Your elderly father, who was an accountant, died suddenly last year, leaving your aging mother alone in the house you grew up in. Dad managed all their household finances, so mom is still having trouble doing so. And although mom’s health is good, you’d like to discuss finances with her to ensure she’s prepared for the future. However, anytime you’ve tried to bring up the topic, she’s quickly brushed it aside. What should you do?
The time to discuss finances with an aging in place parent is before their health declines, and not after. What follows are some reliable ways to do so.
Choose a Family Spokesperson
Many seniors are secretive about their household finances and nest eggs when it comes to their adult children for reasons ranging from pride to distrust. On the other hand, if mom is diagnosed later with something like dementia, she might forget how much is in her bank accounts or to pay the bills on time. If you have siblings, choose a spokesperson to bring up the topic of money with mom. Maybe your sister is a successful account like dad was, or your brother runs his own company and has a sharp business mind.
In fact, your mother will probably be more receptive to discussing her finances with the sibling who’s shown the highest acumen when it comes to managing money. Once you’ve selected a family spokesperson, it’s time to tactfully approach mom.
Having the “Money Talk” with Mom
Here are several different ways to discuss finances with an aging parent:
As a Peer
All adults over 50 should have a financial plan when it comes to aging, not just their parents. It’s also a good idea to have a medical directive, and to provide your dependents with a list of financial obligations and assets. Doing so ensures that the distribution of assets and payments for outstanding financial obligations will go smoothly if something happens to you. As a result, approach your mom with the subject of money management as her peer. For example, if you’ve just made up a will, bring it up casually and ask if she has one too.
Bring Up a Recent Incident
Regrettably, bad events like strokes, heart attacks or dementia happen to older people. If an unfortunate incident has happened to someone you both know, like a neighbor or family member, use their situation as an example. If that person passed away without a will, explain how the remaining family members can’t pay the mortgage on the deceased’s property because their assets are being held up in court. Use the event to gently point out the need for information sharing and having a financial management game plan should mom become incapacitated.
At a Family Get-Together
Holding a discussion with mom about money during a casual family get-together that happens every year is also a good time, like at your annual Fourth of July picnic or Labor Day cookout. That’s because it will be a relaxed and comfortable setting for the both of you.
Discuss It Indirectly
Some elderly parents simply don’t want to talk about their finances even when their good health and mental acuity makes it an opportune time to do so. Mom could be refusing out of stubbornness or impatience, but always respect her decision. Instead of trying to keep a close tab on mom’s finances, let her handle some aspects of them on her own without feeling pressured. At some point, she will probably open-up and share with you the information you need.
Is She Eligible for Benefits?
Explain to mom that providing some of her financial information to you could help her obtain some useful government benefits. Most qualified seniors don’t take advantage of the many programs that are available, and simply entering mom’s financial information on your state’s benefits website will promptly let you know which ones she qualifies for helping her to continue aging in place.
Budget-Friendly In-Home Care for Seniors in Massachusetts
Having “the talk” about finances with your aging parent should also include in-home caregiving options if they become incapacitated. At Cranberry Home Care, we are a budget-friendly agency that’s family owned and operated. Our highly trained and carefully screened caregivers can provide reliable services like light housekeeping, personal hygiene, eating assistance, meals, medication reminders, transportation and companionship.
All our caregivers are fully licensed and insured, and our reliable services can also be flexibly tailored in an affordable package to keep your loved one aging right where they want to be. To learn more about Cranberry Home Care, or to schedule a FREE, in-home consultation for a senior in Southeastern, MA, today, please visit: www.cranberryhomecare.com now!