When an elderly person needs help paying bills, due to decreased mental acuity or other health problems, they may rely on a caretaker to take over the responsibility. The caretaker must be someone who can be trusted.
Taking over this endeavor may be easier if the elderly person is in favor of the caretaker paying their bills. However, if the senior person has always been very independent and resents giving up control over their personal finances, the caretaker may find this to be a difficult and frustrating task.
If the elderly person resists giving up control, the caretaker must be patient and reason with them in a gentle manner as to why they need help paying bills. Arguing in the wrong tone of voice will only agitate the elderly person and make them more stubborn in giving up control of their finances.
When the elderly person has agreed to let the caretaker take over paying bills, the same common sense approach should be used as if the caretaker is paying his/her own bills. If the elderly person has been an organized bill-payer, then it should be easy to determine their income and creditors. However, if they have been careless in paying their bills, it may be difficult to find out the necessary information to carry out the task.
In order for a caretaker to provide help paying the bills, begin by creating a budget. Establishing the person’s income, and where it is coming from, is the first step. Listing all of the bills that are to be paid, the amount, the balances, and when they are due, should also be done. Miscellaneous and unexpected expenses must also be considered in the budget. A certain time of the month should be set aside by the caretaker for this endeavor. If it is determined that there is not enough income to pay all of the bills, or some bills are seriously delinquent, this should be addressed by senior’s family members.
Whether the elderly person is cooperative or resistant to the caretaker’s help paying bills, utmost care must be considered to assure the person’s dignity is kept intact. While the caretaker is paying the bills, the elderly person should be included in the process, if at all possible. Every effort should be made to keep the elderly person as happy as possible.
Advancare offers a number of senior care services including assistance with paying bills. Call our Miami or Broward office to learn more about how we can help you, or your loved one, pay their bills.