Money + Dementia = How do we take away access


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Today’s topic is all about Money + Dementia, as in, how do you take over finances when a loved one living with dementia can no longer handle it themselves?

At a conference, I got a really good question and it inspired me to do a post. And this question I got was about a checkbook. So mom has a checkbook and we don’t want her to have a checkbook anymore because we’re kind of worried about maybe like who she’s writing checks to, right? Or how to use it. She’s trying to put it away in other places. We don’t really want her to hide it somewhere and us not be able to find it. So he said, well what do I do? You know, when do we take the checkbook away? How do we take it away so that we don’t upset her? And I said, well, don’t take it away, but cancel the account. Make it so she can’t access the account so she can write checks all day.

But she still has the physical checkbook. It is the same thing with credit cards. If you have a loved one who has dementia and they’re going to have a fit. Don’t take the credit card, but take the ability for them to use anything so you can cancel the card and then just leave them with the physical card instead of like cutting it up, just leave them with a physical card. It makes people feel better, you know, I mean like if you’re used to carrying that stuff around, it would be alarming, right? To not have it anymore. We have to take people’s car keys. We don’t necessarily have to take, you know, the physical checkbook.

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Rachael Wonderlin is an internationally-recognized dementia care expert and consultant. She has a Master’s in Gerontology and is the author of three published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. Rachael owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting and education company.

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