Financial security is a family affair
While we know that it is important to talk to our loved ones or an older relative about topics such as care, ageing, health, and money etc. very few have actually discussed these topics.
Family members often have to face difficult decisions when it comes to taking care of their elderly relatives.
Less than one-third of all families have had satisfactory conversations around ageing and end-of-life planning, and more than two-thirds of those conversations don’t happen until there’s a critical emergency or health crisis.
Talking about finances can be an uncomfortable conversation at the best of times, but all of these topics in one conversation can be awkward for you and your loved ones. Discussing them sooner rather than later can help your loved ones retain their independence, protect their well-being and make the time to allow all parties to create a plan.
Our In Safe Hands report revealed that twice as many of those aged 70+ (70%) said they were worried about becoming a target for thefts, scams or frauds compared to just 35% who were concerned about their future health and a third fearing the loss of their independence.
Back in June, we spoke to Language expert, Dr Elisabeth Carter, about her top tips for approaching difficult topics such as financial management, funeral plans and moving home with elderly relatives. Dr Carter says it is important that family members approach important conversations in a way that is inclusive and does not make an elderly family member feel isolated or overwhelmed.
Here are some tips on how to start the conversation and some key issues to cover:
Don’t isolate elderly relatives: It is important to not make them feel isolated, or that they’re the target of an intervention. They have been around longer than we have – they have had a lot of responsibility in their lives, and they are used to being the ones who make the decisions, so having younger family members stepping in and saying ‘I need to make decisions can be particularly hard. Open conversations up to them, listen to their suggestions and concerns and ask them for advice.
Be respectful: Avoid role reversal, for example, phrases you would say to your children, like ‘Oh, we have to do this for your own good’. Remember that these still are our parents or grandparents, and they might need a bit more looking after. Actually, they are exactly the same people they always have been when they were young and fit and healthy.
Don’t bombard or overwhelm relatives with difficult decisions or complex information: Try not to make conversations about money the absolute focus of one visit. Mealtimes are quite good because people are concentrating on eating, so the focus isn’t so intense on that person. Going out for a walk can be a good time too. There’s something quite soothing about walking along and those feel good chemicals. It can be a good time to start talking.
Listen to them and help them retain their voice: Involve everyone in the family discussions around finances, perhaps you could ask the older people in the family to talk to the youngest people in the family about what money was like in their day, about how they had to manage their finances when they were younger, enabling them to have that kind of ownership over the discussion and a voice. It is really important to enable them to retain their voice.
One of our customers, Kirsten Bolton, recently told us about the conversation she had with her mum about financial management after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s last year. She said: “My mum’s diagnosis came as a shock to all of us, and after a few incidents where she had received phishing calls or given her PIN out in a shop, my brother and I knew we needed to have a conversation with her about managing her finances.
“It was a very calm, honest conversation. We didn’t make a big deal out of it and were very open. My mum had lots of questions and luckily we’d found a solution in GuardianCard, so we were able to answer all of these.
“My brother and I discussed things beforehand and then I had the conversation face to face with my mum when I went to visit her one afternoon. Thankfully we didn’t need to tiptoe around the topic and could have an open and frank conversation. It’s refreshing to be able to openly discuss something so important.”
Sign up today and experience a full membership for one month, it is a great way to find out if the service works for your family. GuardianCard costs £7.95 a month and you can cancel your membership at any time. Find out more at guardiancard.co.uk