The Woes of Helping Aging Parents
I stumbled upon an awesome article that I wanted to share with you.
William Power from The Wall Street Journal wrote an article entitled, “The Difficult, Delicate Untangling of Our Parents’ Financial Lives” that outlines the difficulty in trying to step in and help help aging parents with their daily life and money matters.
I understood perfectly where he was coming from because many of the things he addresses, we as Daily Money Managers experience too!
Here are the six takeaways from his article:
- Before you do anything else, figure out what you’re doing. When you suddenly have to take over someone’s daily life and money matters, it can be hard to know where to start. I liken it to putting together a puzzle without knowing what the picture is! Figure out what the most pressing, urgent issues are is often the best place to start.
- Repeat after me: POA, POA, POA. POA stands for Power of Attorney and gives you the legal right to conduct financial transactions for someone. As a Daily Money Manager, it’s often not needed as we conduct business in our client’s presence and they can give permission for us to speak to businesses on their behalf. However, as a client loses capacity, or needs to be physically present to conduct business–and they’re unable to, a POA becomes extremely important to have in place.
- It helps to have a team, both family and outsiders. This is so important because it truly takes a village to take care of our seniors. In addition to family that can step in, financial planners, Elderlaw attorneys, Geriatric Social Workers, home care aides, and of course, Daily Money Managers can all help lighten the load.
- In an online world, be ready to be thrown back to the 1970’s. This one made me chuckle. People often ask me if I set-up all clients with online bill-pay–the answer is no. Many of our senior clients are not comfortable paying their bills this way and have to be eased into it over time. So you have to be prepared to deal with a lot of paper…a lot.
- Little things we never would have thought of, before this. This one deals with what I call “fighting the mythical Hydra monster.” You remember her: when you cut off one of her snake-like heads, two or three pop-up in its place! Daily money management can be much the same way: you solve one problem, only to have two or three others pop up in its place! What fun…
- Have mercy on your own children. I love this one because it simply means: plan ahead! Mr. Power states, “More practically, we learned that while people don’t want to deal with the tough issues with their parents when they are well, it is less traumatizing than when they are in a hospital bed.” Those of us in the senior services industry try to reach out early to educate people about our services and the importance of planning ahead. Unfortunately, it takes a crisis to deal with these issues. Fortunately, the author has first-hand experience and won’t make the same mistake with his own children.