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Caring for Elderly Parents: Learn About Joint Checking Accounts & Power of Attorney


Taking Care of Aging Parents Financially

You never want to think about the day mom and dad can’t take care of themselves. But, even if you can never be emotionally prepared, caring for elderly parents is something that needs to be prepared for legally and financially. It may even prompt you to take measures which would prevent your children from being as strongly burdened when they are in your position. Before you reach a point where you need to care for your aging parents, create a plan with them to manage the difficult questions and cover expenses.

Consider the financial involvement you can have with aging parents

According to a 2009 Gallup poll conducted by USA Today and ABC News, 41% of Baby Boomers with a living parent are helping care for them and worry about how they will continue to care for them. In-home care, assisted living and nursing home care is all very expensive, and if your parents haven’t planned or saved enough, you may be called upon to help them manage or pay for expenses. Before your parents reach a stage where one or both of them need care, sit down together with your siblings and discuss what they want to do and how each of you can be involved. This may be difficult for your parents to talk about. However, you can ease them in by asking them for advice as you start planning for yourself. You’ll get a good sense of what they want, what they have saved and where gaps are in their planning.

Know where all the legal documents are

Part of your discussion should include where your parents keep important information. You don’t want to be digging through file cabinets to find what they want or need in an emergency. Find out if their will is up-to-date and if they have a living will for end-of-life care choices, long-term care policies or retirement savings plans. You should also ask where they keep bank account information, life insurance policies, social security information, Medicare and health insurance cards, names and numbers for their doctors and lawyers and a list of their medications.

Install safety features for your aging parents

Proper safety measures can help prevent injuries and save money in the future. Talk to your parents to find out what would help them get around. Should you invest in railings, stair grips, chair lifts or ramps? Do they want a smaller home? What services are available in their community to help them get around affordably? Consider medical alert programs to help them get assistance if they’re alone when something happens. Finally, look into helping them pay for better insurance. It may be cheaper than paying medical costs when accidents happen.

Establish power of attorney and consider joint checking accounts

Obtaining power of attorney for your aging parents ensures you can make the decisions your parents want medically and financially if they become incapable of making decisions themselves. Talk to an elder-law attorney who can walk you, your siblings and parents through important papers and decisions. Help your parents retain as much control over their lives as you can, but look for opportunities to help out.

  • Opening a joint checking account  can help you manage their finances, pay bills and make purchases they need. Consider opening a bank account online to make it easier for you to help out even if you’re not in the same city.
  • You may also want to transfer money from a retirement savings account to a money market account or high-interest checking account  where they will continue to earn interest on their money with more liquidity.

Plan ahead for your own needs in retirement

As you look into caring for your elderly parents, consider how you are planning for your own future. Take out a long-term care policy and open high-interest checking and savings accounts for yourself. This can ease the burden for your children down the road. Check out online communities to learn more about taking care of aging parents  so you can look after them and plan for yourself.

Sponsored content was created and provided by RBS Citizens Financial Group.



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.

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