Kimberly Palmer of U.S. News & World Report wrote an article on the Alpha Consumer Blog where she discussed these issues. Her reader wrote:
My husband, who is retired, has dementia. He responds to credit card offers in the mail and charges things to them, even though he shouldn’t, because he is on limited Social Security disability income. He knows better, but his mind is weak. He always says he won’t use the cards, but he still does. Even if I cut the cards in half, more come in the mail. We are now in $15,000 of debt, and it continues to rise. How can I get him to stop making charges? Will I be responsible for the debt, even if he passes away before I do?
She offers several solutions including 1- using http://www.optoutprescreen.com/
2- using a credit monitoring service.
3- using a durable power of attorney or guardianship if the person is incapacitated
4- Notifing the credit card companies directly
She also discusses the liability for the wife in the event of the husbands death.