How much is there? Where is it? Who controls it? Discussing finances may be among the most difficult conversations a family may have but become increasingly important as we age. Bridging the gap between generations to talk about money can be awkward, embarrassing and frustrating for everyone.

Elderly adults may not be ready to have their adult children become their physical or financial caregivers and many seniors fiercely guard their financial privacy, perhaps to protect their loved ones or out of fear of loosing their independence. While those feelings are completely understandable, NJ Newsroom recently pointed out some of the perils of poor fiscal planning, such as inability to access bank accounts to pay bills if your name is not on the account or you may not be authorized to sell your home if your are both on the deed but your spouse is incapacitated.

The article, Elder Care: Money Can Be a Touchy Subject for Seniors and Elders, advises everyone, regardless of your age, to have “a Power of Attorney document drawn up and signed. There are no guarantees in life, so everyone should choose someone else they trust to help out when needed. Even with a POA signed, the person can handle all his or her finances as long as he or she is able. The person does not lose control over assets.”

After a lifetime of caring for your children, no one wants to think about a time when the roles may need to be reversed, much less talk about it. But as upsetting as that discussion may be, Benjamin Franklin may have said it best when he said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Because when it comes to finances, a frank discussion about the future may prevent a world of heartache.

If the time has come when you or a family member can no longer maintain an independent lifestyle, please contact ElderLink to learn about senior care services and facilities available throughout California.