How to Help Parents—and Yourself—Live Better at 80, 90 and Beyond

How to Help Parents—and Yourself—Live Better at 80,

90 and Beyond


They say we get wiser as we get older, but let’s face it: Many new uncertainties and challenges

can crop up as people get deeper into their golden years. Changes in physical health and issues

with memory can mean you—or your elderly parents—might require new types of never-before needed



With that in mind, here’s a look at two key issues that may impact your life or the lives of your

elderly parents—aging in place, and safeguarding wealth from costly cognitive mistakes.


There’s No Place Like Home


More than 75 percent of Americans age 50 and older want to stay in their current homes and

communities as they age instead of moving to a nursing home or elsewhere, according to



But wishing doesn’t make it so. To potentially make that happen for you and your spouse or for

your parents (or all of the above), you need to plan with the same level of seriousness that you

plan for your financial future.


According to Kim Evanoski, CEO of care management company Care Manage for All, some

of the key issues surrounding the idea of aging in place include the following:


1. Needs. Identify the big needs and pain points to address. If you’re helping parents, talk

with their doctors about specific ways health problems could reduce their mobility or their

ability to take care of themselves. If you’re planning for yourself, think about any

illnesses that you or your spouse have or that run in your families—and how those

illnesses tend to impact the ability to do certain things.


2. Changes and renovations to the home. Often, aging in place successfully requires

maximizing the usefulness of the current house and making it safe and comfortable at

any age.

Swap out existing hardware. Replace knobs with lever-handled doorknobs, add

sturdier handrails along stairs and add rollout shelves in the kitchen.

Widen doorways. A door opening of at least 32 inches allows better access for

people using walkers or wheelchairs.

Focus on the first floor. For example, avoid stairs by having the main bedroom on

the first floor.


3. Keeping social connections intact and strong. Depression and other health issues

associated with loneliness and isolation can be serious problems. Ask yourself how aging

in place might impact social connections—yours or, if you’re helping your parents age in

place, theirs. You might find, for example, that it makes sense to hire someone to drive

your octogenarian parents to movies or dinners so they stay connected with themselves

and others.


*Joanne Binette and Kerri Vasold, 2018 Home and Community Preferences: A National Survey of Adults Age 8-Plus,

AARP Research, August 2018.


Safeguarding Financial Well-being


As we age, we may find that the biggest risk to our financial health isn’t a market crash—it’s our

own behavior. So says Chris Heye, co-founder of Whealthcare Planning.


That’s because our cognitive abilities tend to decline over time, and the risk of dementia rises as

we get older. According to the World Health Organization, the number of people living with

dementia worldwide is expected to nearly triple by 2050.*


But you don’t need a diagnosed illness to make harmful financial decisions. Various health

issues can diminish people’s ability to make prudent decisions, leading to outcomes such as the



Investing impulsively. Aging can reduce our ability to accurately assess risk and control

our impulses. That, in turn, can lead people to buy investments that are far too volatile for

their risk tolerance based on their needs and their age.


Falling for financial scams and exploitation. Behavioral factors such as loneliness can

make people—even highly intelligent and financially savvy people—susceptible to

financial scams. Such scams may involve investment “opportunities” that don’t exist or

thieves who feign romantic interest in widowed or divorced seniors.


At that point, it will be time to take action. Good or bad, the decision you make is likely to be the

best one possible under the circumstances.


So how can you help an aging parent or parents avoid these scenarios? And just as important,

what can you do to prepare yourself so you avoid making major money mistakes as you get



Plan now. If you’re in your 40s, 50s or 60s, make a plan for how and when you want to

transfer decision-making powers to heirs or others. Make the plan dependent on your

level of cognitive health—using tests that assess your decision-making ability. If you’re

concerned about your elderly parents, help them take such tests.


Get documents in order. Formalize your wishes and plans via a will, a living will, power

of attorney and other legal documents. You can also create documents that spell out

certain guidelines—such as family agreements that explain how and to whom you will

lend money.


Communicate with financial advisor(s). Get to know your parents’ financial advisor(s)

so you can set the stage for dealing with potentially difficult conversations and

challenging situations. You may end up coordinating efforts down the road, so build

relationships with these key professionals now.


Watch for warning signs. If a parent or spouse is acting impulsively with money or in

other ways, that’s a possible sign of deteriorating health.


As noted above, loneliness can also put older adults at risk. If an older family member reports

having conversations with “new” people whom nobody knows, investigate the nature of these

discussions. It could indicate that exploiters are making inroads into the family member’s life.


Take Action Now


It’s much better to plan and take helpful steps early—before there are issues or emergencies

that force you to react. That’s true whether you’re helping your parents or thinking about your

own lifestyle during your golden years.


Best bet: Discuss these and similar concerns with the key trusted professionals in your life.



*World Health Organization, 10 Facts on Dementia, September 2019.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT: This article was published by the VFO (Virtual Family Office) Inner Circle, a global
financial concierge group working with affluent individuals and families and is distributed with its
permission. Copyright 2020 by AES Nation, LLC.
This report is intended to be used for educational purposes only and does not constitute a
solicitation to purchase any security or advisory services. Past performance is no guarantee of
future results. An investment in any security involves significant risks and any investment may
lose value. Refer to all risk disclosures related to each security product carefully before
investing. Investment advice offered through V Wealth Advisors LLC, a registered investment advisor.