I am her primary caregiver 24/7 lately she's been making some outrageous financial decisions? - AgingCare.com

I am her primary caregiver 24/7 lately she's been making some outrageous financial decisions?

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I have poa of my mother and she lives with me.

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As Babalou said, it's not all about memory.There are many types of dementia and many stages in each.

ADcaregivers gave some excellent tips. Sometimes a small amount of money in a limited account can help control spending for awhile. Eventually, handling money at all becomes impossible and caregivers need to protect all accounts. I gave my dad outdated credit cards for his wallet just so he felt he had them. That was a temporary solution but most are.

I want to address MotherDuck about her feelings. Many people hate what they consider "lying" to their parents. This isn't lying. This is about compassion for someone with a broken brain. The article below may help you accept this need:
https://www.agingcare.com/articles/validation-therapy-for-dementia-166707.htm

Great answers and comments from everyone about a common, frustrating problem.
Take care of yourselves,
Carol
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We let Dad think he is in control of his finances. We do fill out his check for church and let him sign it. Even with ALZ and at 91 he is a wiz with numbers so we let him balance his check book. He does not believe in using credit cards in the grocery store but we make sure to slip money into his wallet when he goes. We make sure he gives an appropriate tip at the barber( and then we supplement!) . All these little things add up to Dad still feeling like he is part of his daily life. We issued a new checkbook with my older brothers name on it, as he is then POA. We have informed any broker , etc that he might think he is going to call that they should not disagree with him....just listen, agree and call the POA. I think your statement of "outrageous" financial statements is curious....what type of purchases? Better make sure that she cannot answer the phone and get caught up in some scam. I have started to tell the phone callers that the person asked for has passed away. Also watch that solicitation mail that scares all the seniors. Throw it away!
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If unwise financial decisions are a major departure from her usual patterns regarding money, then it is often a sign of impaired executive decisionmaking or the ability to make decisions about the future or plan ahead.
Unwise decisions are often the first sign of memory loss. Unwise financial decisions are extremely common in those with memory loss. In fact, unpaid bills and spending money unwisely is the first place that memory loss shows up.
Since you have the POA, you should begin to take control of her financial assets, especially the liquid ones, such as checking, savings, money markets or anything that can be turned into cash easily. You should close her credit card accounts with the exception of one with a low balance and low interest rate.
Another step is online billing for all her accounts. Then you can see when problems occur. This is particularly important for a debit card account. If possible set up a separate account for her debit card and fund it with a small amount. Then she won't be able to charge large amounts.
You may think that my suggestions are radical. But bad financial decisionmaking is very common. I have witnessed it in every client in my dementia care business. It is one of the most common sign of Alzheimer's disease.
You should request a memory test from her doctor. You need to know what is causing her unwise spending.
Given the cost of care for persons with severe memory loss, you need to gain control of her financial assets ASAP. The cost of care will go up, even if she lives with you.
Good luck and keep us posted.
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This is an ongoing problem for us. Dad tried to spend £1500 on a recorder recently. Fortunately the shop were very understanding, cancelled the order & refunded his money. We then had to talk with him & explain that they couldn't get the instrument he wanted. My parents brought us up knowing right from wrong. We hate to lie but equally don't want dad to run out of money & into debt! This is do distressing & we don't know how to handle it!
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Dementia is often not just about memory, it's about the ability to reason and see the consequences of one's actions. this skill is often termed "executive functioning". My mom, who has vascular dementia from a stroke, routinely scores very high on Mini-mental exams, which examine memory and things like mental math. But she can't reason her way out of a paper bag, thinks her NH keeps getting sold (anytime she sees someone in a suit) and that there are floods in the basement (the facility doesn't HAVE a basement).

Get your dad to a qualified neurologist who specializes in dementia. My mom was worked up by a team at a rehab hospital; there was a nurse, neurologist and neuropsychologist, each of who did their own testing and came up with a joint diagnosis.
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Inability to manage finances is an early symptom of dementia and is, sadly, one that often is not notices until it's too late. After a LONG struggle, I took over my father's accounts and found that he had nothing left and lots of debt. We still don't know exactly where the money went.

