Zoe discovered that her elderly father was forgetting to pay the bills when several of his utilities were shut off and she found some collection notices in his unopened mail. She was surprised because he was healthy and mobile He wasn’t really in need of daily home care assistance as many of his friends did so his financial struggles went unnoticed until they became big problems.
Bo had been helping his aging father with personal care since his stroke a year ago with the aid of a home care agency. As his father’s cognitive ability started to decline, Bo suggested they meet with an attorney so he could take over money management duties to help out. The idea infuriated his father and now they are hardly speaking.
Katie’s elderly mother constantly complained about running out of money at the end of every month. When Katie asked to look at bank statements and check copies, she was stunned to see that her mother was spending wildly without thought to her budget. Examples included lending money out to other family members, donating large amounts to charities, frivolous purchases and paying some bills twice and others not at all.
At some point, family caregivers reach a point in time when they realize that their elderly loved one is no longer capable to handle their own finances. As tough as the conversation may be, they really must discuss money matters with their aging relative. Some elderly people will be frustrated, angry or frightened at the idea of turning over money management to another. However, for their own financial security, seniors need to get involved before problems get too big to handle.
When a family member notices some of the warning signs of financial mismanagement, it’s a good idea to start talking slowly about the topic. Asking gentle questions and getting an overall idea of how the elderly person manages their money can really help provide a clear picture of where they need help. With physical issues or mental health problems, sometimes dealing with the stress of money is just too much.
Family caregivers can also let seniors know about solutions to some of the money management issues that might be causing them stress. Solutions and help ranges from automatic bill payment plans with the bank to signing a power of attorney form. There are many ways for seniors to retain some control over their finances, and together they can explore what works best for everyone.
The worst thing that family caregivers can do is to assume everything is fine because their elderly relative hasn’t asked for help. However, seniors are usually proud of their independence and want to appear capable and in control. They often worry that by giving up some of the control over their finances, that they will regret it later. That’s why its best for family caregivers to start conversations early and do their best to persuade them to share the burdens of money management.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE ARE CONSIDERING HOME CARE SERVICES IN WAYLAND, MA, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT HOME HELPERS TODAY. CALL NOW (508) 545-0164.