Every day I meet people who say their loved one has given away every dime they have. Being too generous with charitable requests, giving to mother nature disasters, book and magazines companies, churches, QVC channels, and so forth. Natural disasters like horrendous floods, hurricanes and fires catch the attention of the nation, but can be extremely upsetting for people with dementia. We don’t want to exclude them from caring, yet we do want them to remain viable thoughtful members of society, but we should help them to monitor and give reasonable donations.
There may come a time when you need to create a joint checking account, cancel credit cards, remove them from robot caller lists and more. This is a tumultuous time for all and a loss of independence for the person diagnosed with a brain disease, but may be necessary to help them live out their remaining years comfortably.
Banks are willing to give you some starter checks so that you can still let the person with Alzheimer’s “pay their own bills.” You will simply not let them close the envelope, and slip the real check for payment inside, removing the “fake’ check. Even better if you do it on line and simply say you will take the mail to the post office for them. This maintains their dignity and allows them to remain a valuable part of their own life. It’s also good to set up automatic payments for the monthly bills which you can check and verify together.
Have a conversation with their pastor to let them know of the diagnosis, if allowed, setting up possible counseling in addition to monitoring the amount of the weekly or the monthly gift.
Durable power of attorney for financial and healthcare power of attorney are important to establish with the permission of the person diagnosed, choosing the person they believe will act in their best interest. A financial advisor may apply to help run down stocks, bonds, CDs, bank accounts, pensions, social security, and any other income they may have that needs managing. When they are struggling with bill paying and managing affairs, you may want to cancel credit cards and notify credit bureaus to remove your loved from distribution lists. You can call or write letters to all major credit bureaus asking to limit or be removed from solicitation and what information is shared about your loved one.
Write to these addresses:
Equifax, Inc. Options, PO BOX 740123, Atlanta, GA 30374
Experian, Consumer OPT OUT, 701 Experian PKWY, Allen, TX 75013
TransUnion, Name Removal Option, PO BOX 505, Woodlyn, PA 19094
Register phone numbers on the www.donotcall.gov or call 1888-382-1222 This will cut down the telemarketer traffic exponentially. Every five years you must do this to stay current.
To cut down on direct mail and opt out of national consumer mailing lists, write to Mail Preference Service, PO BOX 643, Carmel, NY 10512 or do it online at:
It won’t stop all mail but will make a huge dent in unwanted solicitations for money. It is our job to take care of our loved ones and ensure they live out the rest of their lives comfortably and with dignity. Talking about finances with them is a great way to honor their quality of life.