Family Caregiving & Finances: How to Navigate a Financial Discussion

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In our previous post, we touched upon specific elements to consider as a caregiver when it comes to family caregiving and finances. From overall well-being to living arrangements, siblings & self care, it’s important that you take stock of the various angles that have the potential to impact sensitive financial decisions. Once you’ve weighed these factors, you can create a plan for approaching your aging loved one to discuss finances.

Here are a few tips for navigating this challenging topic once you’ve allowed yourself time to acknowledge and process your own thoughts and feelings as a caregiver:

Commence with Compassion

When it’s time to approach your conversation, it’s important that you lead with a loving, compassionate tone. While you’ve likely been pondering this discussion for some time, it’s possible that your aging loved one might not yet have given it the same amount of thought. Remember to acknowledge that you understand this is a difficult discussion to initiate and that you’d like to identify a time that is convenient for them to get together and chat through some concerns.

Avoid Asking During Stressful Times

In order to ensure your aging loved one is at his or her most receptive, try to avoid extending an invitation to a deep & emotional discussion during stressful times. These times might include holidays and immediately before, during or after life events like retirement or relocation. Be patient and approach the topic during a quiet or peaceful time; avoid bringing any negative energy into this arena and focus on putting their needs first.

Be Specific but Brief

Because these conversations are undoubtedly heavy and taxing, it’s best to be as specific as possible and to avoid beating around the bush or delaying the inevitable; time is of the essence. Since financial discussions do boast the potential to overwhelm your aging loved one, it’s critical that you ask questions or deliver concerns in moderation. If you need to have multiple shorter meetings to address all goals of the discussion, that’s fine; just make sure you’re remaining aware of the implications of the answers you’re receiving and reading the scenario accurately.

Enable Your Aging Loved One to Lead the Conversation

...whenever possible. It’s important that your aging loved one doesn’t feel powerless when it comes to making decisions that will impact the later stage of his or her life. We don’t know what kind of internal stress they’re feeling or struggles they’re enduring about coping with aging, so unless mental health is prohibiting your loved one from making sound decisions, then it’s crucial that you let them provide as much input and steer the conversation as frequently as possible.

Don’t be surprised if initial discussions don’t go the way you’d hoped. Simply focus on striving for progress and making your aging loved one feel comfortable with sharing financial information and discussing decisions. If you can create open lines of communication, then you have a good chance of finding financial resolutions that will appease your aging loved one and you, too.

CareZare is a FREE app for family caregivers to help them manage their care team and ensure the highest level of care for their loved one.