Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate: Dr. Cynthia Speaks!

Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman
3 min readMay 13, 2024

Topic: Caregivers: Financial Oversight is a Must!

Financial caregiving is often ignored until the need to manage your loved one’s affairs is front and center. It becomes more problematic if your loved one cannot speak to you about how or when their bills are paid and to whom. This is a terrible spot to be in!

One challenge many families face is accessing our elder’s funds. Trust is a real problem in the eyes of our seniors, and they are not as willing to share financial information. The unfortunate fact is that if a caregiver does not know how to get access to needed funds to care for the needs of our loved ones, it is emotionally distressing. So, what should you know about avoiding financial caregiving pitfalls? As a caregiver, you will manage the activities of daily living and step in to manage loved ones’ money. These types of discussions should be anticipated and often difficult. Begin talking about them while your loved one can participate in the conversation. Forecasting is one essential way to avoid hurdles. By all means, be sympathetic to your loved ones' feelings of losing independence, and, when necessary, ask for insights from your elders.

First Things First

Learning about what bills your loved ones are responsible for is essential and a first step. Some bills are paid monthly if your loved ones live in a home or apartment. Ask yourself, what are they?

Discover the monthly budget. Write down all expenses. A calendar is a healthy way to keep track of due dates. Other family members can be helpful, but ensure they will be an asset, not a liability. Not all family members are created equal, so be mindful of discord. Both can affect finding compromise or harmony.

Financial Suppliers

Know where the income sources are from. This is important in life and very important in death. Incomes can come from retirement funds, social security, pensions, survivors’ benefits, being a business owner, and lawsuit judgments. All income streams from companies must be notified of someone’s death. Sidebar: Do not cash any check or use any loved one’s income after the date of death. Permission to speak on behalf of your loved one is another way to make decisions legitimately. Putting in place a durable power of attorney, a legal document that appoints someone to act on someone else’s behalf is also important. The durable power of attorney forms are state-specific and can be found online.

As Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate, I will likely get access to a loved one’s accounts at some point during my caregiving duty. Getting your name added to joint accounts so you can handle the business at hand is vital. Be safe! Be well!

Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman is a retired registered nurse and case manager, CEO of Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate and author of From the Lens of Daughter, Nurse, and Caregiver: A Journey of Duty and Honor, and The Black Book of Important Information for Caregivers.

Website: www.cynthiajhickman.com

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Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman

Dr. Hickman is the author of From the Lens of Daughter, Nurse, and Caregiver: A Journey of Duty and Honor and The Black Book of Important for Caregivers.