Smart Ways To Help Seniors Manage Their Finances

Home health care servicehome-health-care-senior-finances can really help when you’re trying to take care of an elderly family member. In home health care can be the difference between staying in your own home and going to a nursing home. If you’re the primary caregiver for an elderly family member, simple things like respite care make it possible for you to handle work and family obligations. There’s a limit to how much help home health care aides can offer. If a senior citizen who requires in home care needs help with managing their finances, it’s always best if they can depend on a trusted family member.

Assessing the Problem

Seniors need help as they grow older. The kind of support they require varies. If one of your parents has Alzheimer’s, they’ll both need extra help. One parent will need help dealing with the effects of a progressive neurological condition. The other parent will need help coping with the loss of mental acuity in their lifelong partner.

A serious medical condition like dementia can put a strain on a senior’s finances. Home health care services make it easier to manage the day to day problems that come with the illness. However, if one spouse was in charge of the family’s finances, and can no longer handle them, it puts additional pressure on the other spouse. Family members can help by showing support and becoming an advocate for their loved ones and their interests.

Look for Warning Signs

Parents have a tendency to shield their children from their troubles. That can make it hard for a family member to spot financial difficulties in time to make a difference. Here are a few warning signs you should look for that might mean help is needed:

  • Can’t remember purchases they’ve made
  • Lots of unopened mail
  • Unpaid bills piling up
  • Mentioning a sudden lack of money
  • Sudden reluctance to visit with family
  • Avoiding activities they enjoy that cost money
  • Refusal to take advantage of regular medical care

How To Handle It

It’s important to help if you can. It’s also important to show love and respect when you’re offering to help. One of the main reasons that home health care is so useful for seniors it that it preserves independence. It’s disconcerting to lose control over your circumstances. That’s why all offers of help should be made in the gentlest possible way.

The best way to break the ice is to simply let them know you care about them, and you’re available to help if needed. Don’t talk strictly about money matters. An open-ended promise to lend a sympathetic ear might be enough to get your parent talking about their troubles.

Don’t Offer To Take Over Right Away

If your loved ones express concern over their financial situation, don’t jump on it immediately as a reason to take over their affairs entirely. This can break the lines of communication immediately. Remember to respect your parents’ feelings. No one loses all their faculties overnight. Offer as little help as necessary to solve the problem. Offer to do more in the future if it’s called for. That will offer peace of mind to go along with the help.

Practical Suggestions

If your parents are enjoying in home health care services, ask the caregivers to give you a heads up if they feel something is amiss. If you find out there’s a problem, there are a few simple strategies you can take to help out right away:

Automatic Bill Pay

If paying everyday bills is getting to be a chore, you can help by setting up automatic bill pay. For many seniors, the process of paying bills online is mysterious. Once you set it up for them, it will help them out every month. Giving overwhelmed seniors one less thing to worry about is always worth the effort.

Find Out About Benefit Eligibility

It’s likely that your parents are eligible for more benefits than they’re currently receiving. The number and value of benefits increase as you get older, but it’s hard to keep track of them. Make sure that they’re getting all the Medicare and Medicare, benefits and other elder care services they’re entitled to. Don’t overlook small but important perks like senior discounts at their favorite restaurants and movie theaters.

Hire Professional Help

If you find that your parent’s finances are too complicated or time-consuming to handle, you should think about hiring a financial planner to pick up the slack. Of course it’s important to choose a reputable adviser that has a conservative outlook on things like investments and annuities. Make sure that the adviser is patient and can explain clearly to you and your loved ones what they’re doing.

Power of Attorney

Setting up a power of attorney over your parents’ affairs early on doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re taking over entirely. By planning early, the documents will be in place in case your parents are incapacitated in the future.

Gifts

People on fixed incomes can simply be short on cash. Sometimes it’s hard for parents to begin accepting money from their children. If you want to help out, but don’t want to push money into their hands, find other ways to lighten their burden. Drop by regularly with groceries. Pick up the tab if you take them out to eat. You can often pay for things like medications and home health care services directly. All of these methods will make it easier for your parents to accept help as a gift, instead of a cash handout.

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