday cards to the grandchildren--but not the GGrands, who would LOVE it. My son, a millionaire twice over just laughs his head off over that $5 bill. He doesn't GET that mother is sending out 50+ of these cards and she really can't afford it--but she often does get a "thank you" phone call. So, in effect, maybe she is "paying" for attention. I wish she'd stop, but she won't. I can't express to her that NONE of the grands (youngest is 26) NEEDS $5. The card is enough! And, no, I am positive he will not bother to come to her funeral.
Your mum may well be right that people are just using her. It sure wouldn't be the first time that's happened!!
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Another thing I just thought of with non-monetary gifts is maybe the elder is trying to show her appreciation for people around her. After all, it's really the people in your life who count and not so much things as it was when we were younger.

If you want to know who is who and what they are real motive is, this is how to do it

Here's what I'd suggest:

What do you want to do is collect any cash in her house and put it into a savings account for her. Hold on to any and all cards for her.

Next, hang onto any titles or property deeds she owns. If necessary, transfer them into your name with her consent.

Now, see how many of these people stay around when they realize they're not getting anything. Those who stick around the longest are more likely to be true friends.

Watch very closely on who all comes around, and who vanishes after tightly pulling the purse strings.
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I'll add to your comment that my grandmother often says about "some people" who give her gifts, particularly a couple of women, (not men) that she doesn't understand why she gives her gifts. I sense she may feel it's a 1-up feeling over her, in that she doesn't exchange gifts with these other woman during holidays and this puts her in an odd 1-down position. Rather than be gracious like you state, she can't simply accept the gift for what it is, a simple gift and nice gesture. Telling her to return (or return it herself) gives her power back. It's also a dig back at the person for trying to 1-up the power over her. She may view subconsciously see it as a power play, a manner of control by the other and it gives her an odd feeling, disrupting the balance of the relationship while the gift giver is none the wiser and whose self esteem is probable secure. I hear about these sorts of incidents as I'm on the receiving end of my grandmother's crabbing about others yet I like to think I usually see things from a rational point of view. Don't try to defend the gift giving as you will be aligning yourself with the giver and not likely to go over well since the person who received the gift is a controlling personality. They are difficult people as you know.
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What you're describing can actually happen to anyone, dementia or not. I seriously doubt it's part of the dementia. My foster dad was demented but in no wise did he think that way as you describe. I will say though that predators use aging and related illness as an easy opportunity to get rich quick and get all they can before moving onto the next victim. We never know that there may not be an actual pattern since elder financial abuse happens all too often. Oftentimes it may go unreported for some reason or another. Maybe the victim is too scared or family is unaware of it. Sometimes in some situations, the family may live too far from the elder and may not even know the elder is even living. These may be cases when you may think the elder died long ago, not knowing they were actually alive until you've gotten an alert to the death which can prove shocking to the blood relatives, especially the closest ones. When things unfold though, blood relatives may be shocked to find out that despite being entitled to something, the elderly relative was likely taken advantage of by someone not entitled to whatever it is they took from the elder. This often happens to our elders who are mentally declined but not limited to dementia and Alzheimer's. These types of mental decline is what predators are most likely to use among other weaknesses and vulnerabilities. If there's no one watching out for the elder, they're sitting duck for predators if the elders aren't able to watch out for themselves. When bad things are discovered to have happened behind the families backs today, the family is left to find the right help to correct the problem and gain restoration. Yes, definitely supervise these visits in question. If needed, have the elder never carry cash or keep any in the house, keep it all in the bank. Also, I would recommend another method that greatly complements that. Set up all of her bills for automatic online bill pay where the bank takes out the exact amount but you set up the bills from your end, don't let anyone come in and take it out. Let the bank system do it for you. Then open up a second account and have automatic transfer to the account from a savings account for basic necessities. Only let these transfers happen once a week or so, don't let any extra money come out of savings into that second account. Furthermore, don't let anyone have any of the money, not even a small loan no matter what. If someone needs money that bad, tell them to go get some help or to get a job. If they already work, tell them to go get another job or get a better job that pays more. It's always a good idea to protect yourself when you're young, that's where you get practice and experience. that way, by time-year-old, you're well protected and provided for when you find a working strategy like I did. Sometimes it takes years to find something that works. In the case where someone is on federal benefits, every dime counts. This is a good opportunity to come up with a working strategy to save as much money as possible each month, even if it means staying home most of the time if necessary at least for a season. When people come around, don't even talk money. If a visitor brings it up, make sure they're not asking for money. If they are, just explain no one can afford to lend money and that it stays in the bank. One clever way to protect yourself at the ATM if someone's trying to rob you, is get your PIN wrong until the ATM automatically keeps the card. The next day, just go in the bank to pick up your card and report the problem if it's after hours. Another clever trick is to lock up the debit card and just claim not to have one. If you're not using it, don't keep it in your wallet if there's a chance someone could take advantage of you or take your card. If this is a possibility, definitely remove the card from your wallet and lock it up, maybe even at the bank in a safety deposit box until you need it. If people want to play dirty and take advantage of you, you can play dirtier by following these tips and pulling these tricks to counter crooks' efforts. Definitely don't carry cash, not one thin dime, keep it all in the bank and hopefully you have the newest card with the new microchip that adds an added level of security. One final thing I would highly recommend is at the day's end is mono any extra unused money into your savings account in case your card is ever stolen. That way, if the card ever is stolen, the thief can't use the card because there won't be any money on that card. You can also report the card stolen and the bank will give you a new one with a new number. Most importantly, never give your pin number out to anyone or lend anyone your card.
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kath61, Your mum is right on target, clear as a bell and totally lucid. She may also be hinting that you take over finances to remove the pressure she is feeling from the beneficiaries of her generosity.
