When It’s Time To Take Over A Family Member’s Finances

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By Nancy Becker
Resource Coordinator, Hartford HealthCare Center for Healthy Aging

While visiting her older mother-in-law, a local woman was shocked to find utility shut-off notices and past due bills in a pile of mail. She realized that her once-capable relative was no longer able to handle financial matters, including balancing the household checkbook.

It was time to take charge, said Michelle Lavoie, a resource coordinator with Hartford HealthCare Center for Healthy Aging, who was working with the family. “They realized that there was a need to take over and began looking through the mail themselves and paying bills,” Lavoie said. They also began working with an elder law attorney to get power of attorney to ensure that financial matters were handled correctly.

Paying bills, balancing a checkbook and handling cash can become overwhelming as people age. Signs of trouble? Overdrawn notices from the bank. Services shut off. Phone calls from bill collectors.

Such scenarios are not uncommon and there are different solutions depending on the situation, said Nancy Becker, resource coordinator with Hartford HealthCare Center for Healthy Aging. Difficulty with handling finances can also signal possible cognitive impairment, including the onset of dementia.

A plan can be developed through a home assessment provided by Hartford HealthCare Center for Healthy Aging resource coordinators. If a family member is unable or unwilling to take over finances, one solution may be a daily money manager who can pay the bills and engage the services of tax or legal professionals. Managing financial matters for an older adult can also protect against scams and financial exploitation.

For more information about resources and services available to assist seniors and family members, call Hartford HealthCare Center for Healthy Aging at 1.877.424.4641 or visit the center’s website by clicking here.

Hartford HealthCare Center for Healthy Aging, a not-for-profit member of Hartford HealthCare Senior Services, is a resource and assessment center designed to enhance access to services and information related to attaining optimal quality of life for seniors and their caregiver, including patients of MidState Medical Center and the Hospital of Central Connecticut.


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