Managing your money
People with working age dementia and their partners are more likely to have ongoing financial commitments, such as a mortgage, credit card, personal loans, or other forms of credit. There may also be children who are financially dependent. Living with dementia may lead to less income which could create pressure keeping up with financial commitments. If you are worried about your finances, consider getting money advice as soon as possible. Do not ignore letters if you get into difficulties, explain your circumstances and seek advice or ask someone you trust to do this for you.
There are a number of ways you can get help to manage money. It pays to make decisions in advance so you know things are being handled the way you want them to be. Set up standing orders for all your regular bills such as gas, electricity, rent or mortgage to save yourself the trouble of having to remember to pay them, or ask your bank or building society to do this for you. If you do not feel able to manage your finances, consider asking someone close to you who you trust to help.
Dementia can sometimes change the way people behave with money, like starting to spend compulsively or gamble, or make them more vulnerable to internet and other scams. It is possible to have limits set on bank accounts to manage withdrawals. You, or someone who supports you, may find it helpful to keep a record of what goes in and out of your account. Between you, make a note of the money you take out, payments for bills and any regular income so you have a clear record. If you have any concerns about your ability to manage your money, it is advisable to speak to your bank.
Joint bank accounts
You and your partner may already have a joint account. They allow you both to access money and make payments, usually without needing the other's signature. If you do not have one, you can speak to your bank about getting one set up. It will enable you both to have the same access to the account. However, in the longer term you are advised to set in place a Power of Attorney to avoid any issues arising over the use of a joint banking facility. Financial advisor, Clive Barwell, gives more detailed advice here.
It may also be beneficial to have a separate account if one of you requires paid-for care. This is because the local authority will means-test the person who is receiving the service. Separate accounts make the process much simpler.
My husband Steve has frontotemporal dementia. He spent our life savings of £20,000 over a couple of years on scratch cards, the Lottery and obsessive smoking. These were very difficult times but they have passed. Life goes on.
Chip and sign card
You might have trouble remembering the PIN numbers for your credit or debit card, or problems with your vision might make it difficult to see the numbers on the keypad. If you do, you can apply for a chip and sign card.
All banks offer a chip and sign card and all retailers who take card payments accept them. If you have difficulties signing your name, you could also talk to your bank about getting a rubber stamp of your signature. Download the Pay Your Way leaflet on chip and sign cards.
Contactless debit or credit cards are another useful option allowing a person to pay for items by touching the card on a card reader, without the need to type in a PIN number or sign. Some mobile phone apps work in a similar way.
The Money Advice Service
Tel 0300 500 5000. Free and impartial money advice.
The Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA)
A not-for-profit organisation that helps people aged 50+ to find financial advisers who can advise about long term care funding, pensions, investments, savings and tax planning.