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Simple Questions to Measure an Elder’s Financial Capacity

When an elderly family member begins to show signs of a failing memory or a change in behavior, it’s natural to wonder if he or she is having problems managing money as well. Additionally, age related ailments like declining vision and physical frailty can make it challenging to assess the situation. As a senior live-in care provider in Toronto, we know it’s not always easy for seniors to open up about their finances. However, asking the following questions during everyday conversations can help you determine if it’s time to delve into the subject more deeply.

  • Have you ever forgotten to pay a bill?
    If you’re worried about offending your family member with this question, introduce it by talking about how busy life can be and how it’s sometimes hard to keep track of monthly bills. Reassure your loved one by offering to have yourself listed to receive a notification if a payment is missed.
  • Do you have any difficulty using an ATM machine?
    ATM machines require seniors to remember a series of steps, so any problems working the machine may reveal short-term memory challenges. You’ll need to exclude things like failing eyesight, arthritis or other physical ailments before reaching this conclusion.
  • Are you having any trouble balancing your checkbook?
    An unbalanced checkbook isn’t always a sign of failing cognitive abilities. Physical ailments can make a senior feel like it’s just too much trouble to undertake the task. Your loved one’s response can help you zero in on any problems. If you think your loved one needs additional assistance with daily tasks, learn more about hourly care in Toronto.
  • Do you have funds set aside for emergencies?
    The answer to this question can tell you a lot about your family member’s financial capacity. Ask follow-up questions about where accounts and insurance are kept and how the senior plans to access them in case of emergency.

One of the best ways to determine if your loved one needs help managing finances is to ask for advice about your own finances. Ask questions about how to set up a will or how to best plan for retirement. Your family member’s answers will reveal a lot about his or her own finances and how well your loved one is prepared for the future.

For more information about senior finances or senior care, visit www.torontohomecareassistance.ca or contact a Case Manager directly at 416-488-8777. Our phone lines are open 24/7 and we are more than happy to answer any of your questions.