The money management challenge

We sometimes kid ourselves into thinking our loved one, isn’t really that sick; early stage is early, right? I know that John is still able to do a lot of things: laundry, gardening, simple housework, dishes, taking out the garbage. In fact, today he is helping my dad paint our house. But talk to him about numbers and pow! He is instantly confused. This is a surprising and painful thing to see in a retired CPA. And not being able to discuss taxes, bills or budgets with him leaves me pretty much on my own when it comes to finances. We have a trust and that takes care of long term financial plans, however, adjustments needed to be made for day-to day spending.

We talked about ways to make sure our finances wouldn’t be jeopardized over a misplaced or lost wallet, which was one of John’s biggest fears. We decided he would no longer carry credit cards. However, since he likes taking me out and I like being his date, I make it a practice to bring along one of his cards so that when we go out to dinner he signs the bill. For day-to-day items, we have agreed that he have a cash card with a specific limit so that he can buy lunch, gas or groceries, but must work with me for larger purchases. Before Alzheimer’s, our arrangement was to discuss any purchase over a set amount. That same rule holds true now but the dollar amount is now much lower for both of us. I also ask him to manage the weekly offering to our church. It is a casual way for me to monitor if he knows the date and how to write a check.

Developing a sense of financial freedom for John has taken a bit of creative thinking, but I believe we have been able to maintain his self esteem while curtailing unauthorized access to our funds.