- Create a financial inventory. Work with your loved one to gather and organize the financial records, expenses, and other critical information you’ll need to help manage their finances. Access our checklist for recommendations on what to review.
- Manage money and other assets wisely. Older adults are often on fixed incomes or have limited finances, so it’s essential to help them eliminate unnecessary costs and budget wisely.
- Do not co-mingle assets. Keep your finances separate from those of your loved one and act in your loved one’s best interests. Exploiting an older adult is a crime and carries legal penalties.
- Recognize danger signs. Seniors are often targets for financial abuse and fraud. Stay alert for signs of abuse, scams, or identity theft that may put your loved one’s assets in jeopardy.
- Keep careful records. When acting as a financial agent, proper documentation is required. Keep well-organized financial records, including up-to-date lists of assets, debts, and an accounting of financial transactions.
- Communicate regularly. Caregiving is often an evolving relationship, with needs changing and new issues arising. Understand your loved one’s wishes by keeping in touch regularly.
- Formalize the relationship. Without the proper legal authority, caregivers may be limited in the ways they can help. Consider talking to your loved one about different options, such as a Power of Attorney, a Social Security Administration representative payee, or a trustee.
- Seek professional advice. Consult bankers, accountants, lawyers, and other professionals when you need help. The Eldercare Locator is a helpful tool to access support.
- Don’t burn yourself out. Care for yourself while you care for others. Search for support groups and reach out to other family and friends for help.
Content provided by the American Bankers Association.