5 Signs of Elder Money Management Problems… how you can help

forgetfulManaging money can be a real challenge for elders. For their adult children, there are signs you can look for and ways you can help.

  1. Memory Lapses. Does your elder parent forget to pay bills or pay them more than once?

    Help with bill paying and banking by assuring that Social Security and pension checks are direct deposited. Set us automatic transfers for monthly IRA withdrawals and automatic bill payments for rent, mortgage, utilities, credit cards and other expenses.

  2. Disorganization. Does your elder parent lose track of bills, statements and other financial documents? Do they get frustrated with annual taxes and forget to file?

    Help by first organizing all their important legal documents, then (before your elder parent becomes incapacitated) set up a durable power of attorney to allow you to write checks, pay bills, change investment and perform other financial tasks.

  3. Math Mistakes. Does your elder parent appear to have difficulty making change, measuring for a recipe, figuring out a restaurant tip, balancing a checkbook?

    Help by removing the frustration of money matters from their everyday life. Check over the investment portfolio and be sure it’s conservative – Treasury bills, bonds, bank  CDs and money market accounts, and low risk stocks. Seek the advice of a financial planner for help with investment decisions.

  4. Confusion. Does your elder parent have difficulty understanding basic terms and concepts when talking about financial matters such as loans, estate plans, or investments?

    Help by reviewing or establishing a will with a qualified attorney. At the same time, establish a living will that states healthcare issues in the event your parent becomes incapacitated.

  5. Impaired Judgement. Does your elder parent make questionable or poor financial decisions?

    Help by setting up a time to review money matters on a monthly basis so you can continue to monitor his or her judgement on financial matters and take the appropriate action.

Today’s families are extremely busy or may live far away from their elder parent. In these situations, we can help in all the ways mentioned above. We’ll make regular visits to your elder parent and document our observations so together we chart a money management plan that puts everyone at ease.

Are Your Seniors Safe From the Storm?

natural disasterIt’s been an unusual year of weather. In the Midwest, endless days of rain with the occasional strong thunderstorm makes us wonder if our seniors are safe in their homes. Along the east and southern coasts, hurricane season is underway. Out west, fires have damaged or destroyed hundred of homes. Wherever in the country the seniors you love and care about reside, it’s a major worry how they will handle what Mother Nature may dish out in 2013 and beyond.

Here are a few tips to help them be prepared:

  • Be sure they keep emergency supplies on hand. Flashlights, fresh batteries (not dangerous candles), a battery operated radio, cell phone, and first aid kit.
  • Pack a box of emergency food and water supplies. Soups, canned fruit and milk, a tin of crackers, peanut butter – and don’t forget the manually operated can opener.
  • Keep a list of all medications and doses along with an up-to-date copy of any insurance cards and other ID.
  • Discuss a safety plan that includes an evacuation strategy. Where will they go, how will they get there, who can they call for assistance if needed, where’s the nearest shelter?
  • Prepare a list of family members’ phone number, addresses, and email addresses should someone else need to contact you. Have their own address written down too; it’s hard to remember these simple facts under stress.
  • Make a list of outside objects that may need to be fastened down, like patio furniture, garbage cans or home decorations. These can be picked up by strong winds and be dangerous to your love ones and the people around them.
  • Make a list of emergency services: ambulance, fire, police, home repair companies, snow or ice removal, newspaper delivery, utilities (gas, electric, oil, water, phone, mobile phone, cable, Internet).
  • List the names and contact information for insurance agents, doctors, bankers, investment advisors, and other support personnel and keep important documents secure in a fireproof home safe.
  • If you aren’t nearby, decide who will check up on your loved ones after the storm to be sure they are safe and their home is not damaged.
  • Talk with your senior about what to expect in a weather event and have the discussion regularly.

Having a plan in place, and one single weather proof box in an easily accessible location in your loved ones’ home with all the above lists and papers will give you peace of mind and help your “aging in place” seniors be prepared for whatever weather or natural disaster comes their way.