Senior Finances: The Emotional Issue of Money and Caregiving
Family financial matters are oftentimes a taboo subject, and in addition, the root of many different controversies, heightened emotions, and misunderstandings. And for a number of today’s older adults, who maintain a “Depression era mentality” from many years of saving for a rainy day and learning to “waste not, want not,” it may be hard for them to grant access to finances to adult children, and to acknowledge the necessity to spend some of those personal finances on caregiving needs.
Talking with an aging parent about finances is most efficient when begun before the need arises, appreciating it might take numerous discussions before an understanding can be reached. These conversation starters can certainly help:
- “Dad, at some point, we have to make some choices in regards to the future. Now might be a good time to for us to sit together and go over your wishes and the financial side of making sure we are able to make those wishes happen.”
- “Mom, I know you’re managing your money just fine now, but what if something were to happen to your overall health that stopped you from paying your bills on time? It would be beneficial to have a backup plan in place. Let’s take a moment and devise one.”
- “Mom and Dad, you’ve always been so good at handling your finances and providing for us while we were little. We would like to be sure to carry on that legacy, and to know how best to help the two of you meet your monetary obligations in the event that the time comes that you might want some assistance with that.”
It’s also helpful to share real-life scenarios of a relative or neighbor who was victimized by identity theft, or a story from the news with regards to the ever-changing economy, stock market declines, adjustments to tax laws, etc. This might jumpstart a conversation regarding your aging parents’ own retirement plans and any financial fears for the future, enabling you to come to a mutually agreeable solution, for example, speaking with a financial advisor together.
Above all, be sure to uphold a feeling of respect, never seeking to “take over” your parents’ finances, but to supply the reassurance and peace of mind that their financial matters will continue to be managed effectively. Ask your parents for guidance including them in the decision-making process. Daniel Lash, certified financial planner at VLP Financial Advisors, suggests, “Tell them what you’re thinking about doing so you give them the power to tell you what they think you should do. It’s like they’re giving you advice because that’s what parents are good at – giving advice.”
Hired Hands Homecare offers an in-home consultation to assist seniors and their families in figuring out their options for care, and to help mediate complicated conversations like those related to senior finances. Contact us at (866) 940-4343 for help and support, and to learn more about our top-rated senior care in Santa Rosa, CA and the surrounding communities.