People of all ages struggle with money management. Math and finances are often topics that aren't fun to talk about, so sometimes, they are pushed to the wayside. Imagine being a senior who has Alzheimer's disease and trying to remember the pin on your debit card or which bank you have an account with – it's a scary thought! Don't leave your older loved ones on their own when it comes to handling their finances. Here are some tips to make money management easier for everyone involved:
Switch to online managing
Seniors don't often have their bills or bank accounts set up for online access. Sadly, they may miss out on some ways to make their lives easier. Help your older loved one set up automatic bill pay through his or her bank so it's no longer a struggle to remember to pay on time. Always write down usernames and passwords to any accounts and keep that information in a safe but memorable place at the senior's assisted living community or his or her home. Also, keep a copy handy at your house so you can reference it if necessary. This way you can check on your loved one's bank account to make sure any money that passes through goes where it should.
Establish power of attorney
If your senior loved one has Alzheimer's or is otherwise incapable of managing his or her finances alone, have someone in your family that is good at making financial decisions deemed the power of attorney. This individual will then be able to access important financial information and act as an account holder to make better choices about how to handle the senior's finances.
Get outside help
Not everyone has family or someone with money smarts to manage his or her accounts. Or you may simply feel more comfortable knowing that a professional handles these important matters.
"You can hire someone to handle senior finances."
You can always contact an elder law attorney, geriatric care manager or financial planner to assist you when it comes to dealing with a senior's finances. These individuals can provide well-informed guidance that has your loved one's best interest in mind.
Cancel unnecessary fees
Most people have a few things they could stand to cancel when it comes to subscriptions. Does your senior loved one read those four magazine he or she gets in the mail every month? What about watching Netflix and Hulu? Cancelling these might not seem like a huge money-saver, but it adds up. Plus, unwanted publications will no longer clutter his or her senior living community apartment.
Cut down on medication
Edgewood's medication reduction program focuses on cutting back on unnecessary prescriptions as a way to prevent falls and promote better senior health. Another great factor of this program is that looking into your senior loved one's medications may help you save him or her a lot of money. The individual may take a name brand that you could swap for a much less costly generic version, for example. Talk with the senior and his or her doctor to learn about ways to make medication a less expensive part of his or her life.
Talk about what is important
Discussing money with a parent or older friend may not sound like fun, but it is a necessary part of caring for a senior. Before making any changes to his or her finances, learn what the senior finds most important. Your friend may want to have a full kitchen in his or her senior living apartment because he or she likes to cook. Or maybe he or she would love to sell his or her house to someone he or she knows. Do your best to make sure these things happen before doing any rearranging of his or her finances.
Seniors with dementia or any form of memory loss will likely misplace important information. It is your job to gather all of these documents so you can help him or her manage finances. You should have all bank account details, credit card particulars, mortgage statements, health care information, hospital dues, bills and any other money-related documents in an organized place at home. You may even consider changing addresses so this information comes directly to you and that your loved one doesn't lose it. You'll be better able to keep track of everything and have peace of mind knowing these important numbers and accounts are not falling into the wrong hands or ending up lost.