A professional woman living in California recognized that her elderly mother in the Midwest needed assistance. Distance limited her own ability to assist, so she visited her mother, interviewed prospective caregivers, and hired in-home help. She then returned to the west coast, confident that her mother could remain comfortably at home and would be well cared-for. Several weeks later, because her own phone number was listed on her mother’s credit card account, the woman received a call from the card company questioning multiple recent large charges at discount and department stores. It became apparent that the “kind” caregiver was helping herself to the mother’s mail, checkbook, credit and debit cards.
Confusion over money matters and, too often, financial victimization are wide-ranging difficulties for many aging individuals and their families. Declining faculties often become apparent with duplicate or missed bill-paying, misplaced paperwork, or poor financial decisions. A trusted relative, friend or other caregiver may be available to help manage finances. However, under some circumstances, it may be beneficial to separate financial caregiving from any necessary household or physical caregiving, with the better option being to hire an independent, outside professional: a Daily Money Manager (DMM).
This under-recognized but growing field promotes independence through support, frequently for individuals facing cognitive decline. DMMs are well-prepared to assist with tasks such as bill-paying, budgeting, managing paperwork, balancing the checkbook, gathering and maintaining tax records, and monitoring accounts for suspicious activity, all with the consent of the client and always with her or his best interests at heart. On behalf of the client, DMMs often work as part of his or her team, communicating with family and other professionals as authorized and as appropriate.
Part of what makes this line of work very gratifying for many DMMs is the palpable sense of relief clients experience when they no longer feel oppressed by the burden of financial management, and are instead free to enjoy chosen activities. Even individuals who are initially reluctant to accept a DMM’s help generally come to appreciate the relationship, often wondering how they ever managed without.
The American Association of Daily Money Managers is the national organization for DMMs. Members subscribe to the group’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, and have multiple opportunities for continuing education throughout the year. The web site includes a nationwide searchable data base of members, along with tips on hiring and working with a DMM.
As proud members of AADMM, we appreciate this opportunity to spread the word about Daily Money Management and how we can help individuals and families experience greater peace of mind.