When it comes to finances, older adults can sometimes be tight-lipped. If they’re concerned about losing control of their money—and therefore losing their autonomy—they may not confide in you or in another caregiver. Unfortunately, financial problems can quickly escalate if they’re not dealt with quickly. Even if you don’t hear the details of their financial life, there are some signs that can alert you to the financial security of the seniors in your life.
Too Much, Too Little
Everyone deserves a little indulgence, especially seniors who are retired and finally relaxing after long years of work. But if their house is full of pricy new appliances, furniture, art, or if they’re eating out often at the most expensive spots in town, they may be spending out of control. In extreme cases, a sudden change in purchases or expenses can be a sign of impaired judgment.
On the other hand, not all issues with senior finances are issues of overspending. If your loved one complains about not having enough money, or if they retreat and isolate themselves rather than spend money, pay attention. This may not be a sign that money is actually tight, but that the finances are just too much for them to navigate on their own.
Unopened Mail, Unanswered Calls
When you visit your loved one, are there piles of unopened mail lying around? Mortgage statements, credit card bills, even utilities and notices from Social Security can all be languishing in those piles. As seniors age, the monthly task of paying bills can become overwhelming, especially if money is scarce.
If you’re worried about your senior’s financial situation, see if you can look at their phone records, which sometimes appear on bills. If they’re having trouble, there will surely be calls from creditors, bill collectors, or services seeking back wages that have been forgotten by your loved one.
Mind & Body
Does the person you’re caring for seem forgetful or dismissive about cash? Do they open their wallet and are surprised that it’s empty? If this happens often, or if you see checks or pensions laying around without being deposited, they might be struggling with the focus and memory aspects of managing their finances.
Physically too, seniors may run into difficulties managing their money. For example, paying bills by mail can be difficult for those with arthritis, calling the bank can be frustrating for those with hearing loss, and if leaving the house is a chore, they may forgo trips to the ATM or the bank.
Know Your Scams
Unfortunately, older adults are particularly susceptible to scam artists and telemarketers. Some of these con artists specifically target older adults who appear vulnerable. If you see solicitations for investment schemes or timeshare vacation homes, or if your loved one speaks enthusiastically about new investments, it isn’t irrational to feel wary.
At AlmaVia of Union City, we understand that striking a balance between financial independence and financial security can be difficult for seniors and their loved ones. For more information on how we can help seniors manage daily living activities, call 510-400-7250.