Posted on: April 22, 2020

Family financial matters tend to be a forbidden topic, as well as the root of a variety of arguments, enhanced emotions, and misunderstandings. And for a lot of today’s older adults, who maintain a “Depression mentality” from years of saving for a rainy day and learning to “waste not, want not,” it may be difficult for them to grant access to personal finances to adult children, and to recognize the need to spend some of those personal finances on long-term care management.

Speaking with an aging loved one about money and caregiving is most effective when begun before the need arises, understanding it might take several conversations before an agreement can be achieved. These conversation starters can really help:

  • “Dad, sooner or later, we have to make some choices regarding the future. Now may be a great time to relax together and examine your wishes, along with the financial side of making sure we can adhere to those wishes.”
  • “Mom, I know you’re managing your money just fine now, but what if something were to happen to your overall health that prevented you from paying your bills on time? It would be important to have a backup plan ready to go. Let’s sit down and devise one.”
  • “Mom and Dad, you’ve always been so competent at handling your finances and providing for us while we were little. We want to be sure to continue that legacy, as well as to understand how best to help the two of you meet your financial obligations if the time comes that you need some assistance with that.”

It’s also useful to share real-life scenarios of a relative or neighbor who was exploited by identity theft, or a story from the news with regards to the ever-changing economy, stock market drops, changes to tax laws, etc. This tends to jumpstart a conversation about your aging parents’ own retirement plans and any financial fears for the future, letting you arrive at a mutually agreeable resolution, such as talking with a financial advisor together.

Above all, be sure to uphold a feeling of respect, never trying to “take over” your parents’ finances, but to provide the reassurance and peace of mind that their financial matters will continue to be managed effectively. Ask your parents for guidance and include them in the decision-making process. Daniel Lash, certified financial planner at VLP Financial Advisors, advises, “Tell them what you’re thinking about doing so you give them the power to tell you what they think you should do. It’s like they’re giving you advice because that’s what parents are good at – giving advice.”

Alivity Care Advocates offers consultations that can help older adults, as well as those who love them, understand the options for senior care services in southeast Michigan. In addition, we can help mediate challenging conversations like those related to finances. Contact us online, or at (248) 375-9125 for solutions to your long-term care management needs.