Financial Issues and Elderly Parents - Talking with the Elderly about Future Expenses.

Financial Issues and Elderly Parents – Talking with the Elderly about future expenses.

There may come a time when you need to discuss arrangements with your elderly parents regarding their ability to pay for long-term health care needs. Approaching the subject isn't always easy, because money is such a private and personal matter.

Many senior citizens measure their independence by their finances, so tread carefully and understand that, regardless of the situation, financial discussions are to be approached and engaged with deep consideration of the feelings and emotions of your Mom or Dad.

Many children find out that there is a very fine line between respecting the wishes of parents and ensuring their security. Your elderly parent may refuse to discuss his or her finances or grow angered by your attempts to ask what they may consider very personal questions.

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Financial Talk with Elderly Parents

In some cases, seniors don't want their children to know how difficult their lives may be or how shaky their finances. Many seniors these days are choosing between groceries and prescription medications. Your Mom or Dad may be turning the thermostat off, or avoiding doctor visits in an effort to save money.

There are a multitude of reasons why elderly parents are often unwilling to discuss their finances, but you may open the door by asking advice regarding your own finances, or even about "friends" who may be in similar circumstances, which may lead the conversation into the arrangements or financial security of your parents.

In some cases, total honesty is the best policy, and it may be best for you to sit down with your parents, ask them about their finances, and what they have arranged for long-term care, or if they have made any plans at all. Whenever possible, let your elderly parents make their own choices about their care, and try not to push.

Financial Talk with Elderly Parents

Important Questions

Children of aging parents often have a multitude of questions to ask Mom or Dad. These questions may include but are not limited to:

  • Do you have a will? Where is it located?
  • Do you have someone in mind (a sibling, other relative or close family friend) to handle your finances in case something happens to one or both of you?
  • Where are your bank accounts located? Safety deposit box?
  • In case something happens to you, what do you want me to do?
  • If you need to be hospitalized, what kind of financial arrangements have you made?
  • If you need long-term care in a nursing home, what kind of financial arrangements have you made?
  • Have you made any arrangements in the event of hospitalization or long-term care needs?
  • Do you have a signed Power of Attorney?
  • Have you discussed or considered Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) or other advanced directives in the event of hospitalization or long-term care scenarios?
  • Do you do any of your banking online?
  • If you do any online banking, do you have your account numbers and passwords written down in a safe location?
Financial Talk with Elderly Parents

These are just a few of the many questions that children often ask of aging parents. The overall health of your parents will determine the answer to many of these questions, but try to make sure your parent knows that you are concerned about his or her health care needs and security.

If your parents are still in good health, you have time to discuss such questions and issues a bit at a time. However, if your elderly parent is facing serious health issues or difficulty with finances, you need to understand his or her financial situation as soon as possible. In many cases, seniors are more willing to discuss their finances with a professional than with other family members, so don't hesitate to make such a suggestion if you feel it's necessary.

Anticipating Future Needs

One of the most important things to consider when discussing finances with Mom or Dad is to determine how their financial situation may change in one year, three years, or even five years down the line. Does Mom have long-term health care insurance? Does Dad understand the benefits and limitations of Medicare and Medicaid? See Medicare - Medicaid Page Remind Mom or Dad that many seniors spend anywhere between $20,000 and $100,000 every year on long-term care.

Make sure Mom or Dad understands the limitations of long-term health insurance as well as the benefits and limitations of Medicaid and Medicare services and what each covers and doesn't cover.

Whenever possible, consider consolidating bills, accounts, and arrange for bills to be paid automatically, and make arrangements for direct deposits of Social Security and pension checks. Do whatever you can to help simplify Mom or Dad's financial situation and make such plans accessible in the event of an emergency. Keep your elderly parent’s priorities in mind and do your best to ensure that their remaining years are as free from stress and worry as you possibly can.

Talking with Mom and Dad

Financial Issues Caring for Mom and Dad - Will there be enough to last?

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