Caring for elderly parents' finances
What if a parent is spending recklessly?
Some seniors start uncharacteristically spending all their money, or even money they don't have.
For example, a depressed parent watching QVC all day may order dozens of porcelain figurines and not even remember doing so.
"You have Home Shopping Network cases, people signing up for Canadian lotteries," says Margolis.
It's helpful to have two or more people try talking to the parent about money not lasting forever and the importance of watching expenses. It's better if it doesn't all come from one person.
If that doesn't help, or if your parent is charging things on credit cards he or she can never pay back, you have a responsibility to intervene. You can call the credit card company and alert them to the problem. You might put extra cards away or suggest closing accounts.
It's hard to know when to actually take the checkbook or credit card away. McNabb says, "Your gut really knows when it's the right thing to do, but emotionally it's hard."