Updated: Jan 24
By Susan Haywood
What are the signs that your elderly parents need health with finances?
Studies show that from the age of 60 and beyond, many people begin to experience a fall in their financial literacy score by around 2% annually. When issues such as dementia and medication problems are included, it doesn't take much for daily expenses and unsettled bills to cause a rapid financial decline. Ultimately, the day could come when your parents or other loved ones are in no position to handle their finances — and it might not be easy for them to ask for help, even if they genuinely need it.
That is why it's important to know the signs that your elderly parent needs help with finances before things get out of hand. Being conscious of these signs not only helps you protect your parent's assets but provide treatment if required.
How Will I Know When to Help?
One sign of a need for help is if you notice any strange purchases. Take note if your senior loved ones are suddenly purchasing random items or services that don't meet their needs. Such behaviors tend to escalate quickly, and older folks are more vulnerable to scams. Also, be attuned to potential lapses in memory – anything from forgetting due dates or names can be a significant sign that it’s time to step in. Next, look for stacks of unopened mail. This could indicate they're forgetting to pay bills or perhaps even joining sweepstakes.
Ways to Help Senior Loved Ones With Finances
To help, begin by compiling a list of your senior loved one's contacts, accounts, and locations where they store their legal documents, such as birth certificates and deeds. Ensure every document is up to date, valid, and on a secure site. If they can no longer manage their business and you have a lot on your plate, you'll likely want to sell the business. But before selling, get an expert in business valuation so you can understand the business's value. The valuation should include all their assets like real estate and even inventory.
You may find that you need a power of attorney. This will ensure you have the legal right to make crucial decisions when your parents can't. If your parents have dementia or physical issues and need constant care, you may need to move them to a reputable nursing facility. Search for facility reports, costs, payment options, and other client reviews online. As one tip, look for an attorney specializing in elder law to draft a power of attorney that meets your needs.
Managing your parents' assets can be overwhelming, but you don't have to do it alone. Inform your loved ones of the current developments, especially your siblings. Relatives can provide extra support, and open communication can mitigate misunderstandings. You may also need to sell your parent's house and move them closer to family. Another option is to rent out their home if you aren’t ready to sell yet. If you choose this option, it’s a good idea to research rental rates to understand how much you can earn.
Helping Your Loved Ones in Their Time of Need
Because health issues in the elderly tend to escalate quickly, you should start the conversation early to know what to do when the signs emerge. For more resources to ensure your senior loved one receives the help they need, visit Compass & Clock.