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bill paying

How to Handle Bill Paying as a Caregiver

Caring for an older loved one with dementia can sometimes be difficult.

But what makes it even more challenging is deciding who will handle the responsibility of your senior’s financial obligations when they’re no longer able to do it themselves.

FHC searched and found advice that suggests that starting the financial planning process early not only helps alleviate more stress and fear, but also allows older loved ones the chance to participate in the decision-making at an earlier stage in their diagnosis.

Organizations like alz.org that are advocates in the fight against Alzheimer’s, recommend first creating a long-term budget. They also suggest gathering important financial documents – this includes month bills or bills that are already outstanding, monthly sources of income, social security payment, pension and retirement benefit information, banks statements and insurance policies.

Then you can sit down with your elder and discuss exactly what role each participating family member will play in the process.

Some caregivers even enlist the help of a financial planner or estate planning attorney to examine their senior’s investment portfolio – emphasizing their long-term care needs, while determining tax deductions and potential financial resources.
While in the planning stages, there are some necessary expenses that you may need to budget for since these costs may or may not be covered under your loved one’s insurance plan.

They would include prescriptions, in-home care services, Alzheimer’s care, personal care supplies, and full-time residential care.

Keep in mind, your loved one’s needs are likely to change over time and often require adjustments to the budget.

One of the most difficult aspects of Alzheimer’s is its slow progression.

If don’t live with your senior, it may be hard to determine the extent of its effects on his or her daily life.

And if you’re already caring for a loved one with dementia and don’t have a financial plan in place, here are a few things you can do to help protect their investments.

Keep an eye out for signs of bills going unpaid or large sums of cash unaccounted for. Try having conversations with them to get an idea of how they may be handling their money and what their finances may be like – try doing so in a manner that their competence doesn’t feel like it’s being questioned.

Decide with your loved one who your family trusts to be the power of attorney and can legally make financial decisions for your senior. While this person is in charge of handling incoming mail, your older family member should retain some freedom to make decisions as well.

Assign someone the power of attorney to pay the bills, while allowing any money left over to be used by your senior to spend how they like.

If your older loved one receives social security, contact the Social Security Administration and request to be appointed as a Representative Payee – this way, you can help manage any incoming funds.

Make sure your loved one stays vigilant about financial predators and scammers. If they’re not familiar with the organization that is soliciting funds, request more information to be sent by mail or email.

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FHC