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Managing money - Carers UK Forum

Managing money

Share your ideas about the practical side of caring.
Hi all - some advice please. My 75 yr old mother has cognitive probs following brain haemorrhage 2 yrs ago. She has recently been diagnosed with vascular dementia. She is very confused re money. This week alone I have had phone calls about coop bank going bust and taking all her money etc etc. She has no money in the coop but we use the cash point there. Tonight she phoned me saying she was overdrawn which she isn't. I manage her money - she could not use a cash point. She gets terribly confused though about how much money she has and no matter how I try and explain she still challenges me or questions things. She loves going out and will spend lots of money on things she doesn't need but I would never stop her ( very independent over brain haemorrhage - her life and all our lives changed over night). Just before her BH she put quite a bit of money in shares - something she would NEVER have done had she been right. I don't want the responsibility of her money - she doesn't have much but what she does have she has worked hard for - but don't know how to deal with it. Somedays she is very confused others not so , so I don't want to take control as she doesn't have much left she can do for herself. So if she wants to buy a handbag costing £50 I say nothing but then she gives her beloved grand children 50p for their birthday ?? She will want to cast £500 at the cashpoint which is way too much so what do I tell her? Plus these bad investments - should we withdrawn them and put in something better? ( my sister and I have power of Attourney as at one point she was horrendously confused and hospitalised ).
How have you dealt with this issue. Thanks for any advice xx
I have similar problems with my son, who has learning difficulties. He knows what he wants, but doesn't understand money at all. However, he lives alone, and needs to buy his own food etc. Our solution was to have a main account which I have control of, his benefits come into this account weekly. M calls this his "cheque book account". From this account I transfer about 75% of his weekly benefits into another debit card account, in his sole name, which he has. As a result, he has built up a "nest egg" to pay for holidays, any new electrical items he needs, etc. in the main account. He can then use the card on his £100 a week account for shopping, but if he spends too much, the card won't work. I can top up this account by a quick phone call to the bank. This has all been agreed with Social Services, after a Mental Capacity Assessment. It is a question of balancing the protection of assets and the rights of the individual, there is no easy solution. In your mum's case, the bank can probably put a limit on the amount of cash mum draws out on any one day.
Oh my goodness this has struck some chords with me "Worrywart" I have exactly the same problems with my Mum, since my Dad passed away her income has dropped considerably and although she is happy for me to sort out all the problems she becomes rather unhappy when I tell her what she can and cant spend so I became DWP appointee and have control of Mums income. I pay all the bills and transfer the rest into her own account (that way I know that there is enough money for the important stuff and she still thinks she has control) I take my Mum out every day just to keep her socialised and in touch with the outside world but by the Lord I can't tell you how many things she doesn't see me put back on the shelves and the only good thing about her Vascular Dementia is by the time we get to check out she has completely forgotten what was in the basket..... I don't have the problem with gifting to Grandkids she only has our Daughter and she flatly refuses to have any money off Nan (mind you she is 27 and Mum and I do the Xmas and birthday shopping together and she never ever refuses our Daughter anything).
If anyone had told me some years ago that I would be totally stressed out at looking after my Mum and Dad I would have laughed and said "never" but none of know what is around the corner for us and perhaps it's good that we don't I'm totally stressed out most days but I keep treading the glue in the hope that it makes me stronger xxxxxxxx
Thank you both for your replies. It works ok on the whole but it can be stressful when she wants to buy these unnecessary things - telling your mother no does not come naturally to me. If for example we take her with us shopping and we buy something then she wants it etc. Plus the confusion re gifts and whereas she would always give my husband say £20 for his birthday she now gives £1 which is quite funny yet terribly sad. I worry about the future as if she gets worse and if she has to go into a home she will probably lose the house and that is sad enough but what little capital she has will also go. It's such a minefield as to what you can and cannot do. The dodgy share investments she took out I know were intended for her 3 grandchildren but if she just gifted this to them now I presume that would be illegal or something?
I think my problem is I am struggling with my own life owing to health problems and menopause etc etc so I just cannot seem to get my head sorted to take action now.
Jhr57 - you struck a massive cord with me when you said you take your mum out everyday, how do you cope with this? I find this ATM the worse part of caring as somedays infact most days I do not want to go out as I am not in great health myself. The thought of lugging the wheelchair ( my mother has put on 3 stone since the BH) around town to the same shops etc is wearing. Many a time as soon as we get there she wants to come home as she is bored or tired. Plus as you say she picks up expensive skirts and trous she will never wear and I have to sneak them back or say they haven't got her size. Like you I feel stressed by it all but also like you we keep going as they are our mums.
Thanks for the input both xxx
Hello worrywart :)

Managing someone else's money is a worry isn't it !

Do you have a Power of Attorney for your Mum ? If you haven't it would make looking after her finances much easier for you, you can get basic information here:


or here:

http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/r ... e_else.htm

If you are worried about 'dodgy' investments it would be worth seeking the advice of a Financial Advisor; your Mum's bank would probably be the best place to start.

