One of the hard realities of entering your twilight years is dealing with the loss of loved ones. Seniors who have said goodbye to their spouses know this all too well. While they are grateful for the memories of a long life with their partner, they also miss spending their days with someone who loved them unconditionally.
How can you lend a helping hand to a senior loved one who has just lost their spouse? One of the most stressful aspects of losing your spouse is managing the endless financial paperwork that comes after, and having assistance from trusted family members can make the entire process easier. Courtesy of 1st and Main Investment Advisors, here’s how you can support your senior loved one when they have to make difficult financial decisions after the loss of their spouse.
Appoint Legal Advocates
In some circumstances, your loved one may need someone to take on a legal advocacy role and act in their best interests for important financial and medical issues. A relative can’t simply decide that they would like to make the final call on these decisions for them.
You and your family will need to consult your loved one’s living will to determine what they need. And someone with power of attorney will be able to make certain medical and financial decisions for your loved one. It is important for everyone in the family to understand your loved one’s wishes for legal advocacy and who will be responsible for these decisions.
Even if you are not acting as a legal advocate for your loved one, you can still sit down with them and review their financial portfolio. After the death of their spouse, their income and expenses may have changed. They may have access to sources of income that they did not have before, but they will also now be responsible for the full share of household expenses.
This is the perfect time to go over their portfolio so that they understand exactly where they stand financially. This can be a complicated process, so if they have a financial advisor, it’s a good idea to schedule a meeting.
After reviewing your loved one’s portfolio, you both might have come to the conclusion that they will not be able to make ends meet in their current financial circumstances. After the loss of a spouse, many seniors choose to downsize and sell their homes to make a profit so that they can move somewhere smaller and more convenient.
This is not a decision to be taken lightly, but it is often necessary. Your loved one will want to weigh the pros and cons of staying in their neighborhood, moving to a new neighborhood nearby, or settling down in a retirement community. According to Caring, your loved one should tour any potential retirement communities they are considering before making a choice, so you may want to help them schedule and attend these tours.
Attend Grief Counseling
Before your loved one rushes to make any big financial decisions, like selling their home or moving to a senior living community, they may want to speak with a mental health professional. According to What’s Your Grief?, many people are reluctant to see a grief counselor, even if they are struggling to navigate their emotions on their own, so a little encouragement from a loved one – and a promise to attend a session with them – could be the push that they need.
Grief is deeply personal, and your loved one will undoubtedly need time and space to come to terms with the loss of their spouse. But with you helping them through their long list of legal and financial responsibilities, they won’t have to shoulder the burden on their own.