Devon and Marie are working parents with three children. Their daily schedule includes drop-offs and pick-ups from school, driving to and from work and extracurricular activities for the kids, followed by daily duties at home like making dinner, checking homework and preparing for the next day. Their schedule leaves them with very little time for themselves.
Lately, Devon has noticed that his aging father Frank is having trouble managing his personal finances. When he visits his dad, he observes unpaid bills stacked on a desk. Devon has also received calls from creditors asking for payments towards accounts that are now several months past due. When he asks his father about these bills, Frank says that he means to pay the bills, but forgets. Devon wants to make sure his dad’s financial affairs remain in order and is considering taking on this responsibility, but adding to his existing home obligations would not be easy. He needs ideas to seamlessly manage Frank’s finances with those of his own family.
Caregivers’ duties are not limited to just the medical needs of seniors; they sometimes must manage their personal finances as well. With age can come a reduced ability to manage complex tasks, like making sound financial choices. Although the decline can be gradual, it can result in negative financial consequences and lead to the exploitation of a loved one. It is important that caregivers understand necessary steps to managing their senior’s finances, thus making it easier to incorporate this new task into their lives.
Tips for managing your senior’s finances
Consolidate information: A caregiver should have a list of all pertinent financial information, including bank accounts and account numbers; online financial accounts and passwords; outstanding debts, such as mortgages or credit card obligations; and tangible assets found in a safe or safe deposit box, etc.
Update all legal documents: Some legal documents can expire or have specific details which governs use or control. Caregivers should locate and review any legal documents, including wills, healthcare directives, powers of attorney, deeds and/or titles, or insurance papers, making sure they are current and reflect the wishes of their loved one. Inaccurate legal documents can have lasting consequences.
Create a budget for your elder: Creating and maintaining a spending plan for your senior will ensure they have the income to fulfill financial obligations and save for emergencies. A budget also provides a tool for a caregiver to quickly reconcile their loved one’s available funds.
Automate their finances: An easy way for a caregiver to ensure their elder’s bills are being paid is to set-up automatic payments. This works well with bills that are consistent in amount.
Discuss the potential for scams: Have the conversation with seniors about the potential for exploitation. Remind them never to give out personal information, including social security numbers and account passwords.
Keep your loved one involved: Helping elders remain independent is one of the best ways to manage their finances while not adding an additional obligation to one’s own life. Keep them involved in the management of their lives to promote self-determination and reduce pressure on the caregiver.
While not an exhaustive list, these are a few ways for caregivers to begin the shifting control of finances from the sole responsibility of an aging senior. Ultimately, finding a system that works for one’s lifestyle will ease this transition while still allowing the senior to maintain a sense of independence.
For Caregiver Services in Arlington TN, please contact the caring staff at Personal Care Services MidSouth today!