As the largest resource of information specific to women's brain health, we are sure you will find what you are looking for, and promise that you will discover new information.
Published on: April 19, 2019
by Rodney Brooks for Considerable:
Telling an elderly parent that they need to stop driving and taking away their car keys is one of the most difficult things adult children have to do.
But there is something that can be even more difficult. At some point you may realize that it’s time for you to take control of your parents’ finances.
“We deal with this all the time,” says Dave Geibel, senior vice president and managing director at Girard, King of Prussia, Pa. What makes it particularly difficult for Baby Boomers, Geibel says, is that their parents, from the Greatest Generation, are typically very private, particularly about their finances. “You have to balance when is it too early or too late,” he says. “Some parents will be crabby and difficult.”
Keep an eye out
Experts say you should look for the following signs that your parents aren’t keeping up with money responsibilities.
“Some of the obvious signs are when you see them getting forgetful, misplacing items, or acting different with finances,” says Kristian Finfrock, president of Retirement Income Strategies in Madison, Wis. “You may see purchases they haven’t historically made or repeated trips to the bank.”
Finfrock says one client discovered her elderly mother was a victim of elder scam. By the time she investigated her frequent trips to the bank, the client discovered that her Mom had sent scammers more than $100,000. The Senate Special Committee on Aging estimates that the elderly lose nearly $3 billion a year to financial scams.
Geibel had a client with dementia who forgot to pay her long-term care insurance premium and lost the coverage. “They had sent her five notices,” he said.
Have the conversation
“Every situation is different,” says Christine Benz, director of personal finance at Morningstar. “Children’s relationship with parents are so different. Feel them out to see how comfortable they are with you getting involved. From there determine the appropriate case of action.
“In many cases the catalyst for adult children getting involved is some sort of physical illness,” says Benz. “Maybe a parents needs knee replacement. That will sideline them from handling finances. In other cases, adult children may observe some cognitive decline. It’s reasonable to ask if there are things going with finances as well.”
Benz has first-hand experience. “In my parents’ case we had perfect relationship. I work in financial services. I lived two blocks from them. But, even with us we had slipups. Mom had been main bill payer. When mom had a fall, I noticed a supplement policy hadn’t been paid. She was struggling with taking care of my dad who had dementia. Even in relationship where everything seems air tight. There can be slippage.”
Get involved early on
Geibel says the earlier you get involved, the better. “If you see behavior changes, might have to get more aggressive,” he says.
“My advice is get involved while your parents are still healthy, and you can have a rational conversion,” he says. “If you wait until dementia or illness fits in, or your dad dies and mom isn’t ready, it will be harder. Chip away at iceberg instead of coming in with power of attorney.”
Even though the financial planner’s fiduciary duty is to the client, they can play a role in getting help with a client who is deteriorating mentally. In one case Geibel was able to get the son involved when his mother was suffering with dementia.
Sometimes you have to make tough decision,” he says. “You might have to get court involved. It will save you in the long run.”
On December 2nd, the first-ever Women’s Brain Health Day, take a stand, and upend the way we view dementia and other brain-aging diseases that disproportionately affect women. Literally. Join us and take part in the...
Many older American adults may inaccurately estimate their chances for developing dementia and do useless things to prevent it, new research suggests. Almost half of adults surveyed believed they were likely to develop dementia. The results suggest...
People do not think about their own brain health and are unsure how to maintain it, according to a recent interview study in the Lifebrain project. A healthy brain is essential for general health and wellbeing, and to prevent...
The material presented through the Think Tank feature on this website is in no way intended to replace professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner. WBHI strongly advises all questioners and viewers using this feature with health problems to consult a qualified physician, especially before starting any treatment. The materials provided on this website cannot and should not be used as a basis for diagnosis or choice of treatment. The materials are not exhaustive and cannot always respect all the most recent research in all areas of medicine.