It can be challenging to make financial decisions while avoiding scams at any age, but once you are 60 years or older or experience and unexpected illness such as Alzheimer’s disease or stroke, your capacity to make the right decisions regarding your finances starts to decline significantly. Compare health cover with this list of Medicare Advantage Plans and ensure that you have the best health coverage.

The inability to make the right financial decisions is usually referred to as diminished financial capability. Take the necessary steps today to prepare yourself and your family legally, emotionally, and financially to ensure that the future is secure

Warning Signs

Adults that experience diminished financial capacity usually have trouble paying their bills, tend to make irrational purchases, are often the victims in scams, and deplete their savings account.

Unexplained purchases, a disorganized checkbook, serious difficulties with credit, unpaid bills, and inappropriate investments are all indicators that a parent could be suffering from diminished financial capacity caused by cognitive decline.

Communication Barriers

69 percent of adults in the United States say that there are barriers towards communicating openly with family members regarding possible cognitive decline issues related to finances. The barriers tend to make it even harder to take care of parents that are in dire need of help.

The person suffering from cognitive decline might be afraid to lose their privacy or independence or feel embarrassed about requiring assistance with their financial decisions. Concerned members of the family might not know how to start a conversation about the person’s diminished capacity. Other members of the family might deny that any problem exists at all.

Tips for Family Members

To get rid of hurdles that may limit communication within the family:

Gather Information: Before taking care of your parent, it is first important to familiarize yourself with their needs. Learn as much as possible about the medical condition or disease impacting your parent’s financial capacity. Reach out to experts like the Alzheimer’s Association and attend support groups. If the cognitive decline is the result of grief, consider reaching out to a grief counselor. Finally, share your findings with the rest of the family.

Be Compassionate: Approach the person suffering from cognitive decline with compassion and patience and offer them your support and help. Another way to reach out would be to write them a letter that reminds them of how you are here to help that they can read again and again.

Divide Caregiving Duties: Taking care of a parent may easily become a full-time job. Have an open discussion with the rest of your siblings regarding the cognitive decline of the parent, what needs to be done, and the caregiving duties, if any, each sibling would like to play. Set up a schedule for caregiving that works for each sibling. Faraway family members can be kept up to date with weekly phone calls or emails.

Establish Power of Attorney: You should not only establish power of attorney but also health care power of attorney for each parent. All siblings that wish to take on this responsibility should be invited to do so. 

Get Your Affairs in Order: Use this experience to draft your own will and powers of attorney for your family members.

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