Aging/Gerontology, Social Work/Helping Profession/Mental Health

Alzheimer’s ‘Checkbook’- A Creative Solution

When a loved one develops Alzheimer’s, the diagnosis can be devastating for both the one afflicted and the family. The progression of the disease is different for each individual, and the tasks one is able to manage or take part in is different from person to person as is the reaction and involvement of the family in taking over tasks. This is when creative solutions to what could be a ‘sticky’ situation are needed to ensure the one with the disease feels they are still contributing members of society.

One article I came across discusses one such solution. The article describes one family creating the ‘phony’ checkbook to lessen the stress that this task was causing to all members involved. In this situation, one daughter became the financial Power of Attorney and in the transition phase, anxiety was invoked due to errors and discrepancies noted that the mother had made over time, along with the frustration the mother voiced and felt in having someone else take over her finances. In a last effort to improve the functioning and outcome of this task for all, the family developed the ‘phony’ checkbook, in which the mother was able to do her finances on ‘closed’ checks, the daughter was able to assist while not correcting, and the bills were still paid.

Creative solutions such as this can reduce frustration and stress, promote validation, allow for the family to ‘just be’ with the parent who has Alzheimer’s and reduce the feeling/need of constant correction or trying to prove a point with one who cognitively cannot understand due to the disease.

Written by Victoria Brewster, MSW

*First posted at: http://www.socialjusticesolutions.org/2013/04/03/alzheimers-checkbook/