Older people can often be of a mind to struggle on when hardship strikes rather than confide in anyone or ask for help. Many would rather ‘go without’ or bury their head in the sand rather than admit that they are struggling to cope and they can be quite adept at hiding problems from family and friends. Even those professionals employed in the field of elderly care can easily miss the signs that something is wrong so for family members or friends who are not in daily contact with the elderly person it can be very difficult to spot warning signs that they are struggling with finances.
Has their Appearance Changed?
When people are worried, they can start to neglect themselves or their surroundings. Pay careful attention to your loved one’s appearance. Are they their usual well-groomed self or has something changed? When money worries strike this can lead to making economies, cutting out small expenses that are considered unnecessary so for example your loved one may have decided to forego trips to the hairdresser or barber. New clothes may be off the menu so you may notice them wearing the same garments all the time. A more serious sign is if they appear to lose their appetite through worry.
What about their Living Conditions?
Some people prefer to stay busy to distract themselves from worries but others go the opposite way and start to let things slide around them and the home could start to appear uncared for with even basic maintenance being neglected. The fridge and cupboards get emptier as basic necessities become unaffordable. If things have become very bad and you are worried for your loved one it may be time to start thinking about whether outside help and care is needed. Find out more at the Live-in Care Hub (www.liveincarehub.co.uk) to see what kind of help is available. There’s also care funding guidancehere too.
Warning signs could include a reluctance to deal with everyday financial matters or decreased understanding of paperwork and bills. Financial worries can play on the mind and make a person withdraw into themselves; they could become moody or upset especially if you try to get them to talk about what’s going on. The other side of the coin is where a worried person becomes over-chatty, talking about anything and everything to avoid the subject which is on their mind. Where there was previous generosity to family members but suddenly gift buying for grandchildren or birthdays stops this could be a real sign of financial difficulty.
What Can You Do to Help?
No one wants to think about their beloved elderly relatives struggling with money worries and it is natural to want to do anything you can to help. It may help to speak with their doctor to establish any medical cause for their decline in their ability to cope. Where illness is ruled out, encourage them to allow a trusted person, a solicitor perhaps, to help them to manage their finances. If they’re worried about the future, encourage them to talk to you – after all, a problem shared is one that is more easily dealt with.