Paying bills and throwing out the junk mail

Paying bills and throwing out the junk mail!

It is frustrating at times to walk into your senior’s home and find that the bills and junk mail are stacking up beside the famous recliner where they sit nearly all day and night.

Not only is there mail piled up on the small coffee table beside the recliner there are magazines, newspapers, neighborhood ads and such strewn across the sofa leaving only an edge for the visitor to perch. Dirty dishes of half-eaten meals balanced on top of the chaos waiting for the dog to bump them just right and send everything flying.

Does this scenario remind you of your elder?

We have difficulty convincing them that they need to do something with the clutter. Yet, they say they will do it and nothing changes. How many times have you heard that one? If you are like me a naturally organized person, it is difficult to wait patiently for something to be done about the chaos.

Regardless if your senior is cooperative or uncooperative, here are some valuable tips that may help you and your elder to remove those piles.

* Let your senior know that you want to help them, that it is not like them to get behind on the mail.
* Start by offering to sort their mail, and assure them that you are not throwing anything out just dividing the important mail from the less important mail.
* Provide a box for the junk mail to look at later when they feel like going through it. If they have not looked at it within a week depending on circumstances, you may need to throw it out yourself.
* Sometimes it can become a tug of war with the junk mail, because often a senior enjoys seeing the colorful ads and they like to purchase things from the offers.
* This can become a problem especially in regards to identity theft and consumer fraud. Caution elder as to these issues and learn more about identity theft.
* Over a period of time when your senior is used to you sorting the mail, then you might want to offer assistance when it comes to the bill paying, by stuffing the envelopes and then writing out the checks for them if that is an issue allowing them to sign the checks. Always keep records and show them what you are doing for them. Assure them that they are in control and you are only assisting them.
* If they are in arrears on payments for certain bills encourage them to either contact the service provider and/or send out a check right away.
* Suggest that your Elder have monthly bills such as phone, utilities, insurances, car and home payments automatically deducted from the bank. Most banking institutions can be of help in this area and can alleviate any concern for fraud or identity theft.
* Provide file boxes and files so they have easy access to their important papers and set aside a time either weekly or monthly to assist them in their filing efforts.
* If they really insist on keeping some of the junk mail, help them organize a file box for their favorites and then discard the rest.
* As far as monthly publications and magazines, encourage your elder to donate them to the local library or senior center for others to enjoy.

Books available as additional resources for further ideas on this subject:
The Parent Care Conversation by Dan Taylor, The Fearless Caregiver by Gary Barg

Current websites helpful on this subject and more:

Provided by: The Staff at
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