More Than Meets the Eye, True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife covers many aspects of the dying and grieving process and sheds light on euthanasia, suicide, near-death experience, and spirit visits after the passing of a loved one. ___________________________________________

Monday, June 10, 2013

Caregiving For Elderly Parents - Managing Money Issues

By Sharon Elrod

Many seniors have elderly parents for whom they provide caregiving. Senior citizens are helping each other when they talk about their various experiences with aging parents. These are some conversations recently observed among seniors talking about parenting their parents.

One had an aging parent in a nursing home in another city. On their behalf, they recently sold some property from an estate for which they were a beneficiary. The funds were then deposited in an account to be used exclusivly for the parent. The procedure was then explained to the parent, whereupon they stated that they expected the funds to be deposited in a local bank account, so they "...can write checks" to use the money. This elderly parent has a slight cognitive impairment and medical reports from several different offices have noted her poor judgment and inability to do effective reality testing over the past decade; she was also recently a victim of an identity theft scam that left her totally perplexed about how she was victimized. She hasn't had access to a checking account for several years, and it became the editor's job to determine how he would handle this situation with his mother.

He decided to write a letter to his mother detailing how the funds were reserved for her use, and why he would remain in control of them, which in effect meant she would not have direct access to the money. He asked her to keep the letter so when she had questions about why she couldn't write checks on the account, she could refer to the letter for a detailed explanation. The letter was written in kind and loving tones, using simple language she could easily understand. He expects to hear questions from her about the funds, and he will both answer the questions as well as refer her to the letter that explains the entire process. He is credited with maintaining a loving and supportive relationship with his mother throughout his life, never giving her any reason to doubt his intentions with relationship to her.

Another senior citizen is dealing with an aging parent who managed his own financial affairs until just the past couple of months. He is severely cognitively impaired and unable to remember anything beyond a few seconds. Long term memory is somewhat better, but even details are confused when he relates a memory from years ago. Over several months, it became clear to the editor and her siblings that he was unable to manage his various investments alone and, in fact, there was some concern about the possibility of identity theft and being a victim of scams on the elderly. She knew action had to be taken sooner rather than later.

She and her siblings agreed they would ask him to voluntarily execute the power of attorney he had prepared several decades ago, realizing that if he did not agree, they would be faced with having him declared mentally incompetent-a place none of them wanted to go. When approached about the POA, he readily agreed to execute it, which now allows two of them to participate in all financial decisions that must be made on his behalf. The siblings are credited with maintaining a loving relationship with him over eight decades which was likely the basis for him feeling comfortable with signing the document.

On the surface, these two experiences have very little in common. However, the seniors discussing the issue agreed they learned an important lesson in caregiving for elderly parents: There aren't any 'rules' for how to deal with financial issues with elderly parents. Each situation must be carefully evaluated, taking in to account all the dynamics and variables that affect where the parent is at a given point in time, knowing that can change in the future. The best advice coming from the discussion is to act from a position of love and caregiving for one's parent, evaluating medical, social, environmental, mental, emotional, psychological realities of the parent, and then asking yourselves how you would want your child/children to act if you were the one receiving care.

Article provided by Sharon Shaw Elrod. Senior Citizen Journal, Your Partner in Productive Aging, provides current and relevant information on topics of interest to seniors. Please visit my web site at

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