My advice – figure out what makes your mom 'comfortable' about her money and set up a solution around that. It took a lot of painful trial and error (and even more money squandered) before I took a look at what my dad really cared about when it came to money.

If your mom feels unsettled if she doesn't have some money in her wallet, then make sure she always does (and protect the rest from her access). If she likes to charge, get her a special debit card (I used True Link) that lets you can load up with an allowance and can block certain merchants (like shopping networks or shady 'charities').

Your mom just wants to feel like things are not out of control even though her ability to control them is gone. Be sensitive to what makes her feel OK.

Don't wait!
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Put a stop to all her spending unless you approve something. Otherwise she will go deep in debt. You have the power to do that.
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I recently walked in the door to find my mom on the phone with one of those scammers who say they're calling because there's a problem with your computer. They talk you into giving them control over your computer and charge you to remove the "virus." I was livid and let the guy on the other end know how I felt about him trying to take advantage of the elderly. She told him what I said about it being a scam and he hung up. She doesn't think she gave him her credit card number, but her wallet was out.

Anyway, I immediately asked her to hand over her wallet, which she did. I, thankfully, do have POA, so I'm just starting to take over paying her bills. She did something pretty crazy a couple of years ago, but we were able to finally put a stop to that with promises of putting her into assisted living, which is pretty much the only thing she gets emotional about.

She is currently in rehab due to multiple falls involving broken bones. However, when she was able to go grocery shopping with me, I gave her her wallet so she could feel "normal."

You don't say what her situation is like, but I think the idea of giving her a prepaid credit card with an amount that you feel is safe would be a good idea. Best wishes!
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That's right, debbsc! Elders and even younger folks are targeted by scammers. I recently helped a younger friend, who was scammed by the IRS over the phone. (The IRS contacts you by U.S. postal service ONLY).
This woman was very alarmed because she has an adult daughter with a major physical disability.
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This is something been dealing with with hub's aunt and uncle; he's had at least 3 strokes and practically wiped out all their retirement funds, except for just enough left to fund their funerals and that's only because when his wife - or maybe when she stepped in - found out and told the bank about them and they came up with some reason to not let him have the rest, he was doing it to give to their grandson, which/who was the what he really cared about when it came to the money, at that point; he had come to live with them and the income he'd had that his mom had had set up for him dried up so he had no money and granddad couldn't stand that and he'd also taken out loans for him as well, until she also stopped that and they wouldn't let him have any more, so actually not really sure if the money was taken as well or used to pay off the loans or were paid with their income but at least don't think that's being done any more, just credit cards now but the day to day handling of money was always left up to wife but he handled the big stuff, which is why she didn't realize this was happening until almost too late but nobody thought there was a problem because memory wise he was still fine! They do have online banking now so what's happening with their account can be seen and money is being transferred out so it can't be spent, which is leading to some issues with the checks now. Thankfully, they've just qualified for help from the state/county.
When my dad put me on his checking account, to begin with, we didn't change the checks but then his bank got bought out by another one and they issued new checks with my name on them, which, for some reasons, we weren't really wanting, but turned out to be good because they then would call me when anything questionable would come through, which is probably what needs to be done with them, but guess the issue is what's considered questionable - $1500 probably would be, like in the recorder case, where $50 at a time probably wouldn't be, what we're dealing with, like termites rather than big chunks at a time but question - you're supposed to tip the barber? not sure I ever knew that; don't think that's something dad ever did! and he definitely hadn't balanced his checkbook and don't think they do either, but then neither does my husband - both dad and aunt have the bank help them do that, which somehow dad's did get out of whack but somehow either was to his good or at least didn't cause issues when he had it done, just that grandson took him in when he had it done and took the receipt with the balance, which he wasn't supposed to have and the bank definitely called me about that but he was the one staying with dad and had been filling out his checks as well, including the one for his church and letting him sign it, at least as long as he was bringing it up, not sure he was sending them in once he quit going.
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