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Caretaker13, I know this feeling of "control." Some people have long set this up as a pattern in their lives, holding money over people, manipulating some people, even family members with it. My grandmother still does it with me at 96! I didn't realize it as a younger woman, but figured it out not too long ago when I delved into psychology and our own dynamics so I could best learn how to get along with her as she aged. I see her giving money to helpers for small chores, and too much money for chores for attention, and or possibly to feel superior for her insecure ego. She likes to talk about giving people money. She doesn't crab about people visiting for money, but she crabs like the war generation spending money despite her wealth. I do see sycophants playing into that dynamic though, abusing their relationship who should know better. It's a tough battle with the elderly. I've learned you can never change elderly, rather it's best to try to understand and learn to cope. You must take care of yourself. I wish you all the best.
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Thank you Luckywinks.... You understand... ! And you explained and described this unfortunate dynamic clearly. I didn't want to write too much about my struggles with my difficult mom, but there are MANY church folks who have visited her for YEARS (and some still do, but my mom keeps outliving many of her older church friends!) and they do NOT allow her to give them money... but my mom will still try to give them a little flowering plant or cookies... that she purchases ahead and will force those gifts on anyone who drops by. If you understand this type of needy personality, gift-giving can be a form of feeling superior and in control I think. It's often humbling and more difficult to graciously receive than it is to give... to give... right? My mom has NEVER been a gracious receiver of gifts from anyone. Usually she doesn't like what we picked out... very very hard to please her, and it's well known in our family that mom will almost always return her birthday, mother's day, Christmas gifts right back to us, saying, I hope you can get you money back. *Sigh* What a mess, eh?
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I'd have to agree that often times these are situations that are set up by the individual himself. It's based on their individual dynamic or relationship with others. If one is used to giving money as a gift to someone when coming around, then why would they expect something else? For them to expect something else when they get older is absurd. Anger from aging, loss of independence, dementia is likely manifesting itself and being directed at another person for his own struggle. People would likely still come around but it is the person who has created the dynamic of giving money and it is their own perspective by which they view another that gives them angst. In a rational world, they should not be angry with people for whom they have created this struggle. Unfortunately older people are unable to deal with these issues. It's never easy being around the elderly because rational thinking is not always part of the equation.
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Caretaker13 this sounds like your family has some real issues if they need to take money from your mother in return for a visit and,also so called friends who need money to visit.You all need to look to your inner self and know you all will be in this position some day.How fortunate my mother was that she had a wonderful family always giving but never wanting anything and her friends and neighbors were magnificent always there for long visits.Shame on your mother's family and friends.
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My 96 year old mother has always "primed" family members with $10 - $20, often slipping it in purses when we've tried to say no thanks, we're here because we love you... and for the past 8 years during her physical decline, she feels compelled to give small gifts or money to the church people who visit her and her few "friends' . She won't admit it, but somewhere in her conscience or sub-conscience she knows people don't really enjoy her company, and she's terrified of being alone.. so she pays them. (She's BPD, histrionic, self-absorbed and very "needy".) It's definitely NOT enjoyable and often emotionally taxing for a normal person to be with her for more than a half hour. Sad, but true. The flip side is, she resents that she "has to" give people money or they won't visit her. As her daughter, I have to hear the same story over and over about so-in-so who won't come to visit unless she gives her money. In my mother's case, I think any of few good folks (and there's only two) who accept her small "donations" in return for a visit is okay. Luckily Iknow and trust both of these women, one gives me updates about my mother's anxiety or health concerns, the other is a neighbor who will once or twice a month come by and will vacuum her house (which for my mother is more about having a visitor than getting cheap housecleaning). It's sad, but at least I can trust most of her visitors. Not all.. and that's a constant concern, as she IS so needy. But she's hanging on to EVERY BIT OF CONTROL she barely manages... and I have to step in and fix many of her mistakes (business, check writing, fender benders...). NONE of this is easy, under the best of elder-care circumstances. But I oh so wish my mother were more honest, genuinely kind and would cooperate with the one daughter, (ME) who is here for her and wants only the best for her.
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Hate to tell you but your Mom is probably 100 percent right. That's all family members think of when a loved one is older or sick.put one of those little cameras with sound in the house and when your not there tape everything that's going on without them knowing it.You will see Mom is right.
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Is there a chance it could be true; at least in part. That would be the case in my situation. I am my Mother's caretaker and that the only reason they try to contact her. She didn't even realize how bad it was with them. She trusts me now to handle them in her best interest which I do; per her wishes.
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Whether or not you need to worry about this depends on whether she has always held this somewhat cynical view, or was previously rather sunnier in her attitude to social dynamics.

My ex's grandmother was forever pressing "pocket money" on her extensive family, and made it very difficult to refuse. Of course, that wouldn't necessarily have stopped her opining to others that young people today only visit if they want something...

Anyway. If your mother has started to seem more bitter than she was previously, about this and other subjects, then it could be part of changes in her brain including not only dementia but also depression. Any marked change in personality or behaviour should be reported to her GP or geriatrician.

And I do also agree that it's worth checking that she isn't just right.
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If you don't monitor the visits she's probably right. Young people tend to want money from the old in exchange for the "visit".
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Hi Kath, it could be part of the dementia but also it might be her experience. Or possibly a feeling of vulnerability or anxiety when others come in that she isn't use to dealing with. Does she say this before they come? If my aunt hears that she is going to have visitors that she doesn't see often, she will say she dreads the visit. Yet when they are actually with her, she loves the visit. How does her concern manifest? Does she bring up the money to the visitors? Or is it something she shares with you when she learns they are coming?
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Are the folks who are visiting her asking her for money?
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