For seniors and their loved ones, conversations about finances and caregiving can be filled with emotion.
Family financial affairs tend to be a forbidden subject, in addition to being the cause of a number of arguments, heightened emotions, and misconceptions. And for a lot of today’s seniors, who maintain a “Depression mentality” from decades of saving for a rainy day and learning to “waste not, want not,” it may be difficult for them to share access to finances with adult children, as well as to accept the necessity to spend some of those personal finances on caregiving needs.
Speaking with an older parent about personal finances is most efficient when initiated before the need occurs, recognizing it could take a number of conversations until an understanding can be reached. These discussion starters will help:
- “Dad, at some point, we are going to have to make some decisions about the future. Now may be a great time to relax together and go over your wishes and the financial side of making sure we are able to abide by those wishes.”
- “Mom, I know you are managing your money just fine now, but what if something were to happen to your overall health that stopped you from paying your bills on time? It would be important to have a backup plan in place. Let’s take a moment and create one.”
- “Mom and Dad, you have always been so good at handling your money and providing for us while we were little. We want to be sure to continue that legacy, and also to understand how best to help both of you meet your financial obligations in the event that the time comes that you’ll require some assistance with that.”
It can also be useful to share real-life situations of a relative or neighbor who was victimized by identity theft, or a story from the news regarding the changing economy, stock market declines, modifications to tax laws, etc. This tends to trigger 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.
First and foremost, make sure to maintain a sense of respect, never attempting to “take over” your parents’ finances, but to supply the reassurance and peace of mind that their financial matters will still be managed effectively. Ask your parents for advice, including 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.”
Relevar Home Care offers an in-home consultation that can help older adults, plus those who love them to discover their options for care, and to help mediate difficult conversations such as those related to finances and caregiving. Reach out to us at 1-888-493-3513 to learn more about our home care services in Macomb County, MI and the surrounding areas.