It’s a sensitive topic to discuss with aging parents, but one that should be resolved at some point: finances. Many adult children are hesitant to muddle with parents’ financial matters until there is a glaring need, but starting up the discussion ahead of 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 could be extremely difficult for older adults to release responsibility with their finances to an adult child, but can be made easier by starting small. Sit with your parents while they write out bills, offer to help them establish online accounts, and merely plant the seed that you are there to assist when it’s time to make the transition.
- Be aware of fraud and scams. Older adults in many cases are targeted in financial fraud and scams, with as many as 1 in 18 seniors impacted each year, based on a current study. Help your elderly loved ones remain informed about trending online scams and how to steer clear of them – such as never giving out banking, credit card, or any other private information over the telephone to callers who request it, even though the caller claims to be from a reputable organization including the IRS or Social Security.
- Be aware of family dynamics. Your senior parents should make the decision about who should manage their finances if they are not able, and each family member should respect and abide by that decision. For the person responsible for finances, it is important to have meticulous records and then to share those with all the siblings.
- Ensure that all legal documentation is in place. Take stock of the seniors’ important documents, such as wills, advance directives, living wills, medical care proxy and power of attorney documents, etc. Engage the services of a legal professional to confirm that everything is in order and put all documents together in a safe location.
It can also be beneficial to have a dependable third party, such as a health care provider, lawyer, or clergy leader, consult with your senior parents about the eventual need for help with financial management before initiating a discussion with them yourself. And be aware that it might take more than one conversation for seniors to begin to feel safe in trusting someone else to manage their finances. Providing home care in southern Oregon, contact All Care In-Home Care Solutions with any questions.