Talking about finances with your elderly loved one can be uncomfortable. However, financial struggles can be a sign of more serious problems, so make sure to pay attention to these warning signs.
Take a Look Around Their Home
Take note of any big red flags around your loved one’s living quarters. Look for stacks of unopened mail, undeposited checks, or late payment notices. This could be a sign of financial trouble or declining cognitive health. You can also check their call history or messages to see if creditors are calling, or for evidence of elder fraud or a financial scam. Check out this article from U.S. News & World Report for more ways to identify elder fraud.
As you look around, another thing to note is significant or strange purchases. Out-of-the-blue splurges or unwise spending can be an early warning sign of memory loss. If you’re witnessing new behavior patterns or out-of-the-ordinary spending, it’s worth it to do some investigating.
The last clue to look for is the house itself. If your loved one has let repairs or maintenance go, it could be because they are overwhelmed by daily living activities or the cost of upkeep on the house.
Changes in Schedule or Behavior
Any change in behavior is a red flag when it comes to senior health and senior finances. If they are declining invitations, staying home, and not visiting their favorite spots, it could be a sign that something’s amiss. Look for any unusual change in behavior or shift in their normal schedule, as it could be an indicator that something bigger is going on – such as financial distress or health issues.
One of the best ways to gauge your loved one’s financial status is to keep an ear out for verbal cues or to simply ask them directly. They might comment on money being tight, or you may notice their card is getting declined at dinner or the store. The important part is filtering what behaviors and comments are new, and addressing the why behind it.
When To Step In
Elderly financial problems can go from bad to worse in a hurry. They can lead to sudden health changes from all the stress or lead to changes in lifestyle needs that can prove devastating if your loved one is not prepared for them. Being mindful and having a financial plan with your loved one is the best way to keep everyone safe, healthy, and financially secure. If you notice any of these warning signs, it’s time to step in and investigate. Need pointers for talking to your loved one about finances? Check out these seven helpful tips courtesy of PBS.
If your loved one needs help with daily life activities, Careage offers senior living as well as at-home care options that can help them maintain their autonomy. Find a community near you today to find out more.