On New Year’s Eve my mother had a stroke. After about a week in the hospital she was transferred to a rehab facility. My sister and I have been navigating a lot of financial issues. I share this with you because this a situation many of your members may be facing.
We had a lot of questions:
- Is mom mentally coherent enough to sign checks?
- If she can’t sign checks, can my sister and I get legal authority to sign checks?
- How do we pay her bills?
In discussions with her financial institutions, professionals told me this is a conversation they are having with increasing frequency. This isn’t surprising considering our aging population.
According to the United States Census Bureau, in the United States, the proportion of the population aged >65 years is projected to increase from 12.4% in 2000 to 19.6% in 2030. The number of persons aged >65 years is expected to increase from approximately 35 million in 2000 to an estimated 71 million in 2030.
I am fortunate that I have a lot of experience working with insurance companies and have a good grasp of Medicare, Medicaid and long-term care insurance. But even I was struggling to get a handle on all the day-to-day financial decisions my sister and I needed to make. If any of you have been in this situation you know the amount of information and speed with which you need to make those decisions will make your head hurt.
And let’s be honest, if you are in this situation your brain will NOT be working at peak capacity. I was terribly upset because I lost my cell phone. I could not find it. It took me a ridiculously long time to realize I couldn’t find it because I was talking on it. And yes, I did go on to attempt to make a phone call from my calculator.
What are you doing to help members prepare for and navigate these financial decisions? Do your people recognize that adult children or loved ones of a sick parent may need extra attention? What specific steps do you take to help guide your members during these difficult situations?
Mom is doing OK. We are still on an uncertain journey. I can tell you that the financial institutions who were helpful were few. This is an opportunity for your credit union to shine.