Blog postsD.Lisa WestEldersSeniorsWindermere Real Estate April 5, 2021

Great Tips to Assist Seniors Tackling Financial Decisions After a Spouse Has Passed

I work with many seniors in the real estate business and like to help and support them as they age. Lucille Rosetti  recently shared some information with us about assisting seniors with financial decisions after a spouse has passed.  If you would like more information you can reach her at the following places.  info@thebereaved.org │The Bereaved 
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Great Tips to Assist Seniors Tackling Financial Decisions After a Spouse Has Passed

Losing a loved one is an emotional challenge, but many people don’t realize that it’s also a financial challenge. When a senior has lost their spouse, there are monetary decisions that must be made to help support and prepare the senior loved one even when they will not feel ready to move forward. As a senior prepares to look toward their future, they will have to make decisions such as downsizing their home or protect themselves from potential financial abuse. This list of tips will help protect your beloved senior from being taken advantage of and let them focus less on their finances and more on their retirement.

Consider Downsizing the Home

Unfortunately, when a senior’s spouse dies, they are often left alone in their home. If a senior hadn’t downsized previously — or is interested in downsizing again — it is important to contemplate where a senior is interested in living next. According to SeniorDirectory.com, there are many different reasons why seniors downsize, including making money to pay off previous expenses or keep the home more mobile-friendly and prevent potential tripping.

When seniors consider downsizing, it is important to decide if they would like to move to a new neighborhood, a retirement community with fellow Baby Boomers, or move down the street in order to access current friends and family members. As your senior begins the process of moving and getting rid of items, it is important to let them grieve and reminisce. On the other hand, giving away items early allows for seniors to share their stories with the younger generation that makes the gift even more special.

Develop a Plan for Mental Decline

As seniors age, it is important to prepare for the possibility of their mental health declining even if they don’t have Alzheimer’s or neurodegenerative diseases. However, one of the first signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia is the lack of being able to handle financial matters. As you take your senior to the doctors to understand what could be impacting their mental function, help your senior loved one simplify their financial lives. Seniors may need and some banks want trusted family members to be the agent when it comes to estate-planning discussions. If your senior starts to forget paying bills on time or accusing someone else of stealing or mismanaging money, these are signs that they may no longer be in the best position to handle their finances.

Avoid Elder Financial Abuse

When a senior loses their spouse, they also lose their financial partner when it comes to making decisions with besides income. According to Consumer Reports, it is estimated that $30 billion a year is lost by seniors due to elder financial abuse, and they often go unreported due to embarrassment or poor health. To prevent elder financial abuse, it is important for loved ones to keep their seniors from becoming isolated. This includes asking questions and making sure they are paying their bills on time. In these situations, it is imperative to keep an eye on your loved one, including looking for unusual activity in bank accounts, changing from a basic account to a more complicated one, new people accompanying them to the bank, or sudden unpaid bills.

Think About Opening a Business

On the other hand, seniors who are still cognitively sharp and want to continue working should consider opening their own business. This will help give your senior something to actively work on that can help them transition into a life without their spouse. Starting a business is great for seniors who want to do what they love full-time, learn something new, and be their own boss. Other great jobs for seniors include being a travel tour guide, babysitting, or becoming a tutor. As they’ve already retired, this job should be thrilling and fun.

As seniors lose their life partner, it is important to help them through this difficult time. This includes keeping an eye on your loved one and helping them make financial decisions. Lastly, encourage your senior to be as independent as they can.