Managing money with age-related memory loss
Memory loss in later life is not a pleasant topic to consider, but having a plan to help you cope in this difficult situation could prove very beneficial.
Although it may not be easy to bring up, having a discussion with loved ones about how you’ll cope if memory loss becomes an issue will ensure that you’ve explored all your options and that your family are aware of your wishes.
Rather than leaving it to chance, arranging your finances to meet future challenges is the best way to protect yourself and those you care about.
Forgetfulness is not necessarily a cause for concern; it’s a normal part of the ageing process.
However, dementia – which typically results in progressive loss of memory and the inability to complete daily tasks – is increasing1. According to recent figures2:
- Three out of 10 Australians aged over 85, and nearly one in 10 aged over 65 suffer from dementia
- Approximately 1.2 million Australians are involved in looking after someone with dementia
Tips for managing your finances
These tips will ensure that your bases are covered and help reduce risks:
Simplify your life
- Consolidating your credit cards, super funds and bank accounts will make it easier to manage your finances
- Diarise your bills to ensure they’re paid on time
- Consider organising direct debits so you have less to remember
Organise your documents
Setting up a file with all your important financial and personal information will make managing your finances easier if someone else has to step in and make decisions for you. Keep a copy of documents with your solicitor or in a secure location so they can’t be misplaced.
Important documents include3:
- Birth and marriage certificates, copy of will
- Tax file number, Medicare and Centrelink details
- Bank and superannuation details
- Insurances policies
- Asset and debt information
- Investment details
- Wishes for your funeral
Update your will
It’s very important to keep your will up-to-date as this legal document provides instructions for what will happen to your assets. To avoid family controversies, try to iron out any problems or discrepancies as early as possible.
Advise family members if you’ve nominated an executor to fulfil your wishes, and ensure this person understands their duties and knows where your important documents are stored.
Appoint a power of attorney
An enduring power of attorney’s role is to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf if you’re not able to. This person will be responsible for looking after all your bank accounts and bills. They can even sell your house if funds are needed for a care facility, so it’s essential to appoint someone you trust.
Confirm super beneficiaries
Many people assume that the distribution of super is part of their will, but this is not necessarily true. Confirm with your super fund that your beneficiaries are current and that everything is in order.
Clarify your wishes
Not everyone will need aged care, but it’s best to prepare for all possibilities. Expressing what you want in terms of future care will help those around you make the best decisions for you. For more information visit the My Aged Care website.
If you’d like further advice and assistance, take a look at ASIC’s elder care and seniors support page.
To discuss your needs further with one of our Accredited Aged Care Professionals™, please contact us on 03 6220 8330.
It’s never easy to talk about subjects like ageing and memory loss, but organising your finances and letting your loved ones know what you want well in advance will give everyone peace of mind.
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