What can I do about my husband with hiding money?

1999 tinkerbell asked...

What do I do about my husband HIDING MONEY?I need answers, I do not know what to do! First it was large sums now it is smaller! I also found he was taking money out of my wallet. I have taken away from him taking care of the money. We talked and he seemed to understand. I knew I gave him $100 the other day, he paid for our dinner and knew he had $73.00 left.We went out again this evening and when he went to pay for the bill he had only $10.00! This morning he had the $73.What he did with $63.00 I have no idea.Did not go any where else. He got very upset with me at the place we were at. I told him it was alright that I would pay for it. I do not know what to do. Do I stop giving him money and how do I handle that? Please I need all the help I can get. I want to talk to him about it but at this time I do not know how. He really got upset!

Expert Answer

Helene Bergman, LMSW, is a certified geriatric care manager (C-ASWCM) and owner of Elder Care Alternatives, a professional geriatric care management business in New York City. She consults with nursing homes and daycare programs to develop specialized programs for Alzheimer's patients.

Maintaining control over ones finances is a struggle for Alzheimer patients especially at early stages of the disease. It represents their sense of self esteem and self determination. They may go to the ATM, remove hundreds of dollars and not remember where they hid it. Without a caregiver, they may go every day and deplete their funds. Caregivers, like yourself, are challenged with the dilemma of how to sustain their spouse's sense of power while protecting their vulnerability. This is a difficult job and there are many options. Since each individual is unique, you need to identify which will work best with your spouse.

Firstly, accept that your spouse will hide money and try to learn his hiding places. This will help you recycle the monies effectively. To avert him taking money from your wallet, keep it either in a locked drawer or away from view. It is always recommended to safely store important papers, medications, and monies and leave items less valuable available to someone with memory loss. Valuable jewelry is replaced with costume jewelry and all credit cards (and insurance cards) are copied and laminated with the original safely put away. The key is not to get into a confrontation about 'lost monies' but instead to anticipate and avert agitation.

When eating out, you can 'discreetly' speak to the waiter and prepay the dinner by giving your credit card. That way when your husband goes to pay, the waiter can just say "paid already" or you can distract him at the time of bill paying. Or before leaving the house, you can 'discreetly' check his wallet and put in an adequate amount of money to cover the bill. If your spouse dines with friends, you can also avoid embarrassment but having them say, "this is on me."

If, as you said, talking about this issue with your spouse upsets him, avoid such discussion and make the adjustments needed without his knowledge. He will be happier to 'be in control' and you will have less stress.