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My mother drives and they spend lots of $$$ eating out and shopping. I feel like they should save money for their future but I also don't want them to feel like they are "stuck" and can't do anything fun. I think they should try to eat a lot of meals at the AL facility since they've paid for them and they are balanced and nutritious. Am I being too controlling? I have POA for my father since he has dementia.

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Thank you Windytown -- I know exactly what you mean about feeling physically sick sometimes. My dad just called tonight to ask for more money. Parenting a parent is so hard! I did come across a prepaid debit card that was created specifically for senior citizens. This might be something to look into. It's called Truelink and I could load money onto it each month and track what their purchases are.

Right now when they call for more money and I ask what they spent the other money on, they are very vague :( They spent more than $900 this month and this is on top of the assisted living fees where ALL their meals are paid for. They have always lived without a budget and just used credit cards so this is a huge change for them.

My husband and I will be meeting with them next Saturday and we've got their income and debt all spelled out -- we'll work together so they can come up with a reasonable budget. My only fear with a prepaid debit card is that they won't keep track of their balance and they'll be at a restaurant and not have enough money to pay. We'll have to see how to mitigate that.

Thank you again to everyone for their input. I appreciate it.
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Good for you JSF123. You're treading on tricky ground as it's so, so hard to 'parent' your parent. It kind of made me feel almost physically sick for awhile to realize my mom had abdicated all responsibility to me. After all, our parents were the ones that were responsible for us as children and looked out for us most of our lives. I guess I was just grieving that comfort of having my parents still well and strong. When my dad died quite suddenly my mom shifted absolutely everything onto me.

It's all about adjusting your perceptions and living in the new reality, even if that reality leads to some very difficult conversations. Just remind them that the reason you are doing this is because you love them. If you did not care, they could possibly run out of money and then where would they be?

You are a loving and compassionate daughter looking out for their well-being. It will be tough at times dealing with them. Always remember you are doing the right thing and stand firm as you said. Those are good words in your situation. ((Hugs))
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Thank you for your input -- I appreciate it! I feel like they would spend whatever I give them; unfortunately they seem unable to (or incapable of) create a budget. I'll work with my husband and them to come up with a budget that is reasonable and enforceable. I know they will likely come to me (via telephone -- I live 100 miles away) and ask for more money but that's where I'll have to stand firm.
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My mom gets $150 credit for her food. She doesn't go down to meals either. The dining room is too far and she's happier not getting dressed most days. So I bring her all of her food. She has a microwave and can fix a lot of things in that. Once my dad died, my mom seemed to have more issues with table mates while dining (they had the same ones) and she'd never ask to be changed. So now we've bypassed all of that stuff, thankfully.
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windytown - I wish! I did try that but was told that the meal allowance was considered a perk or benefit. My mothers sister-in-law lived in a different building in this large complex - less expensive apartments with a smaller meal allowance - but shared the same dining room. She really struggled to make ends meet and I tried to get my moms meal credit transferred to my aunt. Nope!
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Rainmom, My mom's in AL. She hates the dining room as she has become anti-social, germ paranoid and a little dementia in her older years. She only dines in the bistro area Monday through Friday for lunch. Yet she pays (or did pay) for three meals seven days a week. The bistro is open to the public, yet her kind-hearted 'friend' brings her the paid for meal to her. It was interesting, as the salesperson for mom's AL does her sales pitch in said room. When I heard her tell a potential resident that meals they did not eat could be taken off the bill, I jumped on it. I talked to the director of the facility and got a $250 discount a month. That doesn't even nearly cover what she is charged, but it's worth something. I wasn't even aware that was an option! I encourage others to look into it.

My mom eats cereal in her room for breakfast and I keep her fridge stocked with evening meals. It's nice to get a little monetary break.
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When my mom was in IL her rent included a generous credit in the dining room - for that matter for $2 extra meals could be brought to her room. In the four years she (and my dad for the first year and a half) never used but a small fraction of what was allowed. Mom preferred to grocery shop and cook. The cooking slowed a little after daddy passed but even after she lost use of her car she still had her part time caregiver take her grocery shopping. My mom had been the most frugal person I've ever know so it was odd to me. I think it must have had something to do with wanting to feel useful, functioning and more "normal". In AL, where meals were all included she didn't have the strength to go shopping anymore but she would have me stock her mini fridge and have her caregiver make sandwiches and microwaveable soup as often as possible - only going to the dining room for breakfast. I never was able to figure it out.
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Blannie's right. You need to map out a budget. Look at their savings and monthly income. Then calculate their room and board and medical insurance costs, etc. monthly. Leave the fun money out of the calculation at look at the monthly shortfall/excess, whatever it may be. Also be aware their expenditures may rise as their health declines.

As POA's our job is to make their money last to cover their expenses for their lifetime, IF it is available. So many are not as fortunate. You have some careful decisions to make when you get their budget hammered out.
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It depends on how much money they have. Two people living in assisted living has got to be pretty expensive anywhere in the country. Unless your folks are loaded, I'd certainly encourage them to eat their meals at the place for the most part. Can they go on day trips through the facility (with transportation provided)? Play games, go shopping (through the facility's vehicle)? Join a local senior center for activities?

My mom has lived in independent living for 13 years. I can't count the number of people in that time who have had to leave the facility because their money ran out. So try to strike a balance between living for today and being cautious with their spending. How old are your folks? My mom is 96 and my dad lived there for 9 years too, until he passed away...so your folks could be living there for a long time, depending on their ages.
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He isn't the driver. She is and she's okay -- for now.
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If Dad has dementia, he should NOT be driving. Take the car away.
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