February 12, 2018 by
It’s a sensitive topic to go over with aging parents, but one which has to be resolved sooner rather than later: finances. Many adult children are reluctant to ask about their parents’ financial matters until there is a desperate need, but initiating 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 might help:
- Carefully assess the seniors’ ability to control finances. It may be extremely difficult for older adults to relinquish responsibility for 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 create online accounts, and simply plant the seed that you’re there to assist when it is time to make the transition.
- Be aware of scams and fraud. Seniors tend to be targeted in financial fraud and scams, with as many as 1 in 18 seniors impacted annually, according to a recent study. Help your elderly loved ones remain well-informed about trending online scams and just how to prevent them – such as never giving out banking, bank card, or any other information that is personal over the phone to callers who request it, even in the event the caller claims to be from an established organization such as the IRS or Social Security.
- Be mindful of family dynamics. Your senior parents should make the decision about who should handle their finances if they are not able, and each and every family member should respect and adhere to that decision. For the person in charge of finances, it is crucial to have meticulous records and then to share those with the other siblings.
- Ensure that all legal documentation is in place. Take stock of the seniors’ 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 confirm that all things are in order and place all documents together in a secure location.
It can also be useful to have a reliable 3rd party, such as a physician, lawyer, or pastor, talk to your senior parents concerning the eventual need for help with financial management before initiating a discussion with them yourself. And be aware that it may take several conversations for seniors to begin to feel comfortable in trusting somebody else to manage their finances. Contact the Syracuse elderly care experts at At Home Independent Living with any questions and for additional suggestions.