It’s a sensitive topic to talk about when it comes to helping elderly parents, but one that needs to be resolved at some point: finances. Many adult children are hesitant to muddle with parents’ financial matters until there is a glaring need, but starting the dialogue prior to the need provides ample opportunity to ensure everything is in order.
Amy Goyer of AARP shares, “One of the first things seniors tend to struggle with as they age is keeping up with their personal business.” These tactics might help:
- Carefully assess the seniors’ ability to control finances. It could be extremely difficult for older adults to release responsibility for their finances to an adult child, but could be made easier by starting small. Sit with your parents while they write out bills, offer to help them establish online accounts, and simply plant the seed that you’re there to aid when it is time to make the transition.
- Stay alert to scams and fraud. Older adults in many cases are targeted in financial fraud and scams, with at least 1 in 18 seniors impacted annually, according to a recently available study. Help your elderly loved ones remain educated about trending online scams and how to steer clear of them – like never giving out banking, bank card, or any other private information over the phone to callers who request it, even if the caller claims to be from an established organization such as the IRS or Social Security.
- Be mindful of family dynamics. Your senior parents should decide about who should manage their finances when they are no longer able, and each and every family member should respect and comply with that decision. When it comes to the person accountable for finances, it is important to keep meticulous records and to share those with the other siblings.
- Be sure that all legal documentation is in place. Take stock of your parents’ important papers, like wills, advance directives, living wills, health care proxy and power of attorney documents, etc. Engage the services of an attorney to verify that everything is in order and put all documents together in a protected location.
It’s also helpful to have a reliable alternative party, like a health care provider, lawyer, or clergy leader, talk to your elderly parents concerning the eventual need to have advice about financial management before initiating a discussion with them on your own. And bear in mind that it could take a few conversations for seniors to begin to feel safe in trusting somebody else to handle their finances. Click here to contact Heaven at Home Senior Care in the Dallas metro area with any questions or for additional suggestions.