It’s a sensitive topic to go over with aging parents, but one which needs to be resolved at some point: a financial care plan. Many adult children are reluctant to step into their parents’ financial matters until there is an obvious need, but beginning the discussion ahead of the need provides ample opportunity to ensure everything is 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 really help:
- Carefully assess the seniors’ ability to handle finances. It could be extremely difficult for older adults to let go of responsibility with their finances to an adult child, but can be made easier by starting small. Sit with your parents as they write out bills, offer to assist them to create online accounts, and simply plant the seed that you’re there to help when it is the time to make the transition.
- Stay alert to scams and fraud. Seniors in many cases are targeted for financial fraud and scams, with as many as 1 in 18 seniors impacted each year, based on a recent study. Help your elderly loved ones remain educated about trending scams and how to steer clear of them – like never giving out banking, credit card, or other information that is personal over the telephone to callers who request it, even though the caller claims to be from a reputable organization like the IRS or Social Security.
- Be aware of family dynamics. Your senior parents should make the decision about who should manage their finances when they are not able, and each family member should respect and comply with that decision. When it comes to the person in charge of finances, it’s essential to have meticulous records and also to share those with all the siblings.
- Be sure that all legal documentation is in place. Take stock of your parents’ important papers, such as wills, advance directives, living wills, health care proxy and power of attorney documents, etc. Hire the services of a lawyer to ensure that everything is in order and place all documents together in a secure location.
It is also beneficial to have a dependable 3rd party, such as a physician, lawyer, or pastor, consult with your senior parents concerning the eventual need to have help with a financial care plan before initiating a discussion with them yourself. And be aware that it could take more than one conversation for seniors to begin to feel comfortable in trusting somebody else to manage their finances. Contact home care agency, Home Matters, with any questions or for additional suggestions.