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Financial Caregiving During Covid-19 Crisis

financial caregiving

January 2020 seems light years ago. Our hearts broke for Kobe Bryant’s family; we yawned at the Super Bowl ads; Meghan and Harry started packing their bags and on the 21st of that same month, the US announced its first case of COVID-19. We didn’t know what was coming and how quickly it would arrive. That single case has turned into hundreds of thousands infected and over tens of thousands of deaths. Around the world, coronavirus has upended our everyday lives. 

Individuals who handle financial caregiving during this crisis for either older adults or a person with a disability, there may be additional concerns or obstacles. The requirements to follow social distancing protocols coupled with the increased risk factor for older adults during this crisis can complicate the financial caregiving process.

Tips for Financial Caregiving During The COVID-19 Crisis

Under the best of circumstances financial caregiving is challenging, but now money considerations are layered with concerns of safety. 

If you are having difficulty acting in the capacity of a financial caregiver because of the COVID-19 crisis, here are a few tips that may help make the task a bit more manageable:

  • Phone calls, video chats and other technology can help you connect while keeping an appropriate distance from the person you provide financial care for. There are resources that can help you check-in and stay connected during this time.
  • Be aware that scammers are looking for opportunities to prey on vulnerable individuals. When you check-in, ask questions about potentially fraudulent activity and pay attention if your loved one mentions any unusual activity.
  • Take advantage of resources available to help. The CFPB has published helpful guides for managing someone else’s money to help you stay on track.
  • Keep digital records whenever possible—a paper chase is exhausting and time-consuming. Clearly we have to keep some important papers at home but keeping your digital records securely online can help you locate important documents quickly when you need them. In addition, with many businesses closed,  you would still have online access to your information
  • If you feel overwhelmed by financially caring for your loved one, understand that this is normal and you are not alone in those emotions. Trying to find everyday staples like toilet paper and sanitizer alone can almost become a part-time job right now, so give yourself a break. Call in reinforcements (perhaps close friends or other relatives) who can help you come up with a plan to divide the load of financial caregiving. Keep yourself healthy mentally, physically, and emotionally. Self-care is necessary when you are extending yourself for others.
  • Know how to reach the professionals in the life of your loved one. Skype, FaceTime or Zoom with lawyers, financial planners, accountants, bank managers and anyone else who has (or has had)  involvement with your loved one’s finances. Keep them accountable by touching base frequently. People are much less likely to be dishonest if they know you’re on top of things and will be checking up.

Caring For Your Own Finances

It’s important when you provide financial caregiving to have a plan in place for your own finances in case it’s needed. Let at least one person close to you (siblings, spouse, trusted friends) know your financial plans and the contingencies for those in your care. Scheduling an online meeting can help to keep things business-like and less awkward if things get stressful and emotions could run high.

When emotions of guilt or self-reproach creep in, be mindful about not depleting your own resources to ease your conscience. If you become financially vulnerable, your loved one could be more at-risk.  It’s a delicate balance but there is help through social services and non-profits organizations that promote financial literacy.

Foremost, keep a cool head and a healthy body—observe all the protocols that keep you and your loved ones safe while this virus is still on the move. 

If you are experiencing financial difficulty and are looking for a solution, CESI is here to help. Our counselors are available to assist if you are experiencing job loss, temporary loss of income or financial hardship during this time. Contact us today for a free financial assessment with one of our certified credit counselors.

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