Caring for elderly parents' finances

Helping parents a delicate task
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Caring for aging parents is tricky. As parents get older, adult children often worry about their ability to manage their finances. It's all too common for seniors to miss bills, spend all their money or become victims of scams.

If a parent is struck by a sudden illness, it may even be difficult to get their bills paid and make arrangements for care. Someone has to step in.

Ideally, adult children prepare by talking with their parents early in the game. They know where everything is, including the phone numbers of legal and financial professionals and paperwork to cover all contingencies.

In real life, however, parents often resist their children's attempts to help.

"Most people are reluctant to give up control," says Harry Margolis, a Boston elder law attorney. "They're hanging on as hard as they can."

Some children back off. It is their parents' money, after all. But if parents are in danger of not having their needs taken care of, or may be left destitute after a lifetime of saving, giving up is not an option.

If your parents need help with money management, or if they may need it soon, here's what to do.




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