December 4, 2019

Senior woman with daughter online purchasing together

Seniors and finances: transitioning to provide help can be a challenge.

One of the hardest issues for the elderly is recognizing the need for help with money matters. Personal finances are both extremely personal and a representation of your self-sufficiency, and adult children specifically are sometimes met with reluctance when stepping in to help with regards to seniors and finances.

Yet for many reasons, such as the ever-increasing frequency of senior scams and cognitive decline, it’s vital that you make certain the financial assets your senior loved ones have attained over time are safe and sound, and that expenditures are paid properly and on time. It’s a concern that should be dealt with delicately and with diplomacy. Consider these tips for an easy transition to assisting a senior loved one with finance management:

  • The first conversation. Approaching a loved one with regard to the need for assistance with finances can be challenging. Keeping respect for the older adult through the entire process is extremely important, making it evident that your intentions are not to “take over,” but to work with the older adult to create a strategy for successfully managing finances.
  • Organizing documents. When you’ve set up a feasible financial plan with your loved one, pull together copies of all relevant documents into one easily-accessible location, including bank/brokerage statements, insurance policies, mortgage/reverse mortgage paperwork, Social Security payments, wills, etc.
  • Accessing accounts. Work with a trusted 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 conduct any other necessary transactions.
  • Include other family members. Regular meetings with other family members who may have a vested involvement in the older adult’s financial matters makes certain everyone is well informed and on the same page, and can assist in preventing future conflict. Designate someone to take notes of all decisions made, and supply each family member 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 becoming Power of Attorney for the older adult, as well as end-of-life decisions, like asset distribution.

If you’re meeting resistance with the issue of seniors and finances, it may help to bring in a reliable third party professional, such as a financial advisor – and sometimes even the older adult’s primary care physician – who can help your loved one comprehend the value of getting financial affairs in order now. You may have to shelve the conversation for a while and revisit the subject down the road.

Contact Continuum, the top providers of home care in St. Louis and the surrounding area, for additional tips to help alleviate difficult conversations with the seniors you love, and to find out more about our dependable in-home care solutions for seniors.