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All too many times overwhelmed caregivers are physically and emotionally depleted and need to take time to rest and care for themselves. Believing in a holistic approach to caregiver stress and a strong commitment to helping our members find the right solutions, we created this blog to help you connect with others who, like you, may be facing the same eldercare issues and challenges. Feel free to comment, ask questions, and submit articles. Please forward the blog link to your family and friends. They'll be glad you did.

Warm regards,

Patricia Grace
founder & CEO
Aging with Grace

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Does the Buck Stop Here? If your parents’ money is disappearing, you need to intervene.

By Patricia Grace

Often, an Aging with Grace eldercare specialist will be asked, “If I sign the monthly agreement for my parents’ assisted living community, will I be responsible if they run out of money?” The answer is no. Debt is nontransferable from your parents to you, even if you are the designated power of attorney. The exception would be if you cosigned a bank loan, auto loan, or something similar that would list you as co-debtor.

Speaking with parents about their finances often makes us uncomfortable. I was raised in a family where money was never discussed in front of the kids. Let’s face it: many of us don’t want to engage in the money conversation with our spouse, let alone our dad! However uncomfortable the subject might be, it is necessary.

Reckless use of credit cards, unpaid bills, and large purchases that are completely inappropriate for an elder’s lifestyle can be confirmation of escalating dementia. Isolation can lead to excessive TV watching and channel surfing that allows an older person to find many different shopping channels and infomercials. You might discover evidence of large contributions to TV ministries and charities. Out of loneliness, a person finds inclusion and can be drawn in by the need to be part of a “family” or community that is doing good works. Perhaps they see their name on the donor list that crawls across the bottom of the television screen, or they receive personalized thank-you letters and donor gifts. All of this encourages them to give more. They may order gadgets and gifts because this provides them with the opportunity to chat with the call center attendant and the UPS delivery man.

If this is happening with your elderly loved one, it might be an indication that they need more social interaction from family or additional social activities that can be provided by adult day care or a senior center program.

As caregivers, we must recognize that our role extends beyond making sure our loved one is physically safe. It also includes helping to ensure their financial safety.


  1. We had this experience with my mother. All of us kids live out of state. My sister made a surprise trip home and discovered the house was filled with stuff that mom bought from TV. Communicating with the credit card company has not been easy to say the least!
    Edith L

  2. Hi, Thanks for sharing this as part of the Boomers & Seniors Blog Carnival at SandwichINK. It's great advice! I appreciate the information.


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