My father is on a buying spree, just gets bored and starts buying things. What do I do? - AgingCare.com

My father is on a buying spree, just gets bored and starts buying things. What do I do?

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He is 90 and does have the beginnings of dementia. We have tried to suggest and have taken him to senior centers which have things to do. He insists he is not old. His recent purchase was a pull travel trailer which he is going to see the countryside with. He has no business doing this and is not in the best of health but gets so angry and tells me to stay out of his business. I am at my wits end as to what to do or handle this situation as I do not want it to turn into a shouting match.

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Lindamup as far as I've observed, all of us here struggling with care giving for
narcissistic parent do respect our parent and what they wish to spend their money
on. However, the reality is once their money is spent, the money for their care has to
come from someplace else. Or there is Medicaid which can sometimes end up being substandard care due to the fact it only offer facilities a low per diem and often does not cover actual costs of care. The term benign neglect comes to mind. And the $30/month
spending money. Quite a shocking difference for someone used to spending money
freely.

The money for care has to come then from adult children. Many of us do not have
the money to spare and would be faced with our own retirement being completely
unfunded. Also a shopaholic senior buying things they don't need can put a huge
burden on the adult child care giver who has to deal with additional burden of clearing
out stuff which can create falling hazard, on top of the loss of savings needed for care.

Dealing with possessions that someone cannot care for can end up sucking away a lot
of time and resources that most of us here do not have or no longer have. I think all
of us are trying to find a balance. Something that respects our parents without leaving
us exhausted of our own resources as well.
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Reply to bettina
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Mindy, does he go and see your mother (your profile says she lives in a nursing home)? How is her care paid for?
While I understand that it's his money and not yours, you are concerned because he may very well spend all his money and there'll be none left for your mom's care or his own. You should not be expected to go into debt to care for them if they/he has enough money to be buying things like travel trailers.
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Reply to Ceecee65
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Please respect your elderly parents & treat them with dignity. You would’t appreciate someone telling you how you can or can’t spend your money! If a parent chooses to hoard every penny or spend it...remind yourself that it is his or her money...not yours.
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Reply to Lindamdup
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I've dealt with this issue, thankfully my dad is usually a cheapskate even towards himself, so the damage $ wise has mostly been limited. Definitely you end up seeing the worst
side of humanity when it comes to the elderly and their $$. When dad went to AL there
was an aerobics instructor who did "freelance" which somehow necessitated super tight
revealing clothes and the weird porny demonstrations of exercises my dad would never
be able to do. Of course he was absolutely thrilled and signed up for $7,000+/year
advisory for nutrition and exercises. Despite AL providing all this for free, lol !!! At same
time the instructor's sister got him involved in MLM scam that had his credit card and was running monthly withdrawals for worthless nutritional products. Fun stuff :/

After many, many minor scams and useless expensive product memberships and an awful experience with publishers clearinghouse, I've essentially took control of
his online credit card purchases. Set him up with Amazon prime and he just picks out whatever . Even if I think something is dumb or unneeded I buy it, as long as it isn't a scam. It's his money after all. So he still buys useless stuff just no more scam MLM monthly charges or stealth memberships. I also set him up with a caregiver to take him shopping when I'm not around. And cut limit on credit card so he can't get into too much trouble with one time purchase. He also plays the lotto which feeds his love for for get rich quick schemes

I had to just take the car keys one day after he repeatedly turned across several lanes of oncoming traffic without seeing anything there. No dementia, just checked out when driving. Lots of arguments about that. But several serious health crises helped mitigate
that as he became too weak to be independently mobile and quite fighting to drive.

It's a very hard road when parents haven't prepared themselves for old age. Very frustrating. I guess they didn't have to take care of their own parents, so they don't
have a frame of reference. I'm 60 and I'm already thinking about how I'm going to stay
independent by being realistic about my health and mobility. I don't get all the drama
our parents are putting us through. I already have a limited life, in part due to all the
caret taking demands. Had to strip down already to the bare basics. I don't mind a minimalistic lifestyle, in fact I like it. Give me a good book, a few good friends, simple
food, access to good classes and decent outdoor environment, I'm set. My dad has
all of this despite his limited mobility, but I think he still wants the exciting life of a young person, something grander. I think he's frustrated because of the limitations imposed by age and is sooooooo bored by a simple life. Never had any hobbies, doesn't read,
his friends were always people of convenience, has almost no interest in the lives of his family, only his own needs, activities and tawdry gossip. He's chronically bored. So sad.
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Reply to bettina
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Dee, thanks. The counterbalance theme was what I had in mind. You can thank Spielberg and Indiana Jones for that - I'll never forget how Indy used something as a counterbalance during one of his many exciting but unrealistic adventures to find valuable artifacts.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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GA, I LOVE your suggestions of the family providing activities that are similar to those that mindys' Dad seems to want to do. That is such a POSITIVE approach to the problem that it counterbalances the negativity of having to take away checkbooks, credit cards, car keys, etc.
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Reply to DeeAnna
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Mindy, spend some time listing his purchases and what you and the family can do to provide what the purchase would allow him to do. I.e., start planning a vacation or multiple little trips, day trips that don't require a trailer, or weekend trips, if he still has funds to pay for a night or two in a motel.

Ask him what he has in mind for his pull behind trailer, where he wants to go, order brochures, and plan a short outing. I see that your mother is in care, so work the trips so that someone is still available to visit her.

Perhaps take videos so he can see them over and over again in the winter.

Try to skirt around his needs by thinking up ways to provide them with family support and participation.

I can understand why he doesn't want to go to senior center activities - although I support them, they are planned, and aren't spontanteous. And he might be feeling confined because of age, and the denial as well as the trailer purchase might be a way to challenge that and prove he can still drive and travel, and defy age limitations.



At his age, he might just want to see places he's never been, going where he wants to go instead of participating in an activity planned by someone else.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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Have you told your father that 90 IS old??

Perhaps that trailer represents something to him. He isn't likely to hop in and take a cross country trip but with the trailer in the driveway maybe he thinks he COULD hop in and take a cross country trip if he wanted to. Since he's not old, of course.

Maybe your concern is ruining his shopping high. Is money the issue or just his useless purchases? If it's the money, I wonder if you have POA over your dad. If not, right now would be the time to get it. That window will close as his dementia progresses and his health deteriorates. With POA you have some access to his finances if necessary.

If he purchases with a credit card you can always try to get the card away from him. If he purchases with a check, same thing with the check book. These actions will not make your dad happy but sometimes we have to do things to protect our elderly parents. My dad bought a brand new car. Didn't even tell me where he was going. He was gone for HOURS and HOURS. I was so worried, I thought something had happened. Then he drives up in a brand new car with FOUR!!! miles on it. He was in his mid-70's, in poor health, and I knew that car would outlast him. The payments were ridiculous. I wanted to call the dealership and scream at the salesman. I screamed at my dad instead.

I know how you feel.

After my dad died it took months and months and months to get that car figured out since it only had my dad's name on the title (as opposed to both our names). It was a mess.
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Reply to Eyerishlass
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