With our rapidly growing population of seniors, more and more families will be dealing with loved ones who will face trouble managing their daily finances. Being unable to fully manage financial matters puts the elderly at risk of financial insecurity, debt problems or serious paying for long-term care down the road. The good news is that if you or someone you know is dealing with this type of problem, there are solutions available. One of them is utilizing a Daily Money Management Program (DMM).
What is a DMM?
Simply put, a DMM is a program that provides a hired, professional agent to manage the daily financial affairs of seniors who could use some assistance. The manager is either an individual financial expert or an employee of a larger organization that provides this service to seniors. A DMM can help with all issues relating to everyday financial matters. They can make a budget, pay bills, write checks, manage online banking, make deposits, and keep track of records and statements.
One of the biggest advantages of utilizing the services of a DMM is the managing individual will handle the finances with sensitivity and respect for the client. The DMM’s role is to help seniors safely live independently, for longer. Clients should understand that their finances totally remain in their name; the DMM is simply providing professional assistance. The DMM in no has the authority to use the client’s funds in any unapproved ways. If a DMM were to overstep their boundaries, they should be immediately dismissed.
Another advantage of using a DMM program is that it places distance between an older person’s family and private affairs. DMM programs allow seniors to thrive financially without feeling they are burdening their adult children or other relatives by constantly asking for help.
Some DMMs and the people who act as agents are run through non-profit, elder-focused agencies. Other times the service is offered by a for-profit financial firm or business. There are many programs to choose from, so it’s important to research diligently when choosing a DMM program to work with. Referrals are valuable, and it is important to conduct due diligence by checking references.
Also, relatives should understand that using a DMM does not allow them to check out entirely. The senior’s adult children or relatives should review all of the financial statements and figures at least monthly. This way the family will know immediately if something seems wrong.
While a DMM is a great tool, hiring someone for this service alone isn’t enough to fully protect the elderly financially. A DMM is a good part of a team of professionals, including an experienced elder law attorney. Your attorney can help make plans for the future, including arrangements for permanent decision makers who can step in once seniors are ready for them to take over or at a time when the senior no longer has the capacity to make their own decisions. DMMs combined with good elder law planning gives seniors a solid plan for the future.
Jason A. Waddell is a Board Certified Florida Elder Law Attorney who practices on the Panhandle of Florida.