I don’t know if it is true so much in other places, but here in Appalachia folks play it real close to the vest when it comes to talking about money — especially their own money and how they manage it. Keeping up with bill paying, carefully checking each statement for accuracy, balancing the checkbook, or simply the act of writing checks can become a burden for the elderly. And yet that old engrained idea that to talk about money issues is “not nice” or to ask for help isn’t okay is hard to shake.
I am proud to say my own mother still keeps her own checkbook and balances it to the penny every month. Still, there are times when she gets mail related to some aspect of her finances that she just isn’t sure she completely understands, or occasions when the bank statement doesn’t balance, or when she forgets to send in a payment on time. I get the call and am very grateful that I am close enough to be able to help and am especially grateful that she asks. Many older adults don’t have a family member or trusted friend close enough to give them that sort of support. Many don’t want anyone to know they might actually need that sort of support. And yet keeping all the day-to-day financial stuff straight is key to living independently.
A sure threat to independent living is when the utilities, property taxes, quarterly taxes, or credit card statements don’t get paid in a timely manner. Finding someone to assist an Elder Law of East Tennessee client with daily money management is just one of the ways that I, as Elder Care Coordinator, help seniors maintain their independence and give them peace of mind. I work closely with the older adult and their families to find the appropriately credentialed, experienced, and insured person or firm that will help our clients stay as independent and free of financial worry as possible. It’s something you can bank on!