April 3, 2013 3:42 am
"Dealing with finances when you are living with dementia can be a minefield. People in the early stages of the condition often feel locked out of the system, with all the many passwords and personal details they are expected to remember," said Angela Rippon, co-chair of the Dementia Friendly Communities Champion group and Alzheimer's Society ambassador. "When a carer takes over, the pressure of getting to grips with power of attorney and trying to make decisions in the best interests of a loved one can be very stressful."
The following may help you or your loved one living with dementia better organize and plan for their financial well-being.
Top tips for managing money if you are living with dementia
1. Discuss money management with your family - Money can be a difficult subject to talk about but it's important that you plan how you want your finances to be managed if you became unable to look after it yourself.
2. Make sure that all important papers are in order and that you know where to find them. These might include bank statements, mortgage documents, insurance policies, a will, tax and pension details and bills or guarantees.
3. If you have financial assets, such as property or savings, you can set up a trust. This ensures that the assets are managed in a way that you choose, both now and in the future. There are a number of different kinds of trusts and ways of arranging them.
4. Set up a lasting power of attorney (LPA). This enables you to choose someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf about things such as paying bills and collecting income when you no longer want to make those decisions. It's important you set up an LPA early so that you can give your full and informed consent.
5. Speak to the local bank manager. The discussion can look at extra support that may be available as your condition progresses and ways of managing money e.g. using a signature card instead of a PIN number.
Top tips for caregivers managing the money of a person with dementia
1. Make sure your loved one is receiving all the benefits to which they are entitled. Contact your local office of the Department for Work and Pensions or Citizens Advice Bureau to find out exactly what should be being received. As a caregiver, you may also be entitled to benefits such as caregiver's allowance.
2. For some, a joint account may be a useful way of managing finances in the early stages of dementia. However, most joint bank accounts are set up to operate only when both parties have capacity to use it. If a bank knows that someone is acting as a lasting power of attorney, they will usually want a separate bank account for that person.
3. Separating your account when it comes to paying for care it is also advisable. This is because a local authority ought to be means testing the person who is in receipt of the service (e.g. home care or residential care), and no one else.
4. Protect your loved one's finances by stopping junk mail and unwanted telephone calls by signing up to the Mailing and Telephone Preference Services. Put a "no cold callers" sign on the door. These can be obtained from the local trading standards department and will help prevent door-to-door salesmen from visiting.
Source: Alzheimer's Society and Alzheimer Scotland
Published with permission from RISMedia.