How often have you heard someone talking about the future of our seniors citizen and end up saying “Well, we’ll just let the government take care of them”? You all saw that disgusting ad about pushing Granny off the cliff!
Yes, there is uncertainty and fear but that was a bit too much! Yes, there are families out there who don’t give a darn about their aging parents, but for every one of those slackers out there, there are hundreds of loving and generous caregivers who go to the wall for their aging parents and neighbors every day of the week.
…But despite all the years of hard work and planning there are some elderly who just can’t do it alone. Our role is to educate and help give support.
According to the National Council of Aging Report in January, less than 10% of the nation’s 38 million elderly people are living in poverty. But once medical care and other costs of living are factored in, the number of people aged 65+ living in poverty jumps to 16%.
With all the upheaval and regulatory explosions, more and more of our elderly and frail elderly will be affected financially and the numbers will increase accordingly.
Could it be that Grandma and her college-aged Grandchildren will both be eating ramen noodles every day? Will we see our elderly and seniors sitting around wrapped in blankets because utility costs have skyrocketed?
Remember, Grandma’s generation carried the filled coal bucket into the house when it was wintery cold and stoked the stove to heat the house. Adapting was a part of Grandma’s life.
It may be taboo to talk about money, but as Betty White said with the AARP ad “GET OVER IT,”
These are tough times and we can’t help our aging loved ones if we don’t know their real story! For most families this is a very emotional subject and parents often say it isn’t our business BUT press forward we must.
Remember, Grandma and Grandpa understand the great depression. They lived it!
In the last few weeks, the elderly have seen their investments get smaller and smaller. Their nest egg may have cracked. Their money is buying less and prices are heading up. Hardest hit with increases: food, utility bills, medical cost – all vital to the aging seniors. So, now may be the time to start a serious and intellectual discussion about money and the future.
For some, it is easier to start the conversation with your aging parent with a preset list of questions. For others, observing will tell the story. Such as, are there past due bills thrown about, have there been disconnects, is the furnace or air conditioning being rationed, is there food in the refrigerator, is housekeeping slipping fast and safety a concern, are appointments being missed? It is much easier to have the conversation while the aging loved one is able to make reasonable decisions.
To start the conversation, think about the following:
- Investments- stocks, bonds, real estate holdings, jewelry, precious gems, art and antiques.
What is the value and where are these assets…..who manages the names, address and phone numbers.
- Are the items in the investment portfolio secure and who can make changes….does a family member’s name need to be added?
- This is the most difficult! What is the current status with all liabilities, debts, financial obligations, and banking accounts? What is the income to debt ratio? Is there a rainy day fund?
- What are monthly costs for food, housing, taxes, medical needs (including prescription drugs), utility costs, maintenance and upkeep?
Who do they turn to for money questions and legal advice? Who does Grandma go to for emergencies? Tough questions to ask a person you love so much.
Approach your elderly parents and grandparents with care and compassion. What is worse than asking is not asking until they are unable to make a decision or they pass away without you understanding anything about their finances? JUST do it now…start the conversation.
The unexpected is ever present!
Diana Beam is an entrepreneur with a vision and a heart for the elderly. She has more than 30 years of experience as a teacher, long term care administrator, home health care pioneer, senior real estate specialist and owner of Keeping in Touch Solutions. Her passion is to see working women and men with elderly parents set free from guilt of not having time or proximity to their aging parents and helping the elderly with their aging needs and transition challenges. Diana lives in Indiana with her husband Ron and they have 3 grown children, 2 grandsons and a golden retriever named Hope and a calico cat named Ms Dottie. Grab her free report, 7 ways to provide maximum support to your parents, today. If you’d like to learn more about Diana and how she helps elderly clients through Keeping in Touch Solutions, check out her website at www.