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Becoming the caregiver of a loved one is no easy task, but it is one that many of us will experience in our lifetimes. It requires thoughtful consideration of where your loved ones will live, how they will manage their finances, care for their health, and ultimately, how they will enjoy their senior years.

Talking about finances can be a sensitive matter—even for family members. Here are five tips every caregiver should know when providing financial help for seniors:

1. Start the conversation now.

Don't wait until it is too late! While your parents or loved ones are in good health, use the opportunity to start a conversation about their finances. Money can often be considered a taboo topic, but it is an important one. Begin the conversation as soon as possible to learn about your loved ones' current financial situation and their plans for the future. Consider where their current income comes from, if they have proper insurance, and if they have done any planning already.

2. Find out what is important to your loved ones.

This is one of the most important items to consider. Talk to your loved ones about how they would like to spend their golden years. Ask whether or not they would like to stay in their current home or if they are comfortable moving to a senior living community. This will help start the dialogue. Remember, you may not be able to provide every preference to your loved ones, but it will allow you to understand their feelings, wants, and needs.

3. Seek financial help for seniors from an expert.

Find a financial planner that has experience in senior financial planning. This is an important step toward financial preparedness for seniors. A financial planner will help you understand your loved one’s assets, taxes, and other items of consideration. You can also estimate the cost of retirement living by using this free tool.

4. Know where financial documents are stored.

A crucial step in ensuring financial preparedness is talking to your loved ones about the location of records and documents; know where the insurance policies, wills, healthcare documents, tax returns, and investment and banking records are safely stored. Start by asking your loved one where he or she keeps important papers and whom you should contact if he or she is ever in an accident.

5. Consider how your caregiver role will impact your finances.

It's important to consider how your own personal finances may be affected when caring for a senior loved one. Will you be missing work to attend appointments? Will you have out-of-pocket expenses? Is your loved one as financially prepared as he or she hoped? Now is the time to consider how your loved one’s care may affect your bottom line.

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