Losing a loved one creates difficulties you may have never imagined, stresses that leave you feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. Financial hardships can be challenging to overcome when you’re in the process of grieving, and if you have a senior loved one who is having trouble mitigating those challenges, it’s important to help them navigate their options. Fortunately, there are several ways to help your loved one get through this difficult time; Lifestage shares a few.
Take care of the biggest things first
Your loved one will have a lot on their mind after losing someone dear to them, so, as Fiduciary Trust International notes, it’s important to help them make their financial decisions wisely. Mortgage payments, funeral arrangements, and loan payments should be the first priority; smaller bills can usually wait a week or two. This will prevent your loved one from becoming overwhelmed in a short amount of time so they can focus on healing. Keep in mind that there are debt relief companies who can assist after the loss of a spouse.
Ask for copies of the death certificate
One important task your loved one will need to remember is to make sure they have enough copies of the death certificate. If they have lost a spouse or partner, they’ll need that paperwork to access the benefits of a life insurance policy and to present as proof when making changes to joint bank accounts, credit cards, Social Security funds, and other important accounts. This will prevent issues with receiving money owed, which will take some stress off your loved one’s shoulders.
Prepare your loved one for the possibility that a credit card company often closes an account after learning of the death, meaning any automatic payments or charges pending will need to have the payment info updated to prevent any interruptions. If the deceased was the primary cardholder and the account isn’t closed, interest charges and penalties will still accrue.
Advise against hasty decisions
Grief can make us do things we later regret, so help your loved one stay away from hasty decision-making in the month or so after their loss. Big decisions should be given some time to ensure they’re the right ones for the moment. Nolo explains seniors are also more prone to scams. This is especially true if they are grieving as they may part with their money more easily, so talk to your loved one about how to avoid these pitfalls and easy ways to stay safe.
Help them find the right living situation
Many seniors find it highly beneficial to change up their living situation after losing a loved one. MyLifeSite points out that downsizing to an assisted living or continued care facility can help not only with the financial end of things, it can also help your loved one stay safe and comfortable.
There are many different types of facilities with a wide variety of care options and pricing, so keep that in mind when you’re searching for the best fit for your loved one. If seniors want a little assistance while being able to maintain some independence, a senior community might be the best way to go.
If your loved one simply needs help around the house with certain tasks, consult with Lifestage to help them connect with in-home care services. This can be light housekeeping, meal prep, transportation to appointments and help with activities of daily living.
While few of us want to think about planning for our own final wishes, this is something your loved one can do that will provide peace of mind now, as well as help any loved ones that will eventually be left behind. Should your loved one pass on suddenly, having a pre-paid funeral can help a great deal and will prevent financial hardship for family members.
Your loved one can create a joint bank account for this sole purpose, buy an insurance plan from a funeral home, or purchase burial insurance. In some cases, this money can help pay for medical bills and other expenses as well. Writing a will is another must that creates financial security and promotes better peace of mind.
A great way to help your loved one through their grief is by finding ways to help memorialize their partner. This can be through a celebration of life, gathering donations for a plaque in their honor, or even starting a nonprofit dedicated to their partner’s favorite cause. A nonprofit isn’t difficult to create, and could even provide your loved one with something positive to help them move forward. ZenBusiness can walk you through the process.
Losing a loved one can hit a senior hard. Make sure you help your loved one navigate tricky financial concerns. With a little planning and prep, you can help your senior through this tough time.
Senior advisory agency Lifestage brings over 100 years of combined experience and credentials in various aspects of the healthcare industry. Reach out today to find out more! 509.473.9956
Guest Author Hal Salazar Elders Today
Ty Strahl is the areas leading senior adviser. Her job is to help you navigate the many aspects of aging and to help seniors who are in transition to find the right solutions for their individual needs.