Tips for Helping an Aging Parent With Finances

discussing senior finances
Often, part of family caregiving involves helping an aging parent with finances, and these tips can help reduce resistance.

Often, part of family caregiving involves helping an aging parent with finances, and these tips can help reduce resistance.

Helping an aging parent with finances is an important part of caregiving. Since most older adults have spent years managing their own finances, it can be a delicate subject to broach, even if there are signs that indicate some assistance is needed. Maybe you noticed that Mom forgot to pay a few bills, or an extravagant purchase has left you wondering if Dad is spending his money wisely. Or perhaps a recent dementia diagnosis has left the family questioning when they should step in to help out with finances. Whatever the case, the following tips can help an older loved one overcome reluctance when it comes to accepting assistance with finances.

Respect where they are and work with them to make smart decisions. If your loved one is still capable of managing finances on their own, respect their decisions and offer assistance instead of taking over. For example, if a few bills have slipped through the cracks, offer to help set up calendar reminders to ensure they are paid on time. For older adults who have dementia or other cognitive impairments, you may need to take over more responsibility. Work with other members of the family to come to a good solution on how to move forward.

Track down important documents. To ensure that finances and other assets are in order, it is important to know where to locate important documents if an older loved one were to become incapacitated. Giving out access to important financial records can make people feel vulnerable. Reassure older loved ones that the access to these documents is only for emergency situations.

Important documents to locate include:

  • Wills
  • Bank statements
  • Home mortgage paperwork
  • Titles to cars and other vehicles
  • Insurance policies
  • Social Security paperwork
  • Pension records
  • Access to safe deposit boxes

Get access to bank accounts. To protect their clients’ security, banks have strict rules about who can access accounts. Because of this, withdrawing money or writing checks on an older adult’s account requires advanced planning. A power of attorney is often needed and some banks require their own paperwork in order to grant access to a family member’s account. Work with an older loved one and their bank to determine what paperwork and documentation are needed so that in an emergency, you’ll have access to the account in order to pay bills.

Communicate with family. Managing another person’s finances can cause suspicions, particularly from other family members. When it comes to managing money, having everyone on the same page can help to prevent conflicts. Hold a family meeting and discuss who will have access to the senior’s financial information and how money will be used. Also, keep receipts and records of expenses to share with family members to ensure that everyone knows how the senior’s money is being spent.

Make a plan for the future. A will is an essential document for a person at any age, but in particular for an older adult. If your loved one does not yet have a will, encourage them to work with an attorney to have one drawn up. Additionally, having a power of attorney set up can help you or other family members make important financial and legal decisions on behalf of the senior in the event of a medical emergency or decline in health.

At Jewish Family Home Care, we understand that in addition to helping older adults manage their finances, there are many other care needs that must be met. As the leading Sunrise home health agency, providing care throughout the surrounding areas, we offer a variety of in-home care services that provide family caregivers with much needed respite and help older adults remain independent and engaged in life. To learn all about the many ways we can help, reach out to us today at 954-908-5677 to schedule a complimentary consultation.