Unfortunately, it’s a sad reality that aging parents often end up in financial duress. It can manifest in many ways, whether it’s memory loss, medications they can’t afford, or even the stress brought on by a sudden illness. Bills can easily stack up and it doesn’t take long for that to become overwhelming. There are many signs that should alert you that something is going on behind the scenes, signaling for intervention. Let’s look at a few….
Signs That Elderly Parents Need Help
According to the National Council on Aging, nearly a third of all homeowners over the age of 60 need help with the daily grind of activities. Some of those things may include, but are not limited to:
• Cleaning and housework
• Cooking meals
• Managing finances
• Getting shopping done
• Telephone use
As you observe these areas, keep in mind that if you see a problem in one of these areas, there will likely problems in other areas as well. Among the most common problem areas would be things like depression brought on by sickness, the death of a spouse, and even medication management.
What Are the Warning Signs?
1. Unopened mail and bills that are stacking up. Look around your parent’s home and check for stacks of mail. You especially should look for mail from the IRS, credit card bills, utility bills and mortgage statements. If you know your parents are dealing with memory loss, it’s critical that you help oversee these bills.
2. Calls from Credit Card companies. Keep a log through caller ID, of all the bill collector calls. Keep track of which company is calling and how frequently they call. There are certain laws in place that bill collectors are supposed to follow. Many of them do not follow these criteria and you do have rights to protect you from harassment.
3. Expensive Expenditures that were sudden or unplanned. Pay attention to huge or outlandish purchases that are not like your parents. Big ticket items like appliances, cars or even home entertainment items. If you feel their judgment has not been up to par, you may need to just pay close attention to signs of dementia.
4. Elder Fraud or Money Scams. This happens more often than you think and can be a heartbreaking situation. Look for odd mail or voice mail. Pay close attention to your junk mail, especially if you get the following catalogs:
• Investment opportunities
• Companies you’ve never heard of
• Seminars about a second home and how easy it is to buy
Elderly parents can be very vulnerable to these scams, simply because they are lonely and trusting of people who seem like they care. The main point here is just using common sense!
5. Daily tasks and chores seem overwhelming. Simple tasks for you and me may seem more than your aging parents can handle. If you suspect they are not able to deal with the daily tasks, you should step in and investigate. Age can cause even the simplest of chores seem impossible to your elderly parents. Stay observant of the house too. If it’s unusually messy or dirty, this may be a sign that keeping it up has become more than they can handle. If they have arthritis, paying bills can be tough because of writing checks, etc. They may not be internet savvy, but you might help them get set up with online bill pay and then take over that task for them.
The easiest way to deal with major life changes such as moving out of the home and into a retirement or assisted living facility is to talk about it early. Discussing these issues ahead of time when they are lucid and feeling good will cut down on their stress.
It’s very easy for unexpected costs of elderly living to drain their savings or retirement. By paying attention to all the aforementioned signs, their need for financial help will become more clear. Remember, every elderly person wants to stay in their home as long as they can, with their dignity intact.
If you have more questions or concerns about financial help for your aging parents, call us today or visit our website!
Home Helpers of Greater Milwaukee is a locally-owned, trusted home health care agency and offers quality, compassionate senior in-home care services including home care assistance, personal care, companion care, respite care, Alzheimer's & dementia care as well as homemaker services in Milwaukee, Mequon, Fox Point, Bayside, River Hills, Whitefish Bay, Cedarburg, Germantown, Grafton, Menomonee Falls, Brown Deer, Port Washington, Wauwatosa, West Bend, Hartford, Sussex, West Allis, Butler, Colgate, Fredonia, Greendale, Hales Corners, Saukville, Slinger, Richfield, Jackson, Thiensville, and Hubertus.