If you find you have a loved one who is in failing health, has hired caregivers in the home, or is living in a care community, minding the day-to-day finances and spending is a simple task you can manage from a computer. Unfortunately, this can also happen to very health adults who get fooled by clever fraudsters as well. 

After caring for two parents with dementia, I remind myself how much the checkbook meant to my mother. She had always managed the household finances and the suggestion that she was unable to manage a checkbook safely was something that needed to be left unsaid. I found that out after I said it a few times. ; <

 

The biggest problem I faced was a lost purse that contained the checkbook. She thought she left it in a cab, a store, at a bridge game … I couldn’t manage the hours each week spent looking for her purse. Today you can at least get a tile which would have been immensely helpful in keeping track of her handbag, but it wasn’t an option yet.

There are several simple ways to help track the daily spending from the convenience of your computer: 

  • Get a tile and insert it into the wallet so you can easily find it if it get’s misplaced. You can use their online portal to track it’s location.  
  • Open up a new checking account and fund it with a small amount of money that can afford to be lost. You can easily move money into the account in small amounts as it needed to be replenished. If the checkbook is lost or you suspect fraud you can easily close the account.
  • Consider setting up a TrueLink card. It is basically a credit card where you can set up limits on how much can be charged as well as products and services that it won’t fund. There is a fee for it, but the small expense is worth the money it will most likely save in potential losses.

Unfortunately, I have recently had clients both at home and living in communities be a victim of caregiver exploitation. One got my client to write her a small check, one purchased some face cream for my client and asked her for repayment of $85, and another apparently kept asking for gas money. Most agencies and communities require their caregivers agree to never accept money or gifts from clients. Should a client give them money, it needs to be reported to the community or agency. In the past month, I have reported three caregivers for violating this condition of employment. Sadly, I know they will just turn up at another agency.

What I struggled with was that this was one of the few remaining freedoms for my mom. She could no longer drive, or run the bridge games she loved, and that checkbook gave her an empowered sense of self. Now as a Daily Money Manager, I see all the ways that people are trying to get at the money of my clients.

Ultimately, someone needs to be vigilant about minding the finances as well as considering how to layer in these protections. A few bad apples spoil the lot. I hope these options help you and your loved ones. 

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