My mother has been diagnosed with Parkinsons Dementia. Until about 8 months ago, before her very minor surgery that immediately put her into moderate Dementia, she handled the house, finances, cooking, everything a "homemaker" does. Now she is spending money like it is going out of style. She is very tight on the utilities and wants to keep costs low, but buying things and just spending money on things that aren't necessary. She reasons to herself that she needs to do this and says she doesn't want anyone telling her how to spend her money. But she is just not making good decisions. She is living on Social Security so that doesn't give her a lot of extra money to spend monthly. My other 2 sisters do have POA over financial issues on her checking account. Can they take her checkbook and charge cards to protect her from herself? My father was diagnosed several years ago with dementia, so he really isn't involved in this decision, but he does get very upset everytime she goes out and tells her when she leaves "not to spend any money".
Can we take all financial handlings away from her? Close her charge accounts? Any info would be great. We do live in Ohio.
Thank you!!

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I suspect that since it has got to this point that you have already had a conversation with her regarding her spending and it has not influenced her behavior.

I also suspect that she will not react well if you just "take" her checkbook and assume financial responsibility.

I have two suggestions:
Since she will not budget herself you could tell her that service companies (electric, phone, utilities, anything else where it will work) are asking customers to go on "automatic bill pay". Have her accounts set up this way so payments are automatically deducted from her checking account. This will allow her to see what she has left after the necessities have been handled...kind of an "imposed budget".

If that does not work, and since you have POA, you will have to take matters into your own hands more aggressively. Get a letter from mom and dad's physician(s) attesting to their inability to handle their financial affairs. This way mom cannot go to the banks and say "my kids have no authority...."

Since mom does have access to her current accounts you will then set up new accounts so you have the checkbook and she does not have access.

If you go the latter route it will obviously cause a rift. Beyond "this is for your safety and well being" I have no idea how you will handle the repercussions...

Good luck!
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I was wondering if you've talked to her about the sudden spending sprees she's doing? I mean if you were to ask her 'mom you know how you and dad always watched your spending? Well have you noticed that you're no longer doing that I wonder why that is?' Or something like that, what does she say? Is she aware she's doing it, or is she just on auto-pilot. My mother-in-law has dementia/alz and I, along with my brother-in-law are both POA's, although I'm the only one with the checkbook and paying the bills. All three of her boys are on her bank accounts with her, so my job will be done when she dies. I've never thought whether I could close her account and re-open it under just my name etc. But I suppose I'd be able to legally do it, but without her knowledge is iffy. If she's using a credit card then I'd sure cut them up.
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How is Mom getting around these days, to spend the money? I hope she is not driving. Is she still able to use public transportation safely?

As you say, there really isn't a lot of money for discretionary spending. If recurring bills are set up for autopay and money is set aside for food and household necessities, how much is available for her wild spending sprees? If she didn't exceed that amount, would everyone be OK with it? Is the problem that her new spending habits eat into amounts that should be going to the utilities company?

What if, while you are taking control as Ralph suggests, you say, "You are right, Mom. Nobody should be telling you how to spend your money. So we are taking all of the money leftover after your bills are paid and money is set aside for groceries and putting it in a special account, with only your name on it. You can spend it any way you like." Would that soften the situation for her?

My husband has Lewy Body Dementia, which is pretty much the same as Parkinson's with Dementia, except for the order that the symptoms appear. I had to take over all financial matters. I got him off of our joint account and opened up a separate checking account for him. I keep a low balance in it, but it allows him to write checks for his activities and not feel totally dependent. He has only one credit card, for a local department store, so he could buy a pair of slippers or a belt or maybe a gift for me, but he needs my help to do any clothing shopping so I don't feel there is much risk with this card.

Preserve your mother's dignity and her sense of independence as much as you possibly can. But you also need to protect both your parents from the consequences of irresponsible spending.

As Ralph says, Good Luck!
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