This is an article I decided to write based on services we have been offering seniors in the Bucks County area. Paper management for seniors. Managing every day finances, bills and insurance claims can be extremely stressful as our parents and grandparents age.
We support many of our seniors by helping them manage their day-to-day affairs. Although the challenges of aging make some of these tasks difficult to complete, having reliable ongoing assistance can be the key to helping an older adult maintain more independence.
In today’s high tech world, many senior citizens are fearful of computers, passwords and technology. It’s not something they grew up with and with many aging adults, they are often resistant to “change”.
This being said, imagine what it takes for you on a daily and monthly basis to pay bills, balance a check book, complete insurance claims, or manage household maintenance.
It’s too much for many seniors to handle, especially when you factor in cognitive memory issues, arthritis, failing eyesight, and hearing impairment.
So inevitably, this responsibility tends to fall upon their children, the sandwich generation. But with ongoing needs in their own lives, raising families and working, this is a task that often gets overlooked.
How can you best assist your loved one?
Here are a few key points we would like to educate you on…
1. We encourage you to seek out help
If you or a relative is having trouble paying bills and managing life’s paperwork, hiring a professional to handle the ongoing needs or a bill paying service might help maintain independence and protect financial investments.
2. Monitor credit cards
Make it a point to watch credit cards and reoccurring fees. I have been witness several times to seniors “signing up” for various “programs” and such that are not a necessity. These ongoing monthly fees easily add up.
Be diligent in reviewing credit card statements every month. Watch for things like magazine subscriptions, monthly fees, overdraft protection and other unnecessary charges. (There is always a 1-800 # listed next to the charges you can call to inquire about such fees)
3. Double check bank statements
Observe who your loved ones are writing checks to. Verify the validity and compare to the bank statement. This too I have witnessed. Checks being written by “in home” help for example. ALWAYS be observing their payments for fraudulent activity.
And sadly caregivers are often the culprit.
4. Remove from “junk mail”
Many seniors (especially those who have an ability to give) often donate to charities and send money into “sweepstakes” type offerings.
Help them review their mail and discard those items that seem “scammy”.
You can help minimize this by removing them from junk mail databases:
- To remove yourself from credit card promotional mailings, call 1-888-567-8688 or try www.optoutprescreen.com
- To remove yourself from those pesky mailing lists, try www.directmail.com
Continue to observe and record (for tax purposes) all donations they make. I personally have one client who has a heart of gold and gives to every single donation solicitation she receives in the mail. If they are receptive, have a conversation and decide upon just 2 or 3 key organizations they can give to every year.
Unfortunately, fraud and scams are an ongoing problem with the elderly and their money.
Having a professional looking in on them not only helps them to maintain their autonomy, but can prevent catastrophic loss as well.
Give them and yourself a little peace of mind…
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