Caregivers are often put in tough financial situations with the person they are caring for. Sometimes the care recipient has dementia and accuses them of stealing from them. This can happen when the care recipient was the “bill payer” all these years and now the caregiver has had to take on that responsibility. Sometimes the care recipient is spending money on television based home shopping or online and it is out of control. Here are some ideas that may help.
Online Bill Pay:
If the bills that need to be paid don’t come in the mail anymore, the former bill payer won’t notice they are missing. Choosing online bill pay and receiving only electronic bills can cut down on stress for everyone. Autopay is really convenient as well, removing the monthly strain of sitting down to pay the bills, on top of all the other caregiver responsibilities you have.
If the person is wildly spending with credit cards, you can take a few different steps. You can take away all their credit cards except for one, which cuts down on the tension around them. You can change credit limits on a credit card, making sure that they top out at $500 instead of $15000, for example. You can take the credit cards and give them a gift card that looks like (and acts like) a credit card but has a true limit. And if they order big things, decline their delivery – UPS will take it back with them.
Make sure you have access to the care recipient’s accounts. This may involve extra steps early in the process of dementia and caregiving because not all legal documents are accepted at all banks. Find out what you need to do to add yourself or gain access in order to continue seamless care for your loved one. And don’t get too angry at the banks for the hoops you may need to jump through – the “hoops” help with fraud prevention.
We know you already had all your legal documents written but do you know where they are? Make sure you have access to the legal documents written for the care recipient as well as other important papers like car titles, house deeds, military discharge papers, marriage certificates, and more. Are they in a safe deposit box at the bank or in a manila envelope under someone’s mattress? You need to know where they are and that they are secure.
Lastly, make sure only limited people have this financial access – only those who need it to assist in caregiving. Too many people can lead to financial exploitation or worse. We always want to keep our loved ones safe.