Dementia has no limits on what it takes. It takes away cognitive ability physical wellness, and takes also from relationships. One of the sensitive areas affected by dementia is finances.
If your loved one has dementia, they may exhibit unusual money problems, such as falling for financial scams online or having an obsession with money. Here’s another embarrassing money issue with dementia: your loved one keeps accusing people of stealing money.
In this exploration, we venture into dementia and money obsession, unveiling the surprising challenges, profound implications, and innovative strategies accompanying this phenomenon.
Can Dementia Cause Money Obsession?
Dementia causes a range of behavioural changes. Dementia patients can develop an obsession. From toilet obsession to obsession with money, all these are some of the changes caused by dementia.
For example, memory loss caused by dementia can lead to changes in how an individual relates to money. Constant forgetfulness about financial details can lead dementia patients to clingy to cash.
If your loved one has dementia, they can experience repetitive behaviour. Repetitive behaviour in dementia can manifest as money obsession. Your loved one may express these behaviours: counting money, organising it, or repeatedly checking their financial statements. While this may appear to be an obsession with money, it is more a result of cognitive changes.
Dementia Patient Changes In Money Behavior
If you are taking care of a person with dementia, you may notice these behaviours towards money:
Poor Money Management
Dementia can cause difficulties in managing money. For instance, you may notice that your loved one has pilling bills. They may also have a reduced capacity to keep track of their expenses, leading to further financial problems.
In some cases, dementia patients can have impulsive spending behavior, making purchases without considering the consequences. They might buy unnecessary items, respond to telemarketing or online scams, or overspend in a way that jeopardises their financial well-being.
Unwillingness to Spend Money
Instead of careless spending, some dementia patients become clingy towards money. They become obsessed with saving money. In addition, dementia patients can show anxiety when required to spend money. Some fear losing money and, therefore, refuse to pay.
Another money problem with dementia patients is repetitive money actions. Dementia patients can count money or keep checking their account balances repeatedly. Repetitiveness may be an action to provide comfort to dementia patients over specific fears.
Sometimes, your loved one with dementia may keep accusing people around them of stealing money. Dementia patients may develop unfounded fears or paranoia about their finances. They might accuse others of stealing their money or conspiring against them financially.
Impaired Financial Judgement
As dementia progresses, patients lose their ability to make sound decisions. The impairment also affects personal finances. Hence, may fall victim to financial scams or fraud due to their diminished judgment and decision-making abilities.
How To Deal With Dementia and Money Obsession
As a caregiver, it is difficult to deal with a dementia patient with money obsession or other money-related issues. Here are some tips to help you navigate the different situations:
Once dementia kicks in, you should plan on how to handle issues regarding the patient as a primary caregiver. The preparations may involve creating a power of attorney for finances and healthcare, establishing a living will, and naming a trusted individual to make financial decisions on the person’s behalf.
Limiting Access to Money
If your loved one is not in the capacity to handle their finances, you must limit access to money.
If necessary, limit the person’s access to funds to prevent impulsive spending, scams, or financial mismanagement. You can set limits by setting up automatic bill payments, managing their bank accounts jointly, or using a representative payee for government benefits.
Keep Financial Documents Safe
If you have a dementia patient who has a challenge maintaining critical financial documents, you can take the initiative to keep them safe. Hence, Keep essential financial papers, such as bank statements, tax records, and insurance policies, organised and safely.
Make copies of critical documents, and consider digitising them for easy access. Ensure that someone you trust knows where to find these documents.
To avoid overspending and financial exploitation, you must monitor your dementia loved one’s financial habits. Monitoring reviews the person’s financial statements and accounts to detect unusual or potentially problematic transactions. Look for signs of financial exploitation or scams.
If your loved one is obsessed with spending on unnecessary things, you can help them create a budget and stick to it.
Create a clear and straightforward budget that outlines their income, expenses, and savings goals. Budgeting can ensure that essential bills are paid and there’s a plan for managing their money.
One More Tip
Remember that dementia patients are sensitive. Hence, you must approach the mooney situation with respect. Ensure that their dignity remains paramount. Also, understand that your loved one with dementia still needs to feel in control of their lives, and suddenly taking over their finances can cause problems. Initiate the financial changes gradually.