April 21, 2020 by Dean Bellefeuille

Senior finance conversations can lead to a variety of arguments, heightened emotions, and misunderstandings. And for many of today’s seniors, who maintain a “Depression mentality” from years of saving for a rainy day and learning to “waste not, want not,” it can be hard for them to share access to finances with adult children, and to accept the need to spend some of those finances on caregiving needs. 

Talking with an aging parent about finances is most effective when started before the need arises, understanding it may take several conversations before an agreement can be reached. These conversation starters can help: 

  • “Dad, in time, we’re going to need to make some decisions about the future. Now might be a good time to sit down together and go over your wishes and the financial side of making sure we can abide by those wishes.” 
  • “Mom, I know you’re managing your finances just fine now, but what if something were to happen to your health that prevented you from paying your bills on time? It would be good to have a backup plan in place. Let’s sit down and come up with one.” 
  • “Mom and Dad, you’ve always been so good at managing your finances and providing for us while we were growing up. We want to be sure to continue that legacy, and to understand how best to help you both meet your financial obligations if the time comes that you need some assistance with that.” 

It can also be helpful to share real-life scenarios of a friend or neighbor who was victimized by identity theft, or a story from the news about the changing economy, stock market drops, changes to tax laws, etc. This can jumpstart a discussion about your aging parents’ own retirement plans and any financial fears for the future, allowing you to come to a mutually agreeable resolution, such as talking with a financial advisor together.   

Most importantly, be sure to maintain a sense of respect, never attempting to “take over” your parents’ finances, but to provide the reassurance and peace of mind that their financial matters will continue to be managed effectively. Ask your parents for advice and include them in the decision-making process. Daniel Lash, certified financial planner at VLP Financial Advisors, suggests, “Tell them what you’re thinking about doing so you give them the power to tell you what they think you should do. It’s like they’re giving you advice because that’s what parents are good at – giving advice.” 

At Home Independent Living, the top providers of elder care in Syracuse, NY and the surrounding area, offers a free in-home consultation to help older adults and the families who love them understand their options for care, and to help mediate difficult conversations such as those related to senior finance concerns. Contact us at (315) 579-HOME (4663for assistance.  


 December 4, 2019 by Dean Bellefeuille

One of the hardest challenges for older adults is accepting the need for help with financial matters. Finances are both highly personal and a representation of our independence, and adult children in particular are often met with resistance when attempting to help aging parents with finances. (more…)


 January 8, 2019 by Dean Bellefeuille

A simple Google search for the word “aging” produces topics such as “coping with aging,” “what you can do about aging,” as well as “the cure to aging.” The pessimistic connotations to growing older are, sadly, so deep-rooted in our culture that it is expected that by 2021, we will be spending over $300 billion in anti-aging merchandise. (more…)


 October 24, 2018 by Dean Bellefeuille

Oftentimes, families make the assumption that so long as their senior loved one is covered by Medicare, covering the cost for care at home is not an issue they need to give consideration to. Regrettably, however, this is a prevalent misconception. As we shared in a previous blog post, most people use private funds to cover the cost for care at home. There are several possibilities to investigate though for veterans and their spouses. As the top experts in home care in Syracuse NY, At Home Independent Living outlines the facts to help those who have served in the military to acquire all of the resources available to them to cover the cost for care at home.

First to consider is the Veterans’ Aid and Attendance program, which aids wartime veterans and/or their spouses in paying for care at home, as long as they meet the distinct qualifications required to receive these benefits. The person applying must:

  • Have received an honorable or general discharge
  • Have physician’s orders stating he or she is in need of the aid and assistance of others daily
  • Meet specific financial criteria
  • Have served one day during an active war and had no less than 90 days of service
  • Be the surviving spouse of a veteran to obtain spousal benefits

Certain veterans may also qualify for Housebound to cover the cost for their home care services. Housebound is a benefit that is paid in addition to a monthly pension. Veterans who qualify for Housebound benefits:

  • Have a single permanent disability that has been assessed as 100 percent disabling AND, due to such disability, the veteran is permanently and substantially confined to his or her home, OR,
  • He or she has one single permanent disability assessed as 100 percent disabling AND, yet another disability, or disabilities, assessed as 60 percent or more disabling.

Legal guidelines state that veterans cannot receive both Aid and Attendance and Housebound benefits together, and they must be receiving a monthly pension in order to meet the requirements for either one of these additional benefits.

If you’d like to find out if your senior loved one may qualify for Veterans’ Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits, the professionals in home care in Syracuse NY at At Home Independent Living are always available to work with you to look into all your options for funding the in-home senior care your loved one needs. You can reach us at (315) 579-HOME (4663) or contact us online to learn more about our services and the help available to veterans for paying for care at home.


 October 9, 2018 by Dean Bellefeuille

It’s safe to assume that at some point your aging parents will have the need for a little extra support in order to continue to be safe and independent, and if they’re similar to the significant majority of older adults, they prefer to age in place at home. The first concern that normally arises is how to pay for in home care services. The Syracuse elderly home care team at At Home Independent Living hears this question often, and we have the answers you need. (more…)


 July 19, 2018 by Dean Bellefeuille

Solo agers. It’s the new term being passed around to describe the baby boomer without children. This strong and self-reliant genre faces some unique issues in aging, particularly who to designate as guardian and decision-maker if they become unable to do so themselves. In her book, Essential Retirement Planning for Solo Agers, author Sara Zeff Geber, Ph.D. outlines several options to consider:

  1. Sift through your support system. Usually, a solo ager’s spouse would be the natural option for guardianship and also to make critical decisions related to medical care; however, it’s worthwhile to have at least one and preferably two younger alternative options. Give some thought to siblings and their children, good friends, and neighbors, taking into account whether or not each person holds matching values and is also someone you are able to fully trust to help make decisions according to your wishes.
  2. Hire a qualified professional guardian. Professional guardians, also called private guardians or professional fiduciaries, are becoming increasingly popular for solo agers. If interested in this option, it’s crucial that you interview several candidates to make certain they’ve got the required experience and knowledge, and don’t forget to request references. Check with your attorney for recommendations, or the National Guardianship Association or Professional Fiduciary Association in your state.
  3. Accept a court-appointed guardian. If a solo ager hasn’t already selected a guardian and is suddenly not able to make care-related and/or financial decisions, a probate court will designate a guardian to handle his or her affairs.

If you are checking out potential guardians, collect answers to questions such as:

  • How long have you been in practice?
  • Have you been certified by the National Guardian Association?
  • Are you bonded and insured?
  • What is the succession plan if you predecease me?
  • Are background checks performed on all of your employees?
  • What is your understanding of the specific health conditions I’m facing?
  • What are your fees, and just how often will I be billed?

Once your guardian option is determined, ensure that your attorney updates your existing (or creates a fresh) durable power of attorney or advance medical care directive, will, and durable power of attorney for finances.

For more assistance in planning for long-term care needs, including home care in Syracuse NY, get in touch with the elder care professionals from At Home Independent Living. We are able to partner with seniors to produce a plan of care to ensure that needs are fully met now and can continue to be met effectively as needs change in the future, always in accordance with each individual’s wishes. Contact us at (315) 579-HOME (4663) to find out more.