Keeping Your Caree's Financial House in Order


Keeping Your Caree's Financial House in Order

money-bagsIt may be a problem of remembering but it will rear its ugly head in the numbers. Research indicates that the first sign of a problem, like Alzheimer's, often shows itself the finances. Bills don't get paid, checks bounce and collection agencies call.

How do you make sure your caree's finances stay in good shape?

Consider Emily, who lives with her grandmother, Gram, who is 91 years old, head-strong and losing her memory. Emily wants to be respectful of her grandmother's desire to be independent; managing her money provides her a much-desired sense of control. Emily also knows that her grandmother has made critical errors with her checkbook and has been sending too much money to charities, who seem to solicit at a non-stop rate.

Emily, who is her grandmother's durable power of attorney for health care and finances, made an appointment with her grandmother's doctor to explain her concerns. The doctor agreed it's time for Emily to take over the finances. Having the doctor on board gave Emily the confidence and reassurance that she's right to step in. Emily and her uncle will begin to explain the change to Emily's grandmother.

If you're unsure how well your caree manages the finances, then make bill-paying a shared activity. You can understand your family member's routine and then actually observe the bills getting paid. When you have a concern about what you see, ask questions to get a better understanding of your family member's situation.

As you begin to manage an caree's finances, consider the following:

1. Contact the National Do Not Call Registry to stop solicitations from telemarketers. You can register home and cell-phone numbers free at or by calling 888-382-1222.

2. Check annual credit reports and consider freezing credit. Freezing an caree’s credit report means that new credit can’t be opened in his or her name, protecting your caree from fraudulent use of his or her credit.

3. A financial planner can help organize the finances, including investments, so that the money will be available if and when long-term care becomes necessary. You can search for financial planners at National Association of Personal Financial Advisors website.

4. Be sure you have a durable power of attorney for health care and finances. An elderlaw attorney can assist you and your caree with this critical legal document which ensures you can make decisions if your family member can't. Search for an elderlaw attorney at National Academy of ElderLaw Attorneys website.

5. Have your caree evaluated by his or her physician. A complete physical can undercover any medical issues causing problems. In addition, the physician can be a resource during difficult discussions, such as managing finances.

These changes can seem so unsettling. You hate to take away and yet you understand what could be lost (financial security) if you don't. Your caree's safety is the goal. As you work toward reaching the goal, you may experience a lot of resistance. That's okay.

Continue to work toward making the changes you know will protect your caree. Avoid making decisions simply because you don't want to make your caree mad. Instead, make decisions that will keep your caree safe. The anger will reside.


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In a sense, I have it easy here because I pay all the bills and take care of all the finances. My partner has some money, but she doesn't touch it. My main (and small) frustration is that when I pay for her health insurance and medical care and she receives a refund, she often does nothing with the checks (there are currently two that have lain around for months) -- and since they're made out to her, I can't touch them, either, even though I have durable POA and healthcare proxy. She doesn't want me nagging her about them, either.\r\n\r\nMy main concern has had to do with getting bills paid and finances attended to if anything happens to me. Fortunately, I was able to set something up with a financial advisor, which would take care of those details for me if I were incapacitated.