I had a huge A-HA! moment yesterday, and if you are supporting someone of my mother’s generation (she turns 94 in July) and particularly someone living with dementia, then this may well be relevant for you.
My mother’s regular bills are paid automatically, but the recurring and increasingly worrying questions for her are:
- how do my bills get paid
- where does the money come from
- how do I know how much I have
More recently, there is a new, panic-stricken statement – she is now worried sick that she has no money left – money is the least of my mother’s worries I can assure you!
Naturally we have these answers displayed on her Noticeboard where she can read them as often as she needs to, whether she’s at her place or at ours – in large part, that’s why we created Membo in the first place.
We have also written it all down and put it in her red finances folder at her home, and when we are with her, but inevitably she winds up asking us the same worrying questions repeatedly.
When we explain that she receives an army widow’s pension, that her bills are paid automatically and that she gets cash out every Tuesday with her card, she nods and understands what we have said.
But her constant answer to that now is: “But I have nothing to show me. I have no way to know.”
We answer: “Every Tuesday when you go to the ATM and get some cash out, you get a print-out that tells you how much is in that account.”
We find the print-out in her purse, and she looks at it. She can read the amount of money, but still, the statement from her is: “But I have nothing to show me.”
As my husband and I drove the 50 odd minutes to dinner with friends last night, we were chatting and trying – as we do constantly – to find a better, more effective, easier, longer-lasting way to answer these questions that are the cause of SO much angst for mum.
I cannot say why this came to me, but I suddenly thought about the fact that my mother has always had a bank passbook, but the bank got rid of the passbook feature, and now all she has is a plastic card.
We have yet to prove my theory, however, I am quietly confident that what she is actually saying – but because of her dementia she cannot explain it to us in a meaningful way – is that she no longer has the passbook which shows her how much is in her account, and which she can take into the bank to get money out.
I read so often that loved ones are worrying about money, and I’m wondering how many people – particularly of my mother’s generation – and their families and carers are experiencing the very same thing.
Unbelievably, we still have mum’s old passbook, so we are about to put my theory to the test when we pop it into her handbag and see what happens.
Stay tuned for my next Blog!
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