Every Wednesday Grandma Barbara goes to the local grocery store to get her food and household supplies. Once a month she get her prescription refills from the pharmacy at the same store. But, last week while shopping she stared blankly for a few minutes at the meat counter as she tried to figure out her money situation.
Grandma Barbara is one of the many millions (6.2 million to be exact) of senior citizens who struggle every month to cover their medical bills, prescription drugs and have money for food and housing. Barbara has lived alone after her husband died a year ago following a lengthy and costly battle with cancer. She has health issues of her own but remains independent despite her health and eyesight problems. She really could use some help from family but her daughter lives out of state.
Unfortunately her only daughter lives miles away in Oregon. But she too is stressed out with a busy job and her five children… so getting home to see Mom is a challenge. Plus, Barbara refuses to leave the family home of 48 years. And now things are getting bleak.
Because her of husband’s medical condition and the stock market collapse of 2008, her late husband took out a reverse mortgage to pay daily expenses. Now she is feeling the financial pressures. While her husband was battling cancer they never talked about any of the financial ramifications. And now one year following his death she is unsure of all the financial papers her husband kept in the safe deposit box. She doesn’t even know where to start.
Who could help her?
Situations like Grandma Barbara’s are pretty common among families who have not taken the time to share and discuss family finances before it becomes a crisis. As many as 30% of aging parents need assistance in getting their matters in order because of visual impairments, poor physical conditions or maybe due loss of a spouse who handled the household finances.
So next time you go home to visit your elderly parents or loved one take heed..there are signs to look for and signs that you may need to call in outside help. One of the biggest signs is disorganized financial paper work, unopened bills, late statements, telephone call demanding payment or turning over debt collectors.
Discussing your financial situation is always a sensitive issue regardless of your financial status or age. It takes a lot of TLC and patience to help Grandma Barbara sort out her paperwork. Denial is always and problem…but collecting this can be a shared time with Grandma and lots of precious family stories will follow..
We found this list to be useful when helping Grandma organize her paperwork. (Consult with you local Elder Law Profession to see rules applicable for your state.)
1. Bank Statements.
2. All Credit card statements. (including passwords)
3. Safety deposit box location and instructions…inc key.
4. Retirement funds and brokerage firms (and account numbers) that parents have or had…
5. Who is Grandma’s accountant- attorney- brokerage firm…names and account numbers.
6. Types of loans-car loans-mortgages-personal loans- business loans accounts.
7. Business contracts and accounts.
8. Sources of income.
9. Retirement benefits, include VA for for veterans and spouse.
10. Homeowner’s deed and title.
11. Life insurance policies.
12. Collectables and art pieces.
13. Precious metals.
14. Preplanned burial papers.
15. Real Estate Investments.
16. Final wishes and instruction.
Many like Grandma Barbara are lonely and spend a lot of their time at home with limited interaction with the outside world or neighbors. Maybe the neighborhood has changed and all of Grandma friends have moved on or are married – maybe even relocated. Maybe Grandma Barbara would like to have a daily check in from one of our Friendly Care Callers?
At Keeping in Touch Solutions we are here to serve you….just knowing you don’t have to do it all by yourself is comforting. We call Mom on your behalf every day just to check in and see if she are taking their medications and is doing well.
A daily check-in call could be the lifeline, the joy you give someone that makes the biggest difference in their perception of what old age is like.
Contact me at 317-480-1038 today. Let’s make a difference together.
I’m Diana Beam, Founder of Keeping in Touch Solutions. It is my heartfelt desire for every person to live a happy and healthy life in the place they call home, no matter what their age. You can’t put a price on peace of mind for your parents and yourself. It’s priceless . . . and significant.
For that reason, the goal of every Keeping In Touch Solutions program is to provide a caring connection and service that both the elderly and their caregivers can rely on to make living that good life easier.
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