Top 5 Ways To Help Aging Loved Ones
When your aging parents or other loved ones need help, it can be unsettling and overwhelming. It often happens gradually and perhaps unnoticed, and then suddenly can become urgent to figure out what they need, understand the many options, and then step in to make decisions. From talking to our clients, we have identified 5 of the most common issues that arise with caring for and helping aging loved ones.
1. Identifying There is a Problem
The first step in helping your aging loved one is to identify signs that there is an issue. If there is a physical issue, that makes it easier to identify. If their need is related to brain function such as dementia, it can be much more difficult to spot and often comes on gradually. In addition to the typical signs such as memory loss and forgetfulness other things to watch for include suddenly becoming disorganized with finances, missing important payments, and accumulating credit card balances.
2. Deciding What Help is Needed and Taking Action
Once you identify there is an issue, don’t hesitate to take action and assess what help they need. What medical needs do they have? Do they need in-home care? Will they need help with finances and paying bills? Is their home set up adequately for them to safely get around? If possible, bring in other family members to help. Or seek professional help – there are many services available that can provide in-home care, assist with paying bills, or even help get groceries. The Alzheimer’s Association website is a good place to start researching options – https://www.alz.org/help-support/community
3. Getting Organized and Managing Cashflow
Helping to get organized with finances can be overwhelming, and we often talk to clients who are wondering what their aging loved one can afford to spend for additional care. Simplify where you can by identifying all of their accounts and consolidating where possible. Once you know the available resources, you can develop a financial plan and budget to provide the care they need.
4. Estate Planning Considerations
Working with an attorney to develop a solid estate plan can help reduce estate taxes and avoid legal issues, but it can also ensure the right people have access and authority to help out when needed. Help your aging loved one review their documents to make sure they have a Power of Attorney for both Property and Health Care. If a trust is established, review who will act as trustee. And then review brokerage and bank accounts to make sure the right people are added to those accounts so they can act.
5. Planning for Assisted Living and Nursing Care
When helping an aging loved one, it is also important to assess their living conditions and come up with a plan for them to live where they can receive the care they need. There are many in-home care options available that can be customized. Or they might be better served moving to an assisted living facility. Planning for the timing of when to make a move, as well as the cost, is crucial.
In summary, helping with aging parents or other loved ones is an issue that more and more people are finding they must deal with, and it can be overwhelming. It can be helpful to take a step back and think of these five areas to develop a focused plan to get them the help they need.
Adam is a Wealth Manager at BDF. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and earned a BS in Finance from Northern Illinois University. He has over 15 years of experience working in finance. In addition to serving BDF clients as a Wealth Manager, he also specializes in helping families with aging parents and loved ones and also serves as BDF's Director of Compliance.