February 13, 2018

Care PlanIt’s a sensitive topic to talk about with aging parents, but one that needs to be resolved at some point: a financial care plan. Many adult children are reluctant to ask about their parents’ financial matters until there’s a glaring need, but beginning the dialogue 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 will help:

  • Carefully assess the seniors’ ability to manage finances. It may be extremely difficult for older adults to relinquish 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 assist them to create online accounts, and just plant the seed that you are there for support when it is time to make the transition.
  • Be wary of scams and fraud. Seniors in many cases are targeted in financial fraud and scams, with as many as 1 in 18 seniors impacted every year, according to a current study. Help your elderly loved ones remain educated about trending cons and how to steer clear of them – like never giving out banking, credit card, or any other private information over the telephone to callers who request it, even when the caller claims to be from a professional organization including the IRS or Social Security.
  • Be mindful of family dynamics. Your senior parents should decide about who should take care of their finances if they are no longer able, and each family member should respect and abide by that decision. For the person in charge of finances, it is essential to maintain meticulous records and then to share those with other siblings.
  • Ensure that all legal documentation is in place. Take stock of the seniors’ important papers, such as wills, advance directives, living wills, medical care proxy and power of attorney documents, etc. Hire the services of a legal professional to ensure that all things are in order and put all documents together in a secure location.

It is also beneficial to have a trusted third party, such as a physician, lawyer, or pastor, consult with your senior parents concerning the eventual need to have assistance with financial management before initiating a discussion with them yourself. And be aware that it might take multiple conversations for seniors to start to feel at ease in trusting someone else to handle their finances. Contact St. Louis home health care provider Continuum for additional suggestions or to answer any questions.