How to Approach Money Management Issues With Seniors
Among the most difficult obstacles for older adults is recognizing the need for help with financial matters. Finances are both extremely personal and a representation of your autonomy, and adult children specifically can often be met with opposition when stepping into this arena when suspecting money management issues with seniors.
However, for a number of reasons, including the ever-increasing incidence of senior scams and cognitive decline, it’s essential to make sure that the financial assets our senior loved ones have acquired through the years are safeguarded, and that bills are paid correctly and on time. It’s an issue that needs to be taken care of delicately and with diplomacy. Try these strategies for an easy transition to assisting a loved one with monetary management:
- The introductory conversation. Approaching the senior about the need for help with finances can be daunting. Keeping respect for the senior throughout the process is essential, making it obvious that your motives are not to “take over,” but to work with the older adult to generate an approach for effectively managing finances.
- Organizing documents. When you’ve established a viable financial plan with your loved one, gather copies of all important documents into one easily-accessible place, including bank/brokerage statements, insurance plans, mortgage/reverse mortgage paperwork, Social Security payments, wills, etc.
- Accessing accounts. Work with an established and dependable 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 perform any other necessary transactions.
- Including other members of the family. Regular meetings with other family members who may have a vested involvement with the senior’s financial matters helps ensure everyone is up to date and on the same page, and can help prevent future conflict. Designate someone to take notes about any decisions made, and provide each member of the family with a copy.
- Planning for the future. As your loved one’s health or cognitive ability change over time, it will likely be important to have a strategy in place for additional action that may be needed, such as becoming Power of Attorney for the older adult, and for end-of-life decisions, such as asset distribution.
If the senior is resistant to your advice about his/her finances, it may help to bring in a reliable third party professional, such as a financial advisor – and even the senior’s primary care physician – who can help your loved one comprehend the importance of getting financial affairs in order now. You may also need to shelve the conversation for a little while and revisit the topic later.
Contact Hired Hands Homecare, the leaders in Alzheimer’s care in Santa Rosa, CA and the surrounding areas, for additional tips to help alleviate challenging conversations with the seniors you love, and to learn more about our trusted in-home care solutions for seniors.