How can I prevent my brother, who has early-onset Alzheimer’s, from giving away his money all the time?

Giving away money is common in individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Whether it is writing checks to various charities or just giving dollar bills to family members, the practice can be very troublesome to caregivers.

You should investigate serving as his durable power of attorney for finances for your brother.

This will enable you to have control over his assets and to monitor how he is spending them.

Allow him to be a part of this decision, if possible, and explain your concerns about organizing and paying the bills. If he is resistant to your assistance, perhaps another family member or friend could talk to him and convince him that giving you power of attorney would be beneficial.

Make notes of the organizations and/or individuals requesting money from him and contact them to remove your brother from their mailing list.

You may have to be persistent and make this request many times before the solicitation eventually stops.

Your brother may have specific groups or organizations that he would like to donate money, so work together with him to assure him that this will be handled. Additionally, make sure his phone number is listed on the Do Not Call registry by calling (888) 382-1222.

You can also assist your brother in his financial transactions by setting up automatic payments for bills that are due on a regular basis. Sorting through his mail to protect him from scams, setting up a post office box to eliminate solicitations and even changing his phone number can all assist in preventing your brother from being a victim of financial abuse or fraud.

You should also limit your brother’s access to credit cards and/or checkbooks. Sometimes it is helpful to give just a small amount of cash to affected individuals as this can ease his/her worry over finances.

A “dummy” checkbook can also be created which your brother could carry with him and write checks to anyone without having to worry about him misusing his funds.

Money means control and being diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s means that this control will someday fade. It is the last bit of independence for affected individuals and careless spending occurs when they want to continually maintain that sense of independence and manage their personal finances.

It is important that you work together with your brother to keep his assets safe and secure.

Questions about Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia disorder? Contact Dana Territo, the Memory Whisperer, Director of Services at Alzheimer’s Services of the Capital Area, (225) 334-7494, advice@alzbr.org, or visit the organization at 3772 North Blvd., Baton Rouge.