It’s a sensitive topic to go over with aging parents, but one that has to be resolved sooner rather than later: finances. Many adult children are reluctant to muddle with parents’ financial matters until there is an obvious need, but starting the discussion before the need provides ample opportunity to ensure all things are in order and get assistance if financial help for seniors seems needed.
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 might help:
- Carefully assess the seniors’ ability to manage finances. It can be very difficult for older adults to let go of 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 assist them to set up online accounts, and simply plant the seed that you’re there for support when it is time to make the transition.
- Be aware of scams and fraud. Older adults tend to be targeted in financial fraud and scams, with as many as 1 in 18 seniors impacted yearly, based on a recently available study. Help your older loved ones remain well-informed about trending scams and exactly how to steer clear of them – such as never giving out banking, bank card, or other personal information over the telephone to callers who request it, even when the caller claims to be from a professional organization like the IRS or Social Security.
- Be aware of family dynamics. Your senior parents should decide about who should take care of their finances when they’re not able, and each and every family member should respect and follow that decision. When it comes to the person responsible for finances, it is important to maintain meticulous records and also to share those with all the siblings.
- Ensure that all legal documentation is in place. Take stock of the seniors’ important paperwork, such as wills, advance directives, living wills, medical care proxy and power of attorney documents, etc. Engage the services of a lawyer to verify that all things are in order and place all documents together in a protected location.
It is also helpful to have a trusted 3rd party, such as a doctor, lawyer, or clergy leader, consult with your senior parents about the eventual need to have help with financial management before starting a discussion with them on your own. And bear in mind that it may take a few conversations for seniors to begin to feel comfortable in trusting someone else to handle their finances. Contact Atlanta Home Care Partners with any questions and for additional suggestions.