Anytime a loved one is diagnosed with an illness such as dementia, the whole family will go through many changes in the coming months and years. In the beginning, it might still be easy for your loved one to do simple tasks around the house such as manage their own accounts, but as the disease progresses, everyday tasks like balancing a checkbook or providing the correct change at a store can prove to be more difficult for your loved one. With the risk of fraud and scams looming around the most vulnerable in society, it’s crucial that you come up with the best ways to help your loved one manage their money correctly as they fight through their disease.
Here are some ways you can help a loved one with dementia manage their money.
It’s important to establish Power of Attorney early on in the diagnosis when your loved one is still able to make decisions. Ensuring that someone can handle financial and legal issues as your loved one’s disease progresses is extremely important. A Power of Attorney will make it easier for you to manage critical issues than if you attempt to make changes later on without it.
Also, talk to your loved one about how they would like to handle estate planning and long-term care. These are all tough conversations, but knowing your loved one’s intentions about how they want to invest their money and spend their later years will make other financial decisions more manageable.
There are also some things that you can do day-to-day to help your loved one manage their money.
- Begin to add co-signers to bank accounts and authorized users to credit cards. This will help you if you need to access an account to solve a problem in the future.
- Limit credit card access. Cut down the number of cards your loved one carries to minimize the opportunity for fraud.
- Sit down with your loved one and help him or her pay her bills on a regular basis. Whether this is weekly or monthly, make time to build trust with your loved one, so he or she knows you have their best interest in mind.
- Automate bill paying as much as possible. This will reduce the chances that a statement will go unpaid.
- Inform trusted bankers of your loved one’s condition, especially if you have a regular banker at a branch. Let them know who you are and that you will be accompanying your loved one to the bank and helping to make decisions.
- Review your loved one’s credit statements and reports regularly to monitor for any suspicious activity or spending.
If you notice that your loved one is having difficulty counting change or forgetting to pay regular bills, it might be time to have the important conversations about money management. The earlier you talk to them, the better, as the disease will slowly rob them of the ability to handle some of these tasks alone.
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Farrell, C. (2017, November 01). Managing Finances For A Loved One With Dementia. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2017/10/31/managing-finances-for-a-loved-one-with-dementia/#13798b3f3607
Dementia and Managing Money: Helpful Tips for the Caregiver. (2017, June 13). Retrieved from https://www.brightfocus.org/alzheimers/article/dementia-and-managing-money-helpful-tips-caregiver