3 important steps to help elderly parents manage their financial affairs

In association with the Alzheimer’s Society, this year’s Dementia Action Week (15 to 21 May) is working to help people understand dementia symptoms and receive a timely diagnosis. 

Dementia isn’t part of getting old, it’s about getting ill. Seeing your partner or parents display potential symptoms will be concerning but be sure to act as early as possible and seek professional medical help.

To relieve your own stress and worry, you should also think about your loved ones’ finances. Knowing that their plans are on track and that they have money set aside to cover care could make a huge difference.

Keep reading for three simple steps you can take now to help your elderly loved ones prepare for whatever challenges they face. 

Dementia is a growing problem in the UK

There are currently around 944,000 people with dementia in the UK, but the figure is rising. By 2040, it’s predicted to affect 1.6 million of us. 

This year alone, nearly 210,000 people will develop the illness – that’s one every three minutes. 

With more than 34 million Brits knowing someone who has a form of dementia, it could already be affecting those you love.

Symptoms can include:

  • Memory loss, including struggling to find the right word or losing track of names and dates
  • Behavioural issues, like becoming easily upset or acting out of character
  • Problems with daily activities, like trouble sleeping or becoming lost in familiar places.

Dementia Action Week 2022 saw a 43% average increase in calls to the Alzheimer’s Society’s dementia support line and you can find out more information on their Dementia Action Week page.

3 important steps you can take now

1. Don’t be afraid to ask difficult questions

Talking about the concerns you have about your loved ones’ health won’t be easy. Early diagnosis, though, is key and you might find that there is no diagnosis at all, giving everyone peace of mind.

Early conversations about money are key too. You’ll need to know the answers to some important questions:

  • Do your parents currently have a financial adviser?
  • Do they have money put aside for care and what type of care would they like to receive?
  • Who do they want to look after their finances and do they have an up-to-date will in place?

Having these conversations while your parents are still in good health is crucial. This allows plenty of time for arrangements to be made. Also, legal documents like a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), for example, can only be made while the donor (in this case your parent) is of sound mind. 

2. Research the help available and think about the future 

If you are concerned about a potential dementia diagnosis, you will likely have conducted research into the condition and the latest scientific breakthroughs. You’ll know that there are four main types of dementia, of which Alzheimer’s disease is the most common. 

This sort of research, regardless of the specific condition, is a useful way to start planning for the future. You’ll understand the different types of conditions and symptoms that your loved one might experience and the prognoses for these conditions. In this way, you’ll know the preparations you should make.

Be sure to research the financial help that might be available too.

A benefit like Attendance Allowance, for example, isn’t means-tested and could make a huge difference to a retired parent. You might also think about the level of care and help you are providing, or could provide in the future, and whether you can apply for Carer’s Allowance. 

3. Put a plan in place and act on it now

Your research will help you to understand what the future holds, but you need to act on that research too. Not doing so, could mean leaving it too late.

Encourage your loved ones to put an LPA in place. There are two types to choose from:

  • A Health and Welfare LPA allows an attorney to make decisions on daily routines (like washing and dressing), medical care, and moving into a care home.
  • A Property and Financial Affairs LPA allows an attorney to manage bank and building society accounts, pay bills, or sell a property.

It might be that both are appropriate, but overall, the reduced stress and the money saved on appointing a deputy could mean it is worth it.

You should also ensure your parents have an up-to-date will in place and encourage them to talk about it. Decisions that are known and understood are far less likely to be contested later.

Also do your best to help your parents manage their paperwork, possibly through an “In Case of Emergency (ICE)” document that lists all the important information a relative would need to know, including numbers of key contacts and the location of important documents.

Get in touch 

At Logic, we can help you manage your finances, and the finances of your loved ones too. 

If you have any questions about how best to help your loved ones manage their finances, speak to us now. Please email us at info@logicfinancialservices.co.uk or check with your adviser.