One of the first clues your senior parent may be struggling with finances is compulsive spending. If they are suddenly buying a lot of new items, such as new electronics, furniture, clothes, or gifts for the grandchildren, they may have a problem.
Some seniors with memory problems may have items they don’t even remember buying. Forgotten purchases may be a sign of a bigger issue where your parent or loved one doesn’t have control over their finances.
People in dire financial straits may also have numerous bill collectors contacting them. Pay attention to see if there are frequent calls to your loved one from debt collectors or unopened mail. You can help your loved one manage calls from debt collectors if this is an issue.
Another sign of a potential problem is if you notice memory issues or dementia. Your senior parent or loved one may repeat the same story to you multiple times, misplace important items or demonstrate unusual behavior during their daily routine.
Organizing Their Finances
If you notice some of these problems with your parent or loved one, there are things you can do to help. Start by looking at their accounts and organizing their finances. Get access to their bank accounts, credit cards, and retirement accounts to help control any excessive spending and prevent them from racking up debt. Here's some frugal strategies to reorganize your loved one’s finances.
Understanding Their Insurance and Benefits
You also need to understand how your loved one’s health insurance coverage and Medicare benefits work. Locate any insurance policies and talk to the plan administrator to get information about what services are covered and which providers take your relative’s insurance.
Older people with memory problems may also fall for scams and lose money from phishing, romance scams or other types of fraud online. Inform your senior loved one about typical online scams or help monitor their devices and accounts to spot signs of fraud.
Getting Power of Attorney
It may also be time for you or another responsible relative to get power of attorney over your aging parent. If you have power of attorney for your senior relative, you may be able to take control of their financial accounts.
Moving to a Senior Community
Another option is moving your relative to a senior community if they shouldn’t live alone. Tour different communities for retired people, such as 55+ neighborhoods or assisted living apartments. Purge as many items as possible to downsize and work with a real estate agent to sell your relative’s home for a profit. Calculate the value with a home proceeds calculator to see how much cash your loved one could get from their property.
Transitioning to a Nursing Facility
For 24-hour care, consider a skilled nursing facility, especially with memory issues or physical ailments. Online, you can find informative reports about the facility, costs, payment options, and reviews from other families for all of the nursing homes in your city.
Aging parents or relatives can struggle with financial decisions. If you want to help, keep an eye out for key signs of trouble and take action.