It’s a sensitive topic to discuss with aging parents, but one that needs to be resolved at some point: senior finance concerns. Many adult children are reluctant to muddle with parents’ financial matters until there’s a desperate need, but opening the discussion ahead of the need provides ample chance to ensure all things are in order and any senior finance concerns are addressed.
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 could be extremely difficult for older adults to give up responsibility for their finances to an adult child, but can be made easier by starting small. Sit together with your parents as they write out bills, offer to assist them to establish online accounts, and simply plant the seed that you’re there to help when it is time to make the transition.
- Stay alert to scams and fraud. Older adults are often targeted in senior finance fraud and scams, with as much as 1 in 18 seniors impacted annually, according to a recently available study. Help your elderly loved ones remain well-informed about trending cons and just how to avoid them – like never giving out banking, credit card, or other private information over the telephone to callers who request it, regardless if the caller claims to be from a professional organization such as the IRS or Social Security.
- Be mindful of family dynamics. Your senior parents should make the decision about who should handle their finances when they are not able, and each and every member of the family should respect and follow that decision. For the person responsible for finances, it’s essential to maintain meticulous records and also to share those with all the siblings.
- Be sure that all legal documentation is within place. Take stock of your parents’ important paperwork, like wills, advance directives, living wills, health care proxy and power of attorney documents, etc. Enlist the services of a lawyer to confirm that all things are in order and place all documents together in a secure location.
It is also beneficial to have a reliable third party, such as a doctor, lawyer, or pastor, talk to your senior parents in regards to the eventual need to have advice about financial management before initiating a discussion with them yourself. And keep in mind it may take a few conversations for older adults to begin to feel comfortable in trusting somebody else to handle their senior finance needs. Contact the St. Joseph home care team at Home Sweet Home In-Home Care with any questions or for additional suggestions.