By Vicki Hightower, Senior Director, Adult Services, YWCA McLean County
We all know money matters, and no matter what your age, managing daily finances takes a lot of time and thought. Many seniors deal with conditions that can affect their ability to take on the task of managing their finances, whether it is arthritis, dementia, compromised vision, or sometimes the passing of a spouse or partner who managed the funds can make the task of money management overwhelming.
Family members who step in to help can work well, depending on their availability and the difficulty of the financial situation. However, over time it may become overwhelming, take up too much time, or a neutral party may be needed to oversee the finances.
YWCA Money Management began in August 2014; taking over the program formerly ran by PATH. The program is still sponsored through the Illinois Department on Aging.
The professionally trained and monitored volunteers, who serve as the money counselors, are qualified to not only help pay and manage one’s bills; they can also help manage and negotiate with debt collectors and work on budgeting needs with clients.
“The Money Management program fits well with our mission,” said Vicki Hightower, Adult Services senior director, “We are excited to continue the work PATH started in McLean County and provide this much needed service to local seniors.”
While services are available to all adults, the main goal of the program is to provide a protective service to eligible seniors and promote independent living. Eligible clients aged 60 and over may qualify to participate with a low- or no-cost fee if they meet the eligibility requirements set by the Community Care Program. Self-paid money management services are also available to those who do not meet the age or income qualifications for the low- or no-cost program but feel they need the extra help.
When trying to decide if the time is right to seek assistance for you or for a loved one, the U.S. Agencies on Aging, National Center for Elder Abuse recommends watching for the following signs:
- Failing to pay bills on time, resulting in discontinued utilities, late fees, or penalties.
- Paying the same bills multiple times.
- Inability to keep track of assets or property, or loses checks, cash or credit cards.
- Forgetting to open and pay bills, deposit checks, and record expenses.
- Spending excessively on useless items or makes irresponsibly large donations to charities.
If you, a loved one, or a client could benefit from this service; if you are interested in volunteering; or if you have questions, please contact Vicki Hightower at YWCA McLean County at 309-662-0461, ext. 246 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.