Are you a caregiver for a parent or grandparent? Unfortunately, that demographic is often the target for financial fraud. This month’s Financial Friday is chock-full of financial advice for caregivers.
Financial Advice for Caregivers
by Jennifer Wake
When I was young, I always thought I would grow up to be a teacher, or a mom. Both jobs take care of children, which is what excited me. But, to be honest, the thought about taking care of my parents never crossed my mind. All of my grandparents moved into nursing homes. Yet as my mother aged, she did not want to move into a nursing home.
This desire to stay in her own home started conversations about how the family could best help her. One of my sisters lived in the same town, but she was a teacher and could not be with our mother overnight. Being a military spouse meant frequent moves, so sometimes I could drive to help but other times it would require a long flight to get back. My younger sister helped when she wasn’t teaching as a professor. After a lot of travel and hours away from our respective families, we had to find a caregiver to come in and help our mom.
We enjoyed getting to know several caregivers over the years. They were great ladies who selflessly helped mom with bathing, cooking, and light housework. Yet, we still had to find a cleaning service and schedule doctor appointments when one of us could be with her. It became quite the balancing act for us.
I flew back to help every four to six weeks. I never felt like I was doing enough to help her. My sisters carried most of the responsibilities. Although it was difficult, we knew we were honoring God by taking care of her.
But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God.
1 Timothy 5:4
After I became an Accredited Financial Counselor, my mother allowed me to help her with her finances.
Most parents do not want to share financial information with their children. It is common to not share their account information with family members or answer questions. Yet they will answer those same questions over the phone without knowing who they are talking to, which can lead to fraud.
There have been many studies about why they won’t share, but the fact still remains that many people over 60 have fallen victim to some sort of financial fraud or abuse. As military members we are reminded to change our passwords regularly and secure our private information. Yet, changing passwords for a senior citizen can be a very challenging exercise. They will write their passwords down which then allows visitors or caretakers access to them.
People with dementia are often the victims of financial issues.
They open credit cards and forget to pay them. They receive bills which they don’t pay. Checks can arrive and never get deposited. The federal government has finally realized sending checks can lead to people stealing them or not depositing them. The use of Direct Deposit for social security benefits and tax refunds help with getting people the money they deserve.
As children of aging parents it is hard to keep everything organized.
AARP partnered with some military accredited financial counselors to create “Military Financial Workbook for Veteran and Military Family Caregivers.” This is a fillable form so you can store all the information and share it with your family members.
As we look to the future, we know there are people who want to take advantage of seniors and will continue to become smarter and sneakier. We need to honor our parents by helping protect them from scammers and elder abuse.
If you’re trying to teach finances to the next generation, check out Jennifer’s great post, 5 Ways to Teach Finances to Children.