Financial management help for seniors is a sensitive topic, but one that should be resolved at some point, preferably sooner rather than later. Many adult children are reluctant to muddle with parents’ financial matters until there’s an obvious need, but starting the conversation before the need provides ample opportunity to ensure all things are 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 manage finances. It can be extremely difficult for older adults to relinquish responsibility with 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 are there to assist when it’s the time to make the transition.
- Stay alert to scams and fraud. Older adults in many cases are targeted in financial fraud and scams, with as much as 1 in 18 seniors impacted yearly, based on a current study. Help your elderly loved ones remain educated about trending online scams and how to avoid them – such as never giving out banking, bank card, or other private information over the telephone to callers who request it, even though the caller claims to be from a professional organization like the IRS or Social Security.
- Be aware of family dynamics. Your senior parents should decide about who should handle their finances when they’re not able, and every single family member should respect and comply with that decision. For the person accountable for finances, it’s essential to keep meticulous records and also to share those with the other siblings.
- Be sure that all legal documentation is within place. Take stock of the seniors’ important paperwork, like wills, advance directives, living wills, medical care proxy and power of attorney documents, etc. Hire the services of legal counsel to ensure that everything is in order and put all documents together in a safe location.
It is also helpful to have a trusted alternative party, such as for example a health care provider, lawyer, or pastor, speak with your elderly parents about the eventual need to have advice about financial management before initiating a discussion with them yourself. And keep in mind it might take a few conversations for seniors to start to feel comfortable in trusting someone else to handle their finances. Contact North River Home Care’s Boston senior home care experts with any questions and for additional suggestions.