So I have things set up that the majority of his money is in a separate account and I hold the card to that, and then there is a smaller account that he can use.
He definitely is in the phase of whatever this is (dementia not yet diagnosed) where he wants instant gratification. This has been a problem for me, because even though he lives nearby in AL, I have a job and a family and a life and I can't drop everything because he decides he wants a new shirt. So instead he shops online. I have stressed over and over again that if he's going to do that, he needs to shop only at trusted retailers, and not just google stuff he wants. He insists he only shops at Amazon and Walmart.
The card history tells a different story. Especially since he's gotten his card canceled five times in the past 18 months because of fraudulent transactions.
Every time this happens, he blames me. "I only shop online because I don't want to bother you." "I had to buy this online because you said you couldn't take me shopping until the weekend." etc and so forth. (Keep in mind I still go shopping for him, and with him — if he needs clothes, I take him to the mall, if he needs every day items, I'll get them with my regular shopping and drop them off. It's the I NEED THIS THING THIS SECOND part that I am refusing to do)
I'm reticent to restrict his finances any more than I already have because the last time I tried to put on some additional restrictions (more by accident than anything else) he called my sister and said I was keeping him from his money and she reported me to the AL for elder abuse and I had to leave work and go to a meeting with the director.
I kind of want to wash my hands of it, and just say, fine, here's all the info, I'm no longer involved in your finances. Or the next time we get a fraud alert, just ignore it. But I know that's the wrong thing to do and if all his money goes away, he will be unable to pay for AL.
I just want him to stop using the card on those dodgy web sites!
What do I do next?
Wasting his money on useless crap and then giving you hell because you are trying to preserve his money for his assisted living.
And the nerve if the assisted living calling you in like you are a damn criminal. If his card gets compromised afain don't help him with it. Let him figure it out.
And kudos to you for setting boundaries and not jumping when he says jump.
You are exactly right. I can't tell you how many care clients I had who thought they didn't have to pay their bill to me in full for their services.
I always got my money.
I remember one client in particular. I was taking her to the beauty parlor for a hair cut. She had 'X' amount of money to spend yet wanted highlights done, a manicure, and her eyebrows done.
The beauty salon people tried to shame me into "lending" her the money for the other services because she's old and it would make her happy.
They were told by me that if they wanted to do these things free out of the goodness of their hearts they could. Or they could call her daughter and get a credit card they could bill for the services.
There were no highlights, manicures, or eyebrows getting done that day. The hairdresser didn't even get a tip because my client wasn't given enough money to pay for her haircut and leave a tip.
The family figured I'd just give her a few bucks if she ran short.
I learned that lesson with elderly people and their families the hard way.
No one borrows a single cent from me for any reason.
If the OP's father wants to spend his money on crap and nonsense, go right ahead. If the OP does not have POA, then she's lucky and should either let him recklessly spend until he's broke, or let the sister take over the responsibility.
Your sister sounds truly like a horse's arse. I'd call HER and give HER all of this burden over her father's erratic spending habits and then call the AL to report her for elder abuse when things go south.
If you don't like that idea, close out dad's card entirely and let the chips fall where they may. Keep track of all these fraud alerts so you can show them to the AL when your sister calls them again to report you. The man is obviously not competent to shop online, and you're protecting him, not abusing him.
Then have dad assessed for cognitive issues. When he's diagnosed with dementia, then everyone will agree he should not have a credit card at all.
And you may want to remind your sister that if dad gives all his money away to scammers, #1, there will be no more money to pay for AL and he'll have to move in with HER, and #2, there will be no funds left for her inheritance.
That's usually enough of a wake up call to stop them from making 'elder abuse' types of phone calls.
Provide him only with a preloaded card, or one that has a very low amount that he can charge.
Restrict his internet.
Is your sister FULLY aware of what he is doing, his finances? (If you are POA technically you do not have to share with her but she should be aware so that she does not think you are "abusing him financially"
Or if you truly want to wash your hands of this...let sister take over if she is capable and trustworthy.
So now give her so much to do.
Let her have full control of your father's finances to administer as she sees fit.
Or tell the AL facility they can have POA if they want it.
When he gets scammed out of all his money by the Nigerian prince or because he "won" the Australian lottery (an old scam from when the internet was a baby), so be it.
Not your problem anymore.
1. Who has responsibility for Dad's money?
2. Is Dad deemed capable of making financial decisions?
The smaller parts will be;
1.1 Is the POA active? Or does it spring only if Dad seemed no longer capable?
2.1 What is Dad capable of regarding financials? Property & legal? No? Bills? No? Day to day small spending? Lunch out, gifts, new shirt??
You could go a few ways.
A full neuro-psych eval would highlight just what Dad's processing, planning & decision making skills are. A very useful tool. Hopefully the knowledge will bring agreement with Sister?
Or you could skip that. Save the money, time & stress on Dad. Set some new reasonable limits that get agreed all round by yourselves.
My gut feeling, with that 'I need it now' vibe, is his short term memory is far worse than you think. That his planning & processing is also worse. That he is at risk of fraud big time.
I'm really liking that pre-paid card idea.
A set SMALL amount he gets per WEEK. He can blow this on what he likes. Like a teenager really. If he spends it all on new socks Monday & has none to buy a shirt til next Monday, so be it.
The scale of freedom vs duty of care is hard. But with the stacking up notifications from the bank, I think you know what direction this is heading. Being the bad guy/gal is not a task anyone wants - blame the bank.
1) Are you on bad terms with your sister? Can you explain the problem to her? Your father may have been very credible when he talked to her, and she may not have understood. Unless it’s pure spite on her part, you should be able to avoid it happening again.
2) I’d write out the arrangements clearly, because they obviously make sense. I use a debit card myself when I go shopping, because I have lost a credit card before when it had a high limit on it, and I feel safer with a $500 debit card. If you get queried again, fax or email the written explanation. It may avoid having to leave work for a meeting.
Next, you (and your sister) should watch some Teepa Snow videos on YouTube to learn about dementia so that you can stop expecting your Dad to be the same person he was last year or 5 years ago -- he's not and can never be that person again no matter how many times you explain or insist on things. He can't learn new things. He can't even retain the stuff he already has. His newest memories go first, his oldest memories fade last. That's how this dementia thing goes.
Dementia means he is daily losing his abilities of reason, logic, memory, empathy and inhabitions. So, he's not even maintaining, he is actively losing. Every day. You will drive yourself mad if you don't see him with different eyes now. There are strategies for you to learn how to better engage with him for more peaceful and productive interactions. Everything about dementia is hard, but if you don't keep up with the learning curve, you will burn out. I wish you much wisdom and peace in your heart.
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