Part 1 – Talking Money – The Must-Have Conversation: This is a tough conversation . . . I had trouble writing my post last night for you. Talking money anytime is difficult, and doing it with your parents is even worse. If you’d like some advice, try this link. They have some ideas that might be helpful for you. Link: 6 Ways To Help Your Aging Parents With Their Investments | Bankrate
I was lucky . . . I didn’t have to initiate the talk. My parents did – after my dad’s heart attack. It changed their lives. They survived quadruple bypass together. Then they patched the potholes they found during that experience. They organized their important papers and told us where to find the things they’d need, like insurance and bank accounts.
Then they made out their wills. They set up medical and financial powers of attorney to take care of each other. They added clauses to allow my sister and I to help them, if they couldn’t help themselves.
I didn’t want to look at that information when they first put it together, but now looking back, I’m glad my parents made me do it. At some point in the last few years, I realized . . . that it’s my turn. My husband and I need to have that talk with our kids. We need to put our information together. We need to set up wills, and power of attorneys, but for now, my husband and I are putting it off, like we’ve done for years. It’s easier to put things off, than to push through to do them.
Part 2 – Protecting Parents with Alzheimer’s: If you read Part 1, you’re on track to help your parents. If you haven’t, check out this link. It can help you catch up.
Link: A caregiver's guide: Finance protection for those with Alzheimer's - CreditCards.com
My father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s back in 2011. He lived with it until he died in 2015. Mom managed the house, the finances, and watched over Dad during those years. She was sharp as a tack then, and she still is!
Mom’s mind is sound, but slowly, over the years, her body has weakened. Now she can’t live alone, so she moved into a senior citizen home in 2019. Mom still makes her own decisions, financially and otherwise, but I do her shopping and pay her bills.
These tools helped me help her.
The Financial POA helps Mom the most. Through it she grants me the power to do the things she needs done. If she ever changed her mind, she could take my name off and put someone else’s on. Over the years we’ve learned to work together; to listen to each other. I try to give her room to make choices, and I try not to make them for her. She tries to listen to what I can do for her, and what I can’t. It takes teamwork from both of us. It will take the same for you and your parents.
If it’s hard for your parents to make good choices, you can set up a Revocable Trust. It limits how much your parents can spend, but it may change your relationship. No parent likes to be told what to do by the child they raised.
If your parents are no longer of sound mind, you can set up a conservatorship by going to court. You’ll have to prove your case to a judge. If they agree, they’ll set up a guardian to make decisions. The guardian would control their checkbook and credit cards. It’s a last resort; one I didn’t have to use. My parents helped me into this world, and now it’s my turn to help them leave it behind.
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!