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‘Varying Degrees’ Of Money Management Support For Older People

The amount of financial management support provided to older people, some of whom may not have the mental capacity to manage their own funds, varies greatly around the UK, according to new research from the National Institute for Health and Care Research and the University of Manchester.

These findings are of particular concern given the increasing dementia rates in the country and how sophisticated financial scams are now becoming.

It was found that there is a lack of clarity regarding roles and responsibilities in relation to the assessment and support for older people (1), as well as insufficient formal assessments for money management. 

The end result of this could potentially be that decisions are taken away from those who are able to make them, or that poor protections are put in place for those who need more support.

The report also indicated that there is currently very inconsistent practice in the support being made available to older people, especially if they don’t have family members who can help them. 

Professionals may find themselves uncomfortable discussing money matters or providing more practical support, so they emphasise signposting people to other information sources, saying that this is more empowering and helps people make decisions for themselves.

However, because 50 per cent of working-age adults have primary school-age numerical abilities, signposting may not be that useful for many, especially those experiencing cognitive decline.

Lead author of the study Dr Alex Hall said: “This was an exploratory study designed to shed light on a topic that we know little about – the findings are of great importance to inform discussions about how best to support older people to manage money in contemporary society. 

“The current cost-of-living crisis is particularly challenging for many older people and it is important to ensure they do not experience unnecessary barriers to support. It is critical that policymakers develop a dedicated strategy for mental capacity and money management within the social care sector to ensure timely and proactive support. 

“This strategy may benefit from involving the health, social, legal, debt and financial services sectors in its development.”

It can be difficult to have serious conversations with loved ones but the best approach is to do it sooner rather than later, instead of leaving it to the point when your loved one needs urgent care.

Questions to consider asking about include who will provide them with care when they’re older, where they’d like to live if they can’t live at home, if they’re struggling with finances and what they’d like to do about it if so, if they’re having problems with their memory and what they’d like their end of life care to look like.

To get the conversation started, try to keep it general at first, discussing other people who have been through similar experiences. It can also be helpful to talk about what you might like to happen when you’re older to help keep the chat inclusive and open.

If you are struggling with debt at the moment, get in touch with us today to see if our debt management plans could be of benefit.




Money Helper has replaced the Money Advice Service and brings together the support and services of three government-backed financial guidance providers: the Money Advice Service, the Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise.