For many elders, managing their finances becomes more challenging as time goes by. However, they may be reluctant to hand over control to a loved one. It can feel as though they are surrendering some of their independence. But, as we frequently see in our elder care environment, with proper preparation this transition can take place smoothly, freeing the elder from what has become a time-consuming task and protecting them from potentially costly financial errors.
A Proven Process for Helping an Elder Manage Their Money
In some cases, a loved one will request help. In others, you may start to sense that your assistance is needed. Either way, there are things you can do to move smoothly into the role of “money manager.” Use the tactics below to ensure a stress-free transition.
- Be proactive about discussing future plans. It’s much better to have relaxed and unhurried conversations about an elder’s finances than to have to make a snap decision after a physical health or cognitive crisis.
- Be vigilant about changes in cognitive capabilities. If you become aware that the person has started to forget to pay bills or is making other bookkeeping errors, it is time to take action.
- Get input from other family members as appropriate. In some cases, it will make sense for an elder to have just one person helping with their finances. In others, it may be a good idea to have help from multiple family members.
- Start with a thorough financial review. Getting the “big picture” on all of an elder’s assets and liabilities up front can make it easier to see how, when and where assistance is or will be needed. This financial review can and should take place well before any transition is required.
- Involve a third party expert as needed. Some of the choices you and your loved one will have to make may be difficult. Getting input from an impartial third party like a financial advisor can simplify decision making.
- Establish power of attorney. At the appropriate time, it is important to get the legal authority to make decisions on behalf of the person, rather than just having their permission to do so.
- Keep the person “in the loop.” Your loved one will appreciate knowing what actions you are taking regarding their finances.
Empowerment and Financial Security: Finding the Right Balance
At Green House Homes at Mirasol, our unique approach to elder care is focused on empowering elders to stay engaged and active as they age. That said, there clearly are times when certain responsibilities should be handed off to loved ones. But when managed properly, these sometimes tricky transitions can go smoothly. And, ultimately they allow a senior to enjoy more free time and pursue their passions.
October/23/2018 | News