Help Your Loved One With Parkinson’s Disease Navigate Financial Decisions
Updated: Aug 5
Parkinson’s disease can take away so much from an individual, and although there is medication available that can lessen some of the symptoms, there is no cure. When a senior loved one is navigating the effects of Parkinson’s, they may become unable to care for themselves the way they used to. This can include their physical health, their home, and even their finances as their cognitive abilities may decline over time. Fortunately, there are several ways you can help if your loved one is showing signs that they are unable to continue handling financial tasks. You might start by learning more about Parkinson’s disease and utilizing helpful resources such as the Dallas Area Parkinson Society.
Here are some ways you can help your senior loved one:
Know what to look for
Because Parkinson’s disease may show mild symptoms in the early days, it can often go unnoticed for a period of time. Some signs you may watch out for in your loved one include a tremor, rigid muscles, loss of balance, and speech and writing changes. They may also develop behaviors that can point to an issue such as memory or cognitive problems. These behaviors can lead to an array of financial issues, so it’s important that you talk to your loved one about their monthly expenses and get a sense of their most important bills so you can help them stay on top of things.
Help them make some difficult decisions
Once you’ve talked to your loved one and assessed the situation, it’s important to cover a few big decisions that may be difficult for them to make, such as selling a business. For many seniors, being able to keep an income to save for retirement is crucial, so the idea of selling can be a hard one to get used to. However, if they are unable to continue running daily operations, help them obtain a professional business valuation–which should include all assets and inventory–so they’ll know how much it’s worth. You can also talk to your loved one about how they want to handle the conversation with their employees.
Assess their living situation
Like selling a business, selling a home can be a major life change for an older adult that must be handled carefully. Not only can it be challenging physically, it can take a toll on their mental health, especially if they feel they have no choice in the matter. Talk to your loved one about their options if they’re no longer able to care for their current home, and do a little research to find out how much they can expect to make from the sale. This money will help them downsize or move into an assisted living facility depending on what their needs are.
Help them stay active
Because any or all of these changes can be overwhelming for your loved one, it’s important to look for ways to give them some normalcy. Staying social and active for as long as it’s safe and comfortable to do so is essential, so look for ways they can stay fit and benefit from the dopamine that exercise provides. You might even look for a class that you can take together, such as yoga; this is a great workout for almost all abilities because it can be adapted for different needs. DAPS also offers a range of free exercise classes, both in-person and online, for people with Parkinson’s, their caregivers, and their families. Check the DAPS event calendar to see what’s available.
Helping your loved one as they navigate life with Parkinson’s can be stressful for both of you. Look for resources that will help you understand what your loved one is going through, and remember to keep communication open with them as you make decisions together.
Written by: Daren Johnson at Elders Welcome