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Discussing Personal Finances With A Senior Loved One: Tips For Success

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Learn tips to have productive discussions about personal finances with a senior loved one.

Amongst the hardest decisions for older adults is accepting the need for help with financial matters. Personal finances are both exceedingly personal and a representation of your independence, and adult children, in many cases, are met with resistance when stepping into the financial arena with regards to senior parents.

Nevertheless, for a number of reasons, including the ever-growing incidence of senior scams and cognitive decline, it is essential to make certain that the resources our senior loved ones have acquired over the years are safe and sound, and that bills are paid correctly and on time. It is an issue which should be managed delicately and with diplomacy. Consider these tips for a simple transition to helping a senior loved one with manage their personal finances:

  • The first conversation. Approaching a senior loved one with the need for assistance with personal finances can cause some anxiety. Maintaining respect for the older adult throughout the process is very important, making it clear that your intentions are not to “take over,” but to work alongside the senior to produce a plan for successfully managing finances.
  • Organizing documents. Once you’ve established a feasible financial plan with your loved one, round up copies of all relevant documents into one easily-accessible location, including bank/brokerage statements, insurance plans, mortgage/reverse mortgage paperwork, Social Security payments, wills, etc.
  • Accessing accounts. Work with an established and reliable financial planner or elder law attorney to get access to your loved one’s financial accounts to enable you to write checks on his/her behalf and facilitate any other necessary transactions.
  • Include other members of the family. Regular meetings with other members of the family who may have a vested interest in the older adult’s financial matters ensures everyone is well informed and on the same page, and may help alleviate problems with future conflicts. Designate someone to take notes of every decision made, and present each family member with a copy.
  • Planning for the future. As a senior loved one’s health or cognitive ability change over time, it’s going to be important to have an agenda 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, including asset distribution.

If the older adult is resistant to your advice about his / her finances, it can sometimes help to bring in a reliable third party professional, such as a financial advisor – and sometimes even the senior’s primary care physician – who’s able to help the senior grasp the value of getting financial affairs in order now. You may also want to shelve the conversation for a little bit and revisit the subject later.

Contact Relevar Home Care at 1-888-493-3513 for additional resources and suggestions to help alleviate difficult conversations with the seniors you adore, and also to find out more about our trusted Macomb County in-home care solutions for older adults.