When and How to Help With an Aging Loved One’s Finances
Accepting the deteriorating physical and mental health of a loved one isn't easy. Seeing them go through financial hardship, as a result, is even harder. Taking the reins for those close to you may seem inappropriate or unmanageable, but the proper care and respect will help everyone.
Knowing the Signs
The first step in helping a loved one with financial issues is identifying if they do in fact need help. Common signs of a diminishing mental state in seniors include forgetfulness, repeating themselves often without realizing, and spiraling confusion and frustration. If your relative is displaying these characteristics, you may want to take a closer look at their finances.
Check your loved one's home for piles of unopened mail. This could be an indication they're neglecting their bills. Also, keep an eye out for any frivolous purchases or surpluses of easily obtained household items. These signs may be subtle at first but can spiral into full financial devastation.
Be on the lookout for strange calls and emails from unfamiliar sources. Because they're statistically less likely to have sufficient technological literacy regarding smartphones and modern computers, your loved one is a prime target for phone and email scams. Seniors in the U.S. are exploited for nearly 3 billion dollars annually.
When finally deciding to step in and help your relative, it's vital to do so in an effective but respectful way. Within reason, abide by the boundaries they set, and don't force them to make any change to their lives they're not ready for. This time is frustrating for them as well, so gentle encouragement is far more likely to gain their cooperation than tough love.
A simple way to maintain the fiscal health of those close to you is to help them set up autopayments. Setting up recurring bills to withdraw automatically is a one-time act that can benefit them for years to come. Just make sure they have the savings or income necessary to cover the bill during any given cycle.
If your relative has a business they can no longer be held financially responsible for, it may be time to sell it off. Before doing so, be sure to obtain a professional business valuation. This itemized study of every asset the business has and its value is indispensable when trying to get every cent possible out of the deal.
Unfortunately, your loved one may not be willing or able to consent to your help. If you feel your relative is a danger to themself or others, or will never be financially independent again, your best course of action may be to obtain power of attorney over them. This will let you make decisions about their healthcare, finances, and living arrangements without their consent. This is the ultimate removal of independence, so do not take this decision likely.
If even under your custody your relative is still incapable of thriving in the world, they may need to be moved to an appropriate facility. Much like power of attorney, this is stripping away privileges they've enjoyed their entire lives. While this is a last resort, the staff at Doctor's Hospice of Idaho are fully equipped to help your loved one in a manner modern life does not usually allow us to match.
Helping those close to you age gracefully looks different to different people. Assisting with their finances while helping them stay as independent as possible is a great way to keep them safe and show you care.
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