While we wish it were not the case, one subject that can be stressful for seniors and their family members or caregivers is money. From the simple fact that emergencies happen more often as we age to the reality that tracking various bills and finances can be complex, there are a number of potential stresses here.
At Cozy Retire, we offer numerous senior care services in our assisted living community, including numerous personal care areas – but also assistance with many other broad themes that seniors face, including stress from their finances. If you’re a loved one or a caregiver of a senior who you worry may be struggling with some money problems, what are some good approaches to take while discussing these concerns in an open and productive way? Here are a few basics.
The simplest approach here is honesty, but it must be paired with empathy and kindness. You want to approach any financial conversation from a place of caring and assistance, and show your loved one that you’re here to help.
While doing so, however, it’s important to hit on some major topics. Ask about whether your loved one has a will and where it’s kept, plus whether they’ve designated someone as their financial power of attorney. Also inquire about the financial institutions they use and whether they have any online accounts set up, plus the income received monthly from various sources. Finally, look into basic areas like bill pay and income taxes to be sure these are being covered. The initial goal of a conversation like this is to get an idea of your loved one’s finances so you can assist them where needed.
Another important topic to inquire about is whether your loved one has spoken to an accountant or financial planner – and if they have not, you both might consider this route. If your loved one already has a relationship with such a professional, ask them if it’s okay for you to have permission to view their documents or make changes to their account – this should never be done without the consent of your loved one, however.
If you have gone over finances and have some concerns, it’s important to be honest about them. One of the most common such concerns for many senior loved ones or caregivers is financial fraud or scams, which are often targeted at seniors due to their age. Help your loved one understand some of the risks here and the areas to avoid – some caregivers even help their loved one register for the Do Not Call Registry so they’re not exposed to telephone marketing scams.
Finally, don’t overwhelm your loved one here. If more than one conversation is needed to fully manage finances, that’s totally okay. Be patient and understanding at all times, and realize that it’s difficult for many people to accept help with a sensitive area like their finances.
For more on assisting a senior loved one with financial areas, or to learn about any of our senior living services, speak to the staff at Cozy Retire today.