True Link blog

Your Family Hired a Caregiver for your Aging Parent. Now what?

Published by:
Claire McDonnell
|
January 24, 2015

You’ve heard the horror stories.

An at-home caregiver requests a $100 check “just this once” everyday for months; mom suffers from dementia and doesn’t realize she’s signed dozens of these checks. Credit card offers frequently arrive in the mail for dad; the caregiver signs up for a few with dad’s information and uses them for personal purchases. And – in the case of my own family – precious family jewelry disappeared piece-by-piece while the individual we hired to protect and take care of my grandmother was in the home. These stories may sound like unlikely nightmares, but my family is proof they can happen to you.

It’s easy to be lulled into thinking your work is done once you’ve found in-home care, but there is a great deal of preparation to be done before bringing a new person into your parent’s home. Your family should work with the caregiver to put in place standard operating procedures for medical visits, medication management, and diet & nutrition. Equally important, you should work together to protect your parent and the caregiver from the scenarios above by instituting smart processes for money management that monitor financial accounts and remove easy-access to funds and valuables.

With all the change your family is going through, creating new processes and procedures can sound daunting. To help ensure a smooth transition to in-home care, we’ve put together this checklist of what families need to do before a caregiver’s first day on the job:

  • Secure your family’s valuables. Jewelry, family heirlooms, cash, and other valuables should either be removed from your parent’s home or be locked in a secure safe after creating a photographic record of what’s inside.
  • Cut down on checkbooks and credit cards. Remove unnecessary debit cards, credit cards, and checkbooks from the home to limit easy access to spending accounts and make it easier to track purchases.
  • Monitor all financial accounts closely. Set up online banking for every open account and regularly review them for major changes, unexpected activity, or unwanted charges.
  • Implement a daily spending system. To ensure that all the money is accounted for, set up a process to track daily spending. Some people use a petty cash system with receipts for tracking, or prepaid gift cards for particular stores. This is also where True Link Card comes in handy — allowing you to limit where and how it is used and receive alerts about purchases in real time.
  • Stop credit card offers. Use optoutprescreen.com to stop pre-approved credit card offers from being sent to the home in your parent’s name.
  • Prevent new credit inquiries. Work with the three major credit bureaus to ensure no one can take out credit in your loved one’s name. You can do this by visiting the websites directly (EquifaxExperian, and TransUnion) or just email True Link at support@truelinkfinancial.com and our advisors will take care of it for you.

Bringing a stranger into your home to care for your loved one is a major change for your family that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Take these steps to ensure your parent and their caregiver are set up for a safe and successful relationship.

Photo
by Tunstall / CC BY
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