One of the most challenging obstacles as we get older is acknowledging the need for help with money management. Personal finances are both extremely personal and a representation of our independence. Adult children are sometimes met with opposition when stepping into the financial arena with regards to senior parents and their financial management.
Nonetheless, for many different reasons, for instance the mounting incidence of senior scams and cognitive decline, it’s essential to make sure that the financial assets our loved ones have acquired through the years are protected, and that bills are paid properly and on time. It’s a dilemma that must be handled delicately and with diplomacy. Try these strategies for an easy transition to assisting a senior loved one with monetary management:
- The first conversation. Approaching a loved one concerning the need for assistance with personal finances can be daunting. Keeping respect for the senior during the process is essential, making it clear that your motives are not to “take over,” but to work together with the individual to develop an approach for thoroughly and accurately managing finances.
- Organizing documents. Once you’ve set up a workable financial plan together with your loved one, assemble copies of all important documents into one conveniently-accessible location, 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 family members. Regular meetings with other family who may have a vested interest in the older adult’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 present each member of the family with a copy.
- Planning for the future. As your loved one’s health or cognitive ability change in the future, it’s going to be important to have a strategy in place for additional action that may be needed, such as the need for a Power of Attorney, as well as for end-of-life decisions and asset distribution.
If the senior is resistant to your help with his or her finances, it can sometimes help to bring in a trusted third-party professional, such as a financial advisor – and even the senior’s primary care physician – who can help the individual understand the value of getting financial affairs in order now. You may have to shelve the discussion in the short-term and revisit the subject down the road.
Contact JFS Care at (213) 383-2273 for additional tips to help alleviate challenging conversations with the older adults you love, and to learn more about our dependable in-home elder care solutions. Our qualified professionals can support a wide range of home health care in Burbank and surrounding areas; see our full service area. Contact us today for a free, in-home consultation.