My mother has Alzheimer’s dementia and wants to continue to handle her finances. What do I do? asks Shea, in Tennessee.
I have financial POA that allows me to handle my mother’s finances. What I don’t know is if I am legally obligated to return her checkbook is she requests. It is, after all, her money and she should be able to spend or squander if she chooses. I realize that my motives are not objective in handling her finances.
She has had her utilities shut off. Spent money on things she did not need. And was over or under paying the amounts on any bills by hundreds of dollars.
She asks me for her checkbook several times a day and has threatened to call the police and report it stolen.
Do you have any suggestions on how to handle this situation?
This is a difficult situation many caregivers face. A family member is suffering from Alzheimer’s dementia., has periods of lucidity. They still want to maintain their independence.
There is never a simple solution to this problem. It will be ongoing problem. .
Of course, you will have to have access to her accounts. Pay her bills online, or have the bills sent to your home address. Make sure you visit her bank and make them aware of her diagnosis. Take a copy of you financial POA to be placed on file. It is important that her credit card companies have a copy, as well.
You may consider printing out some fake checks and telling her to use them. Just make sure they do not get mailed.
Remember that you will need to try different communication techniques. You may be able to redirect her. You will need to get creative as your mothers disease progresses.
It is important to focus on an individuals abilities and strengths, not what they are no longer able to do.
Thank you for this question.
Diane Carbo RN