How can I stop my husband with dementia from ordering things he doesn't need over the web?


My husband has dementia and a brain injury due to MVA. Husband usually can figure out how to place an order over the web using his credit cards. He ordered 6 room heaters last year and I ended up having to return the extras. Ordered two walkers. I returned the extra one. Orders live animals and they are delivered to the front door and I end up caring for them and him until I can find homes for the animals. He is a serious control freak and has become emotionally and verbally abusive if I suggest he not buy something. He has always been that way but since a couple of surgeries and then the head injury in a motor vehicle accident he has gotten MUCH worse. Also after a recent kidney infection I had to call 911 as he fell out of bed and I couldn't lift him, EMT's said he needed to be transported to the ER, he refused, they said I needed to authorize it since I had the POA, so I did and he put me through hell for doing so. He has gone from using a walker after the accident to now requiring a power wheelchair. He is now determined to sell the 3 year old truck we had made to accommodate his power chair and buy a van that will allow him to drive up into it and then transfer to drivers seat and drive the van. He refuses to agree to go to DMV and this his DL, or to insure the new vehicle. There is no way to stop him. He lies. He manipulates and bullies me into submission and is just cruel. I am at a loss how to stop him from buying things. We have been married 38 years but the last three years since the accident have destroyed my health. We cannot afford for him to go into a care facility. I am alone in these circumstances but for now I just must stop his shopping, hopefully without him knowing I had anything to do with it. I am afraid of a man whose diapers I have to change and who cannot walk. Something is wrong with me to be fearful but I am. I am feeling beat up, exhausted but must stop his spending our money. Please advise how I can do that. Thank you.

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Have your mail sent to a friend's or relatives house, if he is ordering from catalogues. Have your mail held at the PO and go pick it up periodically. If he's ordering from the web, have a super low limit set on your credit card, if you can't make yourself take the credit card away from him. Your financial health is key. You can't go bankrupt because of him.
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My mom ordered tons of magazine subscriptions...Parenting, Rolling Stone, etc. and she was 92! She did not need those magazines and neve read them. I took the credit card away from her after dealing with this for a few years in a row. (It was Publishers Clearinghouse who perpetuated this.)

You could call the credit card co. and enlist their help. Get a credit card in your name only and keep it where he can't find it. You have to take charge. I feel for you. Also, you can ask the credit card co. to put a really low limit on the $500 or so. Enlist help from his doctor re driving . His doctor (or anyone for that matter) can notify the Dept. of Motor Vehicles in your state that he's unsafe to drive, then takes the blame/burden off of you. If he is unsafe, it could be financial ruin for you if he hits and injures another person. Period. You could be sued. Rally your resources. Have a circle of support. Call a geriatric case manager in your area to help you with crisis mgmt. You are in crisis.
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bellas, what a horrible situation. You do have the power to change a large part of it, since you are the spouse with POA. Cancel his credit card. This is going to come with huge consequences, though, so you may want to figure out a way to soften the edges of the consequences. Could you tell him you are going to switch to a lower interest charge card, then cancel the account before finding out you didn't qualify for the new one after all? I don't know how you feel about bending the truth with your husband. And I don't know how you could stop him from applying for another card. The companies hand out credit cards like candy.

My father had mixed dementia and had a problem similar to your husband. My father sat home all day with nothing to do. He would not go out. We had catalogs coming to the house and he would order. I tried to stop things, but it was two (mother and father) against one. I did what I could do, e.g., tossing catalogs instead of bringing them in. Still, he got enough catalogs to spend his entire SS check plus more every month.

I know the difficulty of dealing with these things. My father would pout and get depressed when my mother got onto him about what he was spending. And he would sneak and order stuff. They were never things he could use or really wanted. He just liked to order and open boxes. Heaven help us if he could have used a computer.

You do have to think of your financial future, because compulsive shoppers can spend a family into bankruptcy. So find a way to cancel the card. Close any PayPal or other accounts. And try to get him interested in doing things besides ordering. It will be tough. I have heard the ordering addiction is a symptom of dementia. Perhaps his doctor will have some idea of what might help.

Hang in there, honey. Big hugs to you.
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