I had PoA for my Mum, luckily taken out whilst she still understood what it was about (just !). But once the dementia was more advanced she became very confused with regards to money - she frequently told me that her husband (my Dad) hadn't given her any housekeeping and she didn't know how she was going to manage ! At that point in time Dad had been dead for over 20 years ! But for most of the time she was quite happy to let handle her affairs as long as she had a £20 note in her purse :)
I gave up my job some 10 years ago when my Dad had a massive brain bleed that left him paralysed on the left side "Worrywart" ...... it seemed the only solution at the time that would allow Dad to come home and be looked after where he wanted to be looked after ... the caring role I believe is the major cause for my Mums dementia and I just couldn't find it in my heart to not care for her too... Dad had 10 reasonable years at home which I certainly don't think he would have had if he had gone into residential care ... thankfully at the moment I'm in reasonably good physical health (hope it stays that way) and Mum is just mentally impaired not physically so I no longer have the lifting I used to have with Dad. I would be being very dishonest if I said that I love this daily routine all the days become the same and I really get frustrated with the monotony of the same old all the time but I just feel that I'm giving her the best I can at the moment. I really do live in each day and am always grateful my Other Half is fully supportive of this dreadful situation and like you "Worrywart" I know if I can no longer cope then everything my Mum and Dad worked so very hard for and to coin both their phrases "the house was purchased for the kids and that's what we both want" will certainly not apply it will go to pay for her care if she needs it. Both myself and my Brother wrote off any inheritance a long long time ago but both my Mum and Dad were the best parents they could be and for that we do what we do out of love not out of duty. xxxxxxxxx
Yes susieq it is hard when it's not your own money. Plus of course she is not confused all of the time . We do have power of Attourney but have never used it. I don't feel comfortable making financial decisions for her but I know it's inher best interest.
Jhr57 - yes my mam had a bleed too. She was ok previously apart from very high blood pressure. She was in hosp for a year -it's been hard going . She is physically disabled but can just about walk. Mentally it varies - sometimes she is ok, other times she is totally confused and muddled. My health isn't great and that's why I don't work. Plus my sister is much younger than me and her children are toddlers whereas my daughter is 30! So I am in the middle of my sister who needs help with her children ( she works and partner is away) plus my mother. I feel completely guilty if I don't take out as she gets worse mentally but physically I am not up to it . I take her out twice a week, my sister tries to take her out once a week. My husband is ok but we both retired with a view to the camper van and off we go but we can't do that now so he has gone back to work? Resentful - yes.
My mother was a good mother albeit a bit cold. I married young and moved away then back but I have never had a very close relationship with my mother she just wasn't that type of person. She had her own life job etc then came brain haemorrhage. But like you I do it because she is my mother and as she is now I would never cope if she was in a home as she is ok with all of our input. One day at a time,
Thanks for your help xx
The hard part sometimes is realizing that there are actually people who would take the money of someone with a disability. This is something that I have unfortunately had to encounter for myself. I have found that prepaid cards are a great way to manage money – they will not be able to spend too much or all at once and still have sense of financial independence.
I don't have PoA for my MIL, but I opened a new joint bank account with her (took forever on the paperwork - honestly, they make it sound like they are doing you a favour accepting the loan of your money to them!) a few months ago, and she put some savings into it, and I use that when expending money for her on her behalf (eg, paying bills).

I'm slightly amused (in a wry way!) by your mum wanting to spend her own money - for the last six months my MIL hasn't offered to open her purse at all! When we shop, I buy everything (as I say, I 'reclaim' anything I buy for her - other than toiletries and other small items etc). Rather sweetly, though, she always gets her purse out when we go through a road toll......I always say thank you nicely and am very appreciative. :)

But paying for herself just seems to have gone by the board these days. (Probably just as well, as she always enjoyed shopping hugely!) (And I'm still trying to work out where we are going to store all her massive amount of clothes that she'll never wear again but doesn't want to part with, once her flat is sold!)

Just a thought, but if your mum enjoys shopping, could you restrict her outings to charity shops? Not only are the clothes loads cheaper than new, but the money spent on them goes to a good cause. You could tell her that these days 'we all shop at charity shops' in order to 'do our bit' for those less well off - ie, make a virtue out of thrift!
Hi Karen and Jenny, thank you for your replies.
My mother does sometimes pay her own way when we go out Jenny. But whats frustrating is I take her out to avoid her being alone for long periods. So if we go for coffee she will quite often not pay saying she is only having coffee because I am!! ( trying to explain we are only out in the first place because of her is pointless). I also do her shopping - I shop online and get her shopping at the same time but she doesn't like me doing this and so can be awkward about it. She doesn't get that I am not physically up to taking her shopping whenever she wants. She is 12 stone now and wheelchair bound with a very disabled leg so it's not easy getting in and out of car etc.
She had a complete meltdown with me last ween and I nearly lost the plot! She likes to cash £200 every week even though she doesn't need it, she likes to keep it in her tin. I had a very busy week and didn't get time to cash her the money. She went mad at me saying I was taking her money and keeping her without any. I was so upset - I don't want the responsibility of her money and her house etc. But there is no point trying to have a conversation with her, she just ignores me. I find it all very frustrating. As I have said previously my husband and I waited for me to retire so we could travel and have a life ( I have chronic health issues all my adult life). But my mother thinks I am there for her and don't need a life. Sorry ! Gone off topic here.
I worry about her house that needs maintaining - she won't consider sheltered accommodation. So I am just trying to go with the flow now and stop trying to organise everything and make sure things run smoothly. I have promised her I will cash her money every week come what way and she can store it in her tin - not the best thing to do but I have given up!! All her bills are on standing order and come out of her account so that's something.
Glad things have settled a little for you Jenny - are you feeling more comfortable with the situation now?