How to Help Your Elderly Parent With Money

Whether it happens suddenly due to injury or accident, or more slowly over months or years, there comes a point where family caregivers must step in and assist their elderly parent with finances. Of course, much depends on what the elderly adult’s finances are like but for the most part, there are certain steps that caregivers can take to handle money matters and keep everything up to date and paid on time.

Caregiver in Ada MI: Helping with Your Parent's Finances

Caregiver in Ada MI: Helping with Your Parent’s Finances

The first thing to do is to find all the financial accounts and legal documents for that person.

Some people are highly organized and have all the information in one place. However, most of the time, the family caregiver may have to search around to get all the information. Previous tax returns are a good place to turn, as is their financial advisor or accountant. It’s important for family caregivers to gather all the financial information of their elderly parent.

Caregivers must then list all the assets and all the expenses for the elderly person. Some things must be paid right away and other things may be able to wait for a bit. Many family caregivers are surprised to find that many bills are behind or have gone unpaid even if there is enough money. As their parent’s health and abilities decline, many seniors simply forget to pay bills. Caregivers should get current on everything as soon as possible.

If the financial responsibility is to become permanent, caregivers need to arrange for power of attorney, living trust or some similar setup.

This legal arrangement allows the caregiver to handle the accounts indefinitely. Many financial institutions require legal documentation before they will add a family caregiver’s name to any accounts. Many family caregivers must prove that their parent is no longer able to handle their finances and they become the legal guardian of their parent’s assets.

Family caregivers should document everything they do on behalf of their elderly parent. From keeping checkbook duplicates and bank statements to receipts and more, family caregivers must be able to show they are doing everything responsibly. Not only is it a good habit, it can also help with accountability when it comes to dealing with other family members such as siblings.

It’s also helpful to have witnesses when needed such as when opening a parent’s safe deposit box at the bank or selling valuables. This practice can eliminate accusations of a family caregiver taking from the elderly parent or otherwise taking money for their own needs. Many family caregivers find that meeting with a financial planner or attorney that specializes in estates, living trusts, and wills is helpful in setting up a proper system to manage finances.

It’s never a positive experience for family caregivers to see that their aging parent has diminished enough that they can no longer handle their finances. At least they have a loving and caring family member that can take responsibility and ensure that their financial situation will be stable for years to come.

If you or someone you know needs help with caregiver services in Ada, MI, contact Gauthier Family Home Care. We provide quality and affordable home care services in our community. Call us at (616) 258-2300 for more information.




About Dan Gauthier

Dan Gauthier has a long and successful business pedigree. He spent his college years working in the restaurant business and worked in various executive management positions at Universal Forest Products, Inc. over a span of 17 years, and Therm Technology / Family Safety Products for 12 years.

When the recession hit in 2008 Dan was “downsized” from UFP and spent a few years consulting for local companies Amway and Cascade Engineering. During this period Dan’s in-laws were experiencing catastrophic health problems and it required Dan’s wife Marion to focus full time on caregiving for her mother. Marion enlisted help from a local home care agency and it did not go well. This experience led to the creation of Gauthier Family Home Care, a home care agency that is uniquely holistic and family centric. Dan now works full time running GFHC.