How To Discuss Finances With Aging Loved Ones

Join us Tuesday, November 29 at 3 p.m. Pacific time for a free webinar on finances and senior living, hosted by Emily Schwarz of ElderLife Financial!

It’s usually not a preferred topic of conversation around the dinner table, but as loved ones age, there’s an uncomfortable subject that families need to be open about:

Finances.

As the prospect of senior living becomes more likely, it requires families to have open, honest dialogue about finances.

There’s a wide range of topics that need to be discussed: power of attorney, wills and inheritances, how much is available to pay for senior living, and much more. It’s particularly vital if an aging loved one is showing signs of cognitive decline or has received a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease – in that case, it’s common for people with memory loss to make unusual or spontaneous decisions with their money or be the victims of scams.

To help facilitate those conversations, here are five tips to getting started:

  • Put Yourself in the Right Frame of Mind

Yes, the conversation is with loved ones, but you also need to process your own feelings before starting. Whether you’re worried about their situation, frustrated, anxious or some combination of all of those emotions, you need to understand your own mindset before talking to them and prepare accordingly so that the conversation stays empathetic and productive.

  • Bring It Up Organically

Rather than call a family meeting or do it in a way that can be uncomfortable, try to center the conversation around current events. If you’re watching the news and there’s a story on the economy, pivot that into a conversation on the topic. Or, if you have family or friends who have recently moved into senior living, mention their situation and start the conversation that way.

  • Focus On Their Wishes

Position the conversation in such a way that you want to help ensure they remain comfortable and can continue to live the lifestyle they wish. Discuss their plans and goals for retirement and their senior years and how you can help them get there. Try to stay away initially from specifics of inheritances and who in your family will receive what.

  • Talk To An Expert

If your parents or aging loved ones are uncomfortable discussing finances with you, consider inviting them to meet with an expert in senior finance. An experienced financial planner who specializes in working with older adults will know concerns to address, issues to consider and help make a list of important paperwork they might need to collect.

  • Expect Several Conversations

The topic of finances with your loved ones isn’t something that will be solved in a tidy hour-long conversation. Expect it to be a process and be patient. It can be a difficult subject and could take your loved ones time to process their feelings and evaluate what they want to do. Listen to them, let them sort out their feelings and be there for them on this journey. 

At Prestige, our teams have experience in helping families through this delicate process. We know the questions to ask and can sometimes find breakthroughs in unexpected ways. Find the location nearest you to contact our team to get started!