Amongst the most difficult issues for senior loved ones is acknowledging the need for assistance with financial matters. Personal finances are both highly personal and a representation of your autonomy, and adult children in particular are often met with opposition when stepping in to assist with money management for seniors.
Nevertheless for a variety of reasons, such as the ever-increasing occurrence of senior scams and cognitive decline, it’s vital that you ensure that the financial assets senior loved ones have attained over the years are protected, and that bills are paid correctly and on time. It’s an issue which needs to be handled delicately and with diplomacy. Try these strategies for a simple transition to helping a loved one with monetary management:
- The first conversation. Approaching a loved one concerning the importance of help with personal finances can be overwhelming. Maintaining respect for the senior through the process is essential, making it clear that your motives are not to “take over,” but to work together with the senior to generate a strategy for successfully managing finances.
- Organizing documents. As soon as you’ve established a feasible financial plan with your loved one, round up copies of all relevant documents into one easily-accessible place, including bank/brokerage statements, insurance policies, mortgage/reverse mortgage paperwork, Social Security payments, wills, etc.
- Accessing accounts. Work with a trustworthy financial planner or elder law attorney to obtain access to your loved one’s financial accounts to enable you to write checks on his/her behalf and carry out any other necessary transactions.
- Including other members of the family. Frequent meetings with other members of the family who may have a vested interest in the older adult’s financial matters ensures everyone is well informed and on the same page, and can help alleviate problems with future conflict. Identify someone to take notes about any decisions made, and present each member of the family with a copy.
- Planning for the future. As your loved one’s health or cognitive ability change with time, it becomes important to have an agenda in place for additional action that could be needed, such as becoming Power of Attorney for the older adult, as well as end-of-life decisions, such as asset distribution.
If the senior is resistant to your help with his or her finances, it may sometimes help to bring in a dependable third party professional, such as a financial advisor – or even the senior’s primary care physician – who can help your parent be aware of the value of getting financial affairs in order now. You may also want to shelve the discussion for a while and revisit this issue at a later time.
Contact CareWorks Health Services, providers of home care Huntington Beach and the surrounding areas depend on, at (949) 859-4700 for additional strategies to help ease challenging conversations about money management for seniors, and to find out about our trusted in-home care solutions for older adults.