Delicate Financial Situations

If your loved one has difficulty managing money, you probably want to help. But financial control is one of the keys to independence, so your loved one may be reluctant to let you get involved.

If you’ve assessed your loved one’s ability to handle his or her financial matters, and determined that he or she is no longer able to do so, you, as the caregiver, must help your loved one to obtain financial assistance. But this probably sounds easier than it actually is.

Questions about his or her ability to manage finances can be threatening to your loved one because money and independence are closely connected in our society. The old adage “money makes the world go round” is certainly true. Take a minute and think about your daily activities and how many of these are dependent on your ability to manage money. Now, ask yourself, “How would I feel if someone else controlled my ability to save or spend money?” and “How would another’s control of my finances affect my daily life?”

Most likely, the idea of someone else managing your financial affairs is at least a little scary. This is why care recipients faced with losing control of their finances experience emotions ranging from fright to anger. Your loved one may become distrustful of your intentions and may insist that he or she is perfectly able to care for him or herself. On the other hand, your loved one may feel extreme relief or appreciation for your recognition of his or her problem—and your help in dealing with it.

Most importantly, do not be put off by extreme emotions that your loved one may express when you discuss financial matters. Assure your loved one that you want to help him or her maintain as much financial independence as possible. By helping your loved one identify available options—and by aiding him or her in making sound financial decisions—you can help make your loved one’s future comfort and happiness more secure.

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