Children often rely on parents to act as their first financial teachers. Parents may directly teach their children about how to manage money, or they become role models through their behavior. As parents age, the adult child gradually takes on a different role. What that role looks like can depend on the health and abilities of the parent. Every family should discuss these matters. Financial openness enables children to keep their parents safe and know they can afford the care they need as they age. It is not always easy to communicate openly about finances, but there are ways to make the process easier.
Lay a Foundation
Adult children should discuss their parents’ goals and wishes for their senior years as early as possible. Health declines can happen rapidly. Over half of all Americans over 55 do not have a will. Some seniors have not taken the time to consider what will happen when they cannot care for themselves. They may not have a plan about how to cover the costs of an assisted living community if they cannot remain at home.
Discussions that happen years before these issues arise can help parents prepare for any event. The talks can make parents more secure and reassure children that their loved ones will have what they need to remain safe and comfortable throughout their life.
Insist on Documentation
People need formal documents detailing what medical care they want if a medical emergency makes them unable to choose for themselves. They should also prepare forms that allow someone they trust to pay their bills and make financial decisions when they cannot. Children should make sure the parent has a will. The cost and time needed for probate in California can overwhelm grieving families. Preparation can reduce the complications of this process and make it much easier for all involved.
Parents and children should agree on who stores the documents to keep them accessible as needed. The type of paperwork available to the family should include bank account information, copies of insurance policies, property deeds or titles, retirement account information, wills, and other estate planning forms.
Review Financial Security
Determining assisted living options can depend on the ability of the parent to pay. Adult children should ensure their parents can live comfortably in the community they want. Reviewing finances beforehand can enable people to help their parents find better investment opportunities, eliminate unnecessary expenses, and decide when to liquefy assets. The effort can help seniors have cash available for more vital needs.
The elderly, particularly those with dementia-related illnesses, are vulnerable to financial scams and mismanagement of money. Reviewing their finances, with their permission, can make loved ones aware of these concerns before they become too damaging. Early intervention can enable the parent to choose a power of attorney to ensure they have reliable financial oversight from someone they trust.
Keep Siblings Updated
Families with multiple children should select one of the siblings to represent everyone to avoid overwhelming and confusing seniors with questions or suggestions. The eldest may seem the most obvious choice. Location and ability, among other considerations, could make it more reasonable to choose someone else. The discussion may also involve professional financial planners, attorneys, or others to ensure the best solution. All siblings should remain in contact with the person in charge to understand the changes or decisions made by their parents. Involving everyone early on can prevent conflict later.
Remember Other Individuals
Adults may need to help with other older loved ones besides their parents. A childless aunt, grandparents, or even an ailing or much older sibling may need assistance. People may even need to come to the aid of non-related loved ones who lack family available to help. A Power of Attorney can give anyone trusted by an individual the right to make decisions for them when they cannot. The document can aid with choosing a senior living residence, getting the preferred end-of-life care, or designing a funeral that meets the standards of the loved one.
Life constantly changes, and it can seem impossible some days to keep up. Seniors often feel they have fallen behind or are out of place in a fast-changing world. Take the time to help elderly loved ones to prevent financial losses, avoid mistakes, and ensure they can live the life they desire as they age.
We know you care about your loved ones, and we care too. At Fallbrook Glen of West Hills, we strive to provide the best for our residents. We offer the best food, comfortable homes, and loving and attentive 24-hour care in a tranquil environment.