Do you know how much money you have in the bank? How about how much money your parents have?

As seniors age, financial decisions become crucial. Are your loved ones prepared to age in place? If they’re aging in place, can they afford to upgrade the house to make it safe and limited-mobility friendly? Would downsizing or moving to a refined residential community be a safer option? What happens if a medical emergency befalls a senior?

Unfortunately, as your loved ones age, they will most likely need help planning and managing their finances. It’s an uncomfortable topic for many, but having a rational, detailed conversation about expenses and savings now can prevent a great deal of stress for seniors and their caregivers in the future.

To fully take over finances, a caregiver must have the following:

  1. A plan. Seek out a financial advisor, and get a realistic portrait of the lifestyle that your loved one’s savings and earnings will allow. Know your options; learn how to make their money grow.
  2. An OK. Once you’ve discussed finances, it may be necessary or best for you to take over as the primary decision maker, depending on how comfortable your loved one feels about the idea. To properly take over finances, a loved one or caregiver needs a power of attorney or a living trust to begin making financial decisions. Consulting an Elder Law Attorney is highly recommended.
  3. The contents of accounts. Once you have the ability to help your loved one officially, it’s time for a full assessment. Go through documents and statements to get a full picture of how many bank accounts, stock portfolios, Long Term Care Insurance policies and other financial accounts your senior has. Once you have the full picture, it will be easier to understand the financial situation and move funds, should that be necessary.
  4. A breakdown of the bills. Finally, make sure you have a system for organizing and paying bills. One of the first signs that a senior may need help at home is failure to pay bills.

Ensure that your loved one stay on top of their finances so that they can age with confidence. If they need help, step up by helping them get organized, stay current, and invest in growth. With some careful financial planning, you can help your loved one’s later years become golden.

People are living longer. Medical advancements, a cultural focus on health, and progress in technology have allowed people to extend their lives. Seniors are becoming one the fastest-growing groups all over the world.

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) predicts that seniors will become 17 percent of the world population by 2050. This population explosion will affect the whole globe in a myriad of ways.

In the U.S., the NIA estimates that our aging population will double in the next three decades, meaning 88 million seniors will be living here. Throughout the globe, the so-called “oldest old” population—seniors living to be 80 or older—will triple in the coming decades.

What does this mean for you and your aging loved ones? It’s time to prepare.

Unless lawmakers and the population of the U.S. prepare for this senior boom, the country will face limited or nonexistent resources for their aging population. Programs like social security and Medicare will be stretched to the brink, while hospitals and doctors’ offices will be filled with seniors who need specialized gerontology care.

Some industries are already preparing for the senior boom. Caregiving companies are increasing staff and focusing on helping seniors age at home successfully. Tech companies are developing senior-friendly devices that will help the aging and their caregivers monitor health, medication distribution, and even movement throughout the house.

The senior surge also affords you an excellent opportunity to discuss aging with your soon-to-be-senior loved ones. Make sure your loved ones have a sound financial plan for their later years, and consult with a financial advisor if you’re concerned about retirement funds. Nail down your loved one’s wishes ahead of time: Do they want to age at home? What would they want done in case of a health crisis? These topics are often uncomfortable but utterly essential to a happy, worry-free aging process.

Whether you’re a soon-to-be-senior or a caregiver to a senior, it’s time to prepare for the senior surge.