Your elderly mother has never been good with money, and ever since dad passed away last year the situation has only gotten worse. Mom’s been victimized by financial scammers a couple of times and some of her bills aren’t getting paid on time. What should you do? One of the fastest ways to get an aging parent to tune you out is by bringing up their financial matters. Thankfully, there are several ways to earn your parent’s trust so that you can assist a senior parent with financial matters.

Financial Challenges that Seniors Face

According to a 2018 Kaiser Family Foundation study, nearly half of all Americans aged 65-and-over have annual incomes that fall below the poverty level.

In addition to limited income, other financial challenges that seniors face include:

  • Financial scammers, including their own family members
  • Funeral expenses after a spouse dies
  • Medical bills
  • Mental health issues like dementia and Alzheimer’s

Millions of seniors also battle loneliness and depression, which makes them more likely to get scammed or to experience serious health problems that deplete their retirement nest eggs.

How to Manage an Elderly Parent’s Finances

Here’s how to become your parent’s financial advocate without putting them on the defensive and assist a senior parent with financial matters:

Have “the Money Talk”

Gently approach them about your concerns based on what you’ve observed, like those past due bills stacked on their table. Respectfully ask if they have enough money in their bank to cover monthly expenses. If they are still hesitant to discuss their finances, you might have better luck by comparing their financial situation to your own, sharing a recent health event that happened to someone you both know, or by bringing it up in a casual setting like a family cookout.

Seek Power of Attorney

If mom or dad’s health is on the decline, suggest that it might be wise to choose you or another person as their durable (legal) power of attorney (POA). A designated medical POA can legally make healthcare-related decisions on behalf of someone else once they become incapacitated. A general, or “financial”, POA can legally make financial decisions on behalf of another party.

Becoming their legal trustee or court-appointed guardian are two other ways to manage a parent’s financial affairs in the event they are no longer able to do so. Whether or not y