If a parent or older loved one is diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, their family members and caregivers have a new reality to adjust to as their disease is diagnosed and progresses.
From the emotional impact, to being mindful of their health and safety, there’s almost no element of day-to-day life that isn’t affected.
Which includes finances.
While discussing finances and money with loved ones is a topic that is difficult for many families, it becomes vital upon diagnosis. While many older adults are reluctant at the best of times to relinquish any control over their finances, there are a number of reasons why loved ones of those living with memory loss must have that conversation, particularly if you see any of the following:
- Unopened bills
- Second or third notices on unpaid bills
- Unusual purchases on credit cards
- More packages or shipments showing up than usual
- Checks written out that the older adult can’t remember
- Strange activity within their back account
As the disease progresses, it becomes harder for those older adults to perform some of the more complex personal finances that are required, like balancing a checkbook, managing credit cards and handling long-term financial planning.
If you’re concerned about the financial well-being of a parent or older loved one, we have some advice to help guide you through this complicated topic.
Start With Empathy
Your loved one likely knows it’s becoming harder to manage both day-to-day and long-term finances. But even with that said, turning over control of finances is a significant loss of independence. Dementia and Alzheimer’s take a lot away, and it’s important to understand that many older adults will struggle with this change.
It can be a good idea to sit down with a financial planner to map out the next steps and provide peace of mind to both yourself and your loved one.
But be patient and understanding as you go through this process with them.
If it is necessary to take over a loved one’s finances, or do so with a professional, work in tandem with that older loved one and allow them a measure of independence going forward.
In doing so, take precautions to help reduce the chances of your loved one losing money unnecessarily.
- Give them small amounts of cash for day-to-day purchases
- Lower your loved one’s credit card limit
- Look at any recurring bills, like subscriptions, to see if they can be ended
- Set up alerts on your phone for any activity on their bank account
Beware of Scams
It’s a sad reality that older adults living with dementia or Alzheimer’s are targets for unscrupulous people.
The schemes can range from telephone calls urging them to wire money to someone, to email scams to people entering their life and “borrowing” money that will never be repaid.
With memory loss, your loved might not remember who, when, why or how they gave money to someone who targeted them. Or, they may realize they’ve been a victim of fraud, and be too embarrassed to admit to it.
If your loved one has been victimized, or you feel they’re at risk, that’s when it becomes especially important to have a greater involvement in their finances.
At Prestige, our teams can help provide resources to families facing these situations. Contact the location nearest you to set up a tour and learn more about how we work with older adults and their families to maintain their safety and dignity.