It’s a sensitive topic to talk about with aging parents, but one which needs to be resolved sooner rather than later: financial management for seniors. Many adult children are reluctant to ask about their parents’ financial matters until there’s a desperate need, but beginning the conversation before the need provides ample chance 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 can help:
- Carefully assess the seniors’ ability to handle finances. It may be extremely difficult for older adults to give up responsibility for their finances to an adult child, but could be made easier by starting small. Sit together with your parents while they write out bills, offer to help them set up online accounts, and simply plant the seed that you are there to help when it’s the moment to make the transition.
- Stay alert to scams and fraud. Older adults tend to be targeted in financial fraud and scams, with as many as 1 in 18 seniors impacted every year, according to a current study. Help your older loved ones remain educated about trending scams and how to steer clear of them – like never giving out banking, bank card, or any other personal information over the phone to callers who request it, regardless of when the caller claims to be from a reputable organization such as the IRS or Social Security.
- Be mindful of family dynamics. Your senior parents should make the decision about who should take care of their finances if they are no longer able, and every family member should respect and abide by that decision. When it comes to the person accountable for finances, it’s essential to have meticulous records and also to share those with the other siblings.
- Be sure that all legal documentation is in place. Take stock of your parents’ important documents, such as wills, advance directives, living wills, medical care proxy and power of attorney documents, etc. Engage the services of a lawyer to ensure that everything is in order and put all documents together in a protected location.
It can also be helpful to have a reliable alternative party, such as a health care provider, lawyer, or clergy leader, speak with your parents first regarding the need to have advice about financial management for seniors before beginning a discussion with them yourself. And be aware that it could take a few conversations for seniors to start to feel at ease in trusting someone else to control their finances. Contact JFS Care, provider of elder care in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas, to learn more about our services. Click here to view our full service area.