As unfortunate as it is, it’s a simple fact of life that we experience cognitive decline as we age, leading to a decreased sense of independence. This is never an easy thing, which is understandably why many older adults resist receiving help from their caregivers or family members, especially when it comes to finances.
Even though your loved one may be resistant, it is important that you get past these feelings of discomfort and talk about finances with your loved one, especially with the rising demand in elder care planning.
Below are seven strategies outlined by Go Banking Rates on how to talk about finances with your loved one:
1. Create a support system.
Handling a loved one’s finances can be a heavy burden, and this responsibility should not rest upon your shoulders alone. Seek help from your siblings, and it’s recommended that the sibling who is closest to your loved one begin the conversation. Just make sure that your loved one does not feel bombarded – explain that this is coming from a place of love and concern, not from the desire to take over every aspect of his/her life.
2. Share an example.
Think about how you react to something that you don’t fully understand – doesn’t an example help you see another point of view? The same can be said for this situation with your loved one. The example can be true or fictitious as long as it clearly explains why it is important for your loved one to share his/her financial information with you.
3. Talk about your plans.
Perhaps one of the reasons why your loved one resists sharing financial information is because they are simply not sure what steps they should be taking to plan ahead. This is when sharing your own financial preparations comes in handy. Once you explain your plans, ask your loved one about the actions he/she already completed.
4. Think about the future.
It can also be helpful to start the conversation with a broad topic, such as whether your loved one is considering retirement, rather than bluntly asking about their financial status. Other questions could be whether or not your loved one is considering downsizing at any point or the kind of care they want to receive should an emergency occur.
5. Follow an indirect approach.
Similar to the strategy above, this is another way to get your loved one to open up without confronting them too directly. The National Council on Aging’s BenefitsCheckup.org is a great resource for you and your loved one to discover if he/she is eligible for any benefits while allowing you to learn more about his/her monthly income and household spending.
6. Offer your help.
Offering to assist with your loved one’s tax preparations can be a good place to start, but if they’re still hesitant, start with something more basic and gradually work up to assisting with his/her finances.
7. Seek professional advice or help.
If all else fails, encourage them to seek help from a financial planner, elder law attorney or aging life care professional. Don’t be discouraged – most professionals will encourage your loved one to share financial information with you.
Remember that the sooner you talk about finances with your loved one, the better, and above all, be respectful. Start with the basics, and make sure you know if your loved one has a power of attorney document, a living will and a will.
Now that you know how to talk about finances with your loved one, click here to learn some tips to help you care for a loved one’s finances.