Can't count change
When it happens
Early moderate-stage dementia
Why it happens
Loss of judgment and a sense of social propriety combine with an inability to accurately identify bills and coins or do the basic math involved with making change.
What you can do
By this stage of dementia, don't allow the person to carry more than a modest amount of money in his or her wallet. Carrying some cash can enhance self-esteem for some people.
Remove credit cards (and other key documents) from wallet.
Don't let the person shop unattended.
Step in casually: "It's on me, Mom." "Here, let me pay for it.""
Use humor to divert attention: "I know you like that toothpaste so much you'd pay a hundred dollars for it, Dad. But don't you think a five is enough?" (and take the five).
Use flattery to deflect the awkwardness of the situation: "You're so generous you'd give away all your money if you could, wouldn't you? But maybe not today."