Financial Planning for Elderly with Cognitive Decline
Helping elderly parents or older adults with financial planning is a reality for many people. Making plans in advance is essential in staying proactive while avoiding many problems. Unforeseen health issues can make it nearly impossible to pay the bills from their checking account if the son or daughter doesn't have the authority to disburse money for these payments. Changing a will can also be challenging if a parent has dementia or cognitive decline.
Looking at ways to avoid these problems by making plans in advance is critical to financial planning. Taking the time to discuss finances before senior citizen experiences any cognitive decline will make the entire process much easier and help you avoid a lot of unnecessary stress. Putting at least one trusted person in charge of financial accounts can make things much more simple and straightforward.
Here are a few more tips on financial planning for a senior citizen.
Learn More About the Aging Process
Cognitive decline can often vary between individuals. One elderly person may struggle with remembering medical appointments while another is making poor financial decisions. Learning more about how cognitive decline impacts your loved one is important in developing a plan to take care of this problem before it worsens over time.
Educate Yourself Regarding Finances
Another key tip for financial planning is to educate yourself on how to manage money properly. Learning about the ins and outs of finances will help build your confidence while also making it easier to assist with financial planning. Educating yourself regarding various topics is critical, whether it's the probate process, senior life insurance, or how to manage an estate settlement.
Keep Documents Up to Date
Many people make the mistake of not keeping up with essential documents involving their parents with dementia. Knowing the location of these documents is critical in financial planning, whether it requires bank account information, information about the probate process, or senior life insurance papers. Discussing how to manage finances and getting everything properly documented is key to simplifying this entire process if your parent is dealing with dementia or cognitive decline.
Dealing with an Uncooperative Senior
Sometimes it can be difficult to manage finances with a parent and help them make the right decisions if they are uncooperative. Unfortunately, dementia can cause the elderly to be uncooperative or even combative to those they love. Trying to handle all of this on your own is highly stressful, and it creates a lot of challenges. Many senior citizens who have dementia don't retain the majority of the things they are told. You or someone else close to them needs to take them to their appointments and listen closely to their doctor.
Why You Need a Healthcare Surrogate
Using a healthcare surrogate is important in giving a senior citizen additional assistance to help make decisions in their best interests. Many times these medical surrogates are either the adult child or a close family member. Of course, a parent may not want anybody to attend their medical appointments. Sometimes they don't want to place an extra burden on their child, or they may feel guilty about taking up your time. However, it is important to explain that you care about them and that it's not a burden to go with them to their doctor appointments. A surrogate can even write a letter to the healthcare provider to address any concerns or privacy issues.
Consider a Geriatric Care Manager
If none of this works, you may need to consider hiring a geriatric care manager. These trained professionals can help your loved one find the resources to make their life easier. Using geriatric care managers is especially beneficial if you don't live near your parent, as they can perform various services. These activities may include making in-home visits, planning doctor appointments, and helping with any other needs. Hiring someone from the outside may also increase the chance of an elderly parent listening to their feedback.
Sometimes things can get more complex if an elderly parent doesn't want any help and is doing poorly in their health. Asking the doctor to intervene is the next step if your parent has dementia. However, the best action to take before it gets to this point is to stay proactive by creating a plan for getting all of the necessary documents in place if your parent begins to suffer from dementia or other health issues. Financial planning can often feel overwhelming, whether managing bills, senior life insurance, or even setting up the probate process. Staying proactive by making a plan well in advance can help you avoid a lot of stress and make it much easier to manage the finances of your loved ones.