Helping Seniors with Finances – Day to Day Ways to Help Seniors Manage their Money & Special Situations

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 12,149
    Mary Alexander with Home Instead Senior Care provides some tips on how to help your senior loved ones manage their finances, and tips to prevent them from becoming targets of fraud. This video will focus on ideas for helping your senior loved ones manage their money, day-to-day.

    Helping Seniors with FinancesDay-to-Day Ways to Help Seniors Manage Their Money Mary Alexander: Hi! I am Mary Alexander from Home Instead Senior Care. Today I am discussing senior finances. Now, I want to share with you ideas for helping your senior loved ones manage their money, day-to-day.

    Let's say you visit your parents, and you notice an open bills, a desk in disarray, and bank statements that are piling up. Perhaps, it's time to broach the subject of helping them with their day-to-day management of their finances.

    If they agree, you can get permission to be able to access their online banking, bill paying, and financial management materials. Taking care of these tasks can be easily accomplished from the comfort of your own home, and may provide needed relief for your parents.

    You will likely need to arrange to visit the banking institution with your parents to fill out some forms, or if you have Durable Power of Attorney for your parents, that will allow you to access their accounts and make changes on their behalf.

    If your parents are intent on managing their own, don't argue, but do try to find solutions that work for all of you. For example, if you've offered to help with finances and they refuse, see if they would be willing to hand off those activities to a member of their professional service team, such as an Accountant.

    At the very least, see if your parents will allow you to help them get their financial files organized. Perhaps, the pile of bills and banking statements is daunting, so they are just avoiding it. If so, see if they will accept your help in organizing it into priorities for payment, and filing away forms that don't need immediate attention. While you're at it, encourage them to allow you to make a list of all of their accounts and put it in a safe place, where you can find it later if you need to. Even better, see if they will allow you to take copies of the list along with important estate documents, such as Wills, Trust, and Medical Directives. That way, you'll be able to access the forms quickly and easily.

    Having these financial conversations with your parents may not be easy. As they age and recognize that they can no longer do certain things that they used to, they may cling to certain activities in order to maintain some control over their lives. Not wanting to be a burden may also play into accepting help.

    Another factor maybe the parent-child relationship where your parents still feels in charge, and sees you as the one who may need help instead of them. If any of these situations play out, don't worry. Instead, ask if there is someone else they might be willing to enlist to help them, such as an older relative or friend. The end goal is to help get and keep your parents finances organized and well managed. If they are more comfortable with handing it off to someone other than you, don't get discouraged. There is one other situation I'd like to spend a couple of minutes talking about. That is helping seniors who have cognitive problems. Roya Wolverson wrote an article on smartmoney.

    com which said, that a Duke University study estimates that 14% of people over aged 70 have some sort of dementia. According to dementia experts, the problems are often more serious than forgetting how to balance our checkbooks. People suffering from dementia have looked on as their investments plunged in value, misread how much money they owed in taxes, even told their brokers to buy when they meant to say sell.

    Already, there are thousands of cases of seniors with dementia who are trading stocks to their own detriment, or investing in risky products that have led each to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars. It's a situation that leads everyone from brokers, and financial planners to family members caught in a tragic bind. John Gannon, Director of Investor Education for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA, the broker-funded agency that oversees brokers and securities firms said, financial matters can become treacherous for people who may not be able to spell their own name. So, what do you do?

    As soon as you notice your parents going downhill, or he or she is diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer's, work to get their financial affairs in order fast. Incapacity can come on quickly. Certainly, helping a senior loved one who is suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's creates unique and difficult challenges, but even the most aware seniors can be taken advantage of.

    In our next video, we'll talk about the common senior scams, and how to prevent them.