Q Capital Archive

Financial Signs Your Elderly Parent(s) May Need Help (Part 2)


Unsuitable or unnecessary financial products

While not necessarily an outright scam, the elderly are frequently sold legitimate but unsuitable financial products. For example, a salesperson convincing an elderly couple to roll a maturing certificate of deposit into a deferred annuity to “earn higher interest” may not be appropriate for their financial circumstances. This is not a decision that should be made over the phone with a salesperson or investment firm unknown to them. Convincing your parents to work with a reputable financial planner and establishing a close relationship with that planner who understands their situation can eliminate this potential problem.

Changes in eating, shopping habits and meeting basic needs

Do they seem to be shopping less frequently, even though you know they are physically able to do so? Do they eat out less than usual or have stopped eating out altogether? Is there a lack of nutritious food in their pantries? Even noticing that they have cut down on their food portions when cooking for themselves may be an indicator that their money is not going as far as they need. Are they going for longer intervals before going to beauty appointments or having pets groomed? Do they seem to be wearing worn out clothes? Do they use heat in the winter or air conditioning in the summer or have they stopped using these altogether?

Medical warning signs

Because the elderly are often on many medications to treat various conditions, this can eat up a sizable chunk of money, even if they have Medicare or prescription drug plans. Let’s face it, prescriptions are expensive for all of us. But the concerns here for the elderly are that often these medications are of significant importance for their continued health. Have they stopped taking their medications? Are they not getting them filled on a regular basis as directed by their physician? Do they ignore obvious and serious symptoms, saying “oh it’s nothing?” Do they need help navigating through the bureaucracy that is our Medicare or Medicaid system?

The challenges of spotting and preventing these and similar money management problems are frequently compounded by the tendency of older people to be secretive about their personal finances, embarrassed about their money problems or fear of losing their independence. If you notice any of these warning signs, or are just basically concerned about your elderly loved one’s financial situation, take the extra time to approach them in a way that supports them and allows them as much independence and control in decisions as possible. It may make you feel uncomfortable checking up on your parents in this matter; however, dealing with the loss of their savings is a far more serious issue.

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