Remaining independent and aging in place is usually a goal for all adults. Being able to live in the family home and take care of the finances and other household chores is important for both mind and body for the aging senior and their adult children. There may come a time though when the adult children begin to notice signs that their parents are unable to live alone and steps must be taken.
The steps don’t necessarily need to be as drastic as downsizing to a retirement home, but could be as simple as equipping the home with a medical alert system. These devices help seniors remain independent for much longer because they not only offer peace of mind but provide access to medical care at the push of a button.
Here are five warning signs that adult children should be aware of and address:
- Are the bills delinquent? If there is money available to pay the bills, but they aren’t getting paid on time, there could be any number of reasons. Remaining current on bills, especially the utility bills could mean the difference between having heat and electricity or not. If there has been the loss of one of the spouses, you may find that the deceased spouse had been the one responsible for paying the bills and the remaining spouse is not equipped to take on the role.
- Are they spending their money wisely? There are many individuals out there who prey on the elderly either by conning them out of their money or by convincing them to buy goods or services that they simply don’t need. Impress upon your aging parents the fact that they shouldn’t buy anything from anyone that is going door-to-door. They should also not fall prey to individuals that call them and ask for their personal financial information.
- Is the house falling into disrepair or is it becoming cluttered? If your parents were at one time scrupulous about keeping the interior and exterior of the home properly maintained and that is no longer happening, it may mean they are in need of assistance with both inside and outside help. If a family member can’t take on the role of caregiver or maintenance person, you may need to hire an individual to take on the task. Check references before hiring anyone and trusting them with your relatives.
- Are they making changes to financial accounts? If your parents are opening or closing bank accounts and adding other individuals to these accounts, this should raise a red flag. Also, make certain they are not purchasing or cancelling insurance policies again these are scams perpetrated on seniors by con artists. There have also been instances where an in-home caregiver has bilked the senior out of funds through fraudulent means. Impress upon your parents the fact that no changes should be made to bank accounts or insurance policies without first talking to family members.
- Take the time to run an annual (free) credit report on your parents behalf; this is a great way to monitor their credit for unusual activities and make certain they haven’t been the victim of any identity theft.
It may not be an easy conversation to have with your aging parents as they will want you to believe they are still able to live independently, but if you let them know you’re concerned, chances are you can have an open and honest conversation about their finances and living arrangements. As long as they are aware that you have their best interests at heart, they are more likely to be forthcoming.