As your parents get older and experience a decline in health, you’ll have to think about their care needs. One way in which they will exhibit the signs that they can no longer care for themselves is by failing to meet their financial obligations. They will also make easier targets for scam artists. If you know what to look for, you’ll be better able to get them the help they need sooner.
If your senior parent has more than a couple unpaid bills or frequently receives delinquent payment notices, this may indicate a decline in cognitive functioning. Their memory may be impaired, causing them to forget to pay regular monthly bills. The problem most families experience is that parents are usually reluctant to discuss their finances with their adult children. They view it as an invasion of privacy, so you may have to be creative in how you approach this subject. You won’t want your parent to feel as though you’re checking up on them because that can prompt them to be more secretive.
Another sign that an elderly parent is showing signs of cognitive decline, which may also be a sign of dementia, is unusual spending. If they’re suddenly making frequent big purchases or cashing out savings accounts, they may need more supervision over their finances. You can talk to their financial advisor or consult an estate planning attorney about enacting a power of attorney that will give you control over their finances. This will ensure you’ll be made aware anytime your elderly parent wants to make significant financial transactions.
Scam artists target the elderly in particular because their cognitive decline makes them easier targets. They experience memory loss, an inability to concentrate, and other symptoms of cognitive decline that make it easier for others to deceive them. Often, the culprit is a caregiver or someone else known to them who convinces the elder to give them frequent cash gifts. It’s also common for a con artist to convince the senior to loan them their ATM card and tell them their PIN access code. Frequent withdrawals indicate this type of criminal activity is going on.
Financial abuse commonly affects elderly people so it’s important to be watchful for it in your family. Although you may not like the idea of taking over your elderly parent’s finances, it may be the best way to protect them from themselves and from others.