Managing Money

Help the person you support to manage their money safely and independently

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    Offering practical support to manage money

    The person you support may be used to managing their own finances or those of their family. Coping or managing your money can become harder as dementia symptoms progress.  They may be worried that other people will take over your finances, or you may be worried about their spending or safety when paying for things.  Read the NHS Dementia Guide for general information about dementia and managing money.

    Whether you are offering help with day to day spending, bills or other finances, there are things you can do to help the person you support to keep managing their money.

    Here are some things for you to think about:

    • What money decision might they be struggling with?
    • What decisions about money can they carry on making, such as paying for day-to-day items like their own shopping?
    • Can you help them by providing clear information? Can you access other sources of help such as applying for a chip and signature card, setting up direct debits etc.?
    • Are there any financial matters that need immediate attention, such as any unpaid bills? Or any money that is unaccounted for? Or any bills or service that they may have overpaid? 

    Short and long term financial matters

    It can be overwhelming to think of all of their financial or money matters. You may find the checklist below helpful. This is broken down into tasks you might want to do now (short-term tasks) and in the future (longer-term tasks).

    Short term tasks

    • Put a Lasting Power of Attorney in place to ensure appropriate family members are involved in assisting with finances. Read more about Lasting Power of Attorney in the article Plan ahead
    • Make a will, and ensure it is current and complete.
    • Scan and store any legal documents, including passwords and log-in details.
    • Make a list of trusted advisors, such as financial advisor, solicitor.
    • Set up a Direct Debit where possible so all bills are paid on time with minimal hassle.

    Longer-term matters

    • Explore future care options and make plans for needing care in the future.
    • Speak to a financial advisor if appropriate.

    Talking about money‬

    Talking about finances as early as possible is important, but it may be tricky. Carers have told us that it is good to start the conversation sooner rather than later so the person you support can be involved. Below are some tips to start a conversation about their money.

    • Choose a quiet, calm, familiar place to start conversations about money. Be sensitive and keep the conversation low-key.
    • The language you use matters. Reassure the person you support that you have their best interests at heart and avoid saying things that might belittle them.
    • Offer your help as a partnership to ensure they are being cared for and looked after.
    • Be clear and specific and stay on what you want to discuss.
    • Be patient and prepared to raise some of the points discussed in future conversations. You may wish to plan regular check-ins to stay on top of important issues, and bear in mind that the situation may change as dementia progresses.

    Carers share their experiences of supporting people living with dementia to manage their money in this Alzheimer’s Society article

    Fraud and financial abuse

    People with dementia may be at particular risk of fraud and financial abuse.  The Care Act 2014 defines financial abuse as ‘having money or other property stolen, being defrauded, being put under pressure in relation to money or other property, and having money or other property misused.’ 

    HSBC bank have a helpful guide to prevent against financial fraud for people living with dementia. 

    It is helpful to be aware of the risks of fraud and financial abuse, as the signs may be hard to spot. The person you support may struggle to remember the fraud taking place or recall information about it. Some warning signs you may wish to look out for are:

    • Money loss that can’t be explained, such as large amounts of cash being withdrawn or unexpected purchases or activities in bank statements
    • Unusual stress and anxious behaviour around money
    • Notices of unpaid bills and lack of money to pay for essentials when you believe there should be sufficient funds.

    Top Tips to lower fraud risk: 

    1. Online banking: Use online banking to track your money, or the money of the person you support. It can give you an immediate overview into weekly spend, incomes such as pensions or interest, payment of bills and any direct debits. Any unusual activity can be immediately noted, and the issue raised with the bank.
    2. Get known at the local bank: Introduce yourself and the person you support, as some fraudsters can operate by tricking someone to withdrawing large sums of money for them. Many high street banks are dementia-friendly and have safeguards in place, so knowing individual clients is helpful. Santander bank  have produced a guide to  dementia-friendly banking
    1. Make a worst-case scenario action plan: Plan what you would do if you recognise that you or the person you support has been the target of financial fraud. This could include steps such as contacting the bank to notify them of the fraud. You may wish to set up a separate ‘rainy day fund’ in advance so you have money kept aside in case the main account is targeted.
    1. Ensure all financial information is kept properly and securely: To avoid misplacing or losing any important financial documents or information, store this away safely and somewhere only you and the person you support know. Try to do this regularly and keep a check on the documents.
    1. Create a checklist of valuable possessions: You may find it helpful to have a list of all your and their valuable possessions, the value of each item and where it is stored. This will help in identifying quickly if something has been lost or stolen.
    Start your own dementia toolkit
    Clicking here will open the toolkit information page where you can learn how to create your own dementia toolkit.
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    Take action

    Talk to the person you support about money

    Ask the person how they feel about managing their money and if they feel they need support

    Prevent against fraud

    Think about the ways the person you support may be vulnerable to financial fraud. Write down some ideas for preventing this.

    Find out about dementia friendly banking

    Talk to someone at your local branch or look on line to see if your bank has support for people living with dementia