Finance Help

Elderly widow (92) needs help with bills, health insurance etc. She feels that perhaps 2 days a month would be a good, probably in her home. Not in SOMA but nearby. Are there any elder services that might be able to help? Or some service organization? If necessary she could pay a nominal amount. TIA


rhw said:

Elderly widow (92) needs help with bills, health insurance etc. She feels that perhaps 2 days a month would be a good, probably in her home. Not in SOMA but nearby. Are there any elder services that might be able to help? Or some service organization? If necessary she could pay a nominal amount. TIA

giving a stranger access to her finances is a recipe for disaster.  is there a way you can arrange to do that.  you should be able to do it all online.  possible someone can email you copies of bills you can't get online.  I am guessing she wants to stay independent and handle the bills, but you may need explain that the problem is not her, the problem is being able to trust a stranger.

I seriously write ONE check per year...everything else is online.  almost all my accounts I can look up online.  I pay my credit card back 2 days after I use it, even though the bill isn't due.

for anything you can't get online, you can change her billing address to your address.


This is a tricky situation.  You need someone that you totally can trust and who will be looking after your best financial interests.   Ideally a trusted family member.  I did this for my dad and got the legal financial and medical surrogate forms completed at an attorney's office.  Much of the financial billing and tax work can be done online and the relative does not need to be physically present with you. A very good long time trusted friend may also be a help.  

My other thought is that if you do not have a trusted family member who can help, is that you talk to your accountant if you have one.   They may be able to perform this service or refer you to someone who does.  I would expect to pay for this service.   The third choice is that there are volunteers who may help you and you can reach them through your Town or County Senior Services.  It should go without saying, but beware of scammers...they look upon seniors as easy prey.  


If she doesn't have a computer, maybe you can just buy her a basic printer scanner.  The helper can bring their laptop and scan the bills to send to you.

Or smartphones can be used as scanners, i don't know how the quality is, but you can look into that.  I've occasionally sent documents by simply taking a pic and texting it, but that might not work good enough with all the bills.

and not only do you have to worry about the finances with a stranger, you have to worry about covid....most people seem to be going to indoor group gatherings, not wearing masks, etc....even if she is vaccinated there is still a small risk.


This app from Adobe has done a pretty good job. When I was up in Paterson I was helping folks apply for things like LIKEAP and PAGE and since we couldn't carry around big stuff, we used this app. Emailed the docs to the office and printed them out if needed. They sent pretty well through email in cases where the doc needed to be uploaded.

https://www.adobe.com/acrobat/mobile/scanner-app.html


Unfortunately she has suffered some family losses and sicknesses that precludes that avenue of assistance and although I would like to assist I cannot.

Her basic needs are assistance with medical bills and taxes (property). And perhaps as someone mentioned setting her up with bill pay.


PeterWick said:

This app from Adobe has done a pretty good job. When I was up in Paterson I was helping folks apply for things like LIKEAP and PAGE and since we couldn't carry around big stuff, we used this app. Emailed the docs to the office and printed them out if needed. They sent pretty well through email in cases where the doc needed to be uploaded.

https://www.adobe.com/acrobat/mobile/scanner-app.html

It think that's the same phone app my kids were directed to for taking images of their handwritten homework to submit during the shutdown. 


My dad used a home aid company.  She came about three times a week and cleaned the house, did meals, took him on errands.   This was tremendously helpful.  I think this 92-year-old woman is probably not adept at using computers but needs personal in-person help at some points.  As noted above, she may be okay with using quick books or another computer setup.  But, she will need in-person assistance to set this up.

Now I am making an assumption.  I fully understand the desire to stay in your own home and not go to some independent/assisted living facility.  (Many of them are really nice,)  But if you decide to stay in your own home, you need to recognize the need to reach out for help.   


it doesn't make sense that a stranger can set up online bill pay for her (and have access to all her financial info to steal it), but you can't set up the bill pay.  Unless the woman has indicated she doesn't want you helping her personally.

or do you  not know how to pay bills online?  if that is the case, maybe you can find someone to teach you how to use online bill pay

a while ago, i used to use my computer to pay other people's bills.....i set it up from my house/via phone with them....

to help keep track of websites/passwords, i bought a phone book at the dollar store to list them.

I use a code when I write out the password to make it more secure, basically a 2nd language where i know if I write 'lavender' i always mean purple  or if I write ### I always mean 456 (no those aren't the actual code words I use)


If there is a senior services office in her town or county, they may be able to refer her to a trusted helper.  Anyhow, that's the way it seems to work here in Wis.  Currently, though, availability and covid restrictions may be a problem.  Depending on her condition, she may be able to oversee, and sign the checks, while the helper keeps up with the due dates and does the physical checkwriting/mailing. 

She is fortunate to have you looking out for her, but it sounds like it's time for professional help (social worker, senior resource person, can't remember the designation/certification, maybe geriatric care manager?).  Even if she doesn't need a whole suite of services now, such a person might be able to refer you to a trustworthy helper.


mjc said:

If there is a senior services office in her town or county, they may be able to refer her to a trusted helper.  Anyhow, that's the way it seems to work here in Wis.  Currently, though, availability and covid restrictions may be a problem.  Depending on her condition, she may be able to oversee, and sign the checks, while the helper keeps up with the due dates and does the physical checkwriting/mailing. 

She is fortunate to have you looking out for her, but it sounds like it's time for professional help (social worker, senior resource person, can't remember the designation/certification, maybe geriatric care manager?).  Even if she doesn't need a whole suite of services now, such a person might be able to refer you to a trustworthy helper.

Thank you. She would be open to a referral for a "trustworthy helper". If anyone knows of contact information in Essex County for this type of help it would be appreciated. Once she gets set up it appears that things should run smoothly. We hope to help watch for any unusual activity by monitoring the assistance she gets. 



Untested possibilities:

Essex County Division of Senior Service

Main Number
973) 395-8375

(above quoted from https://www.twp.maplewood.nj.us/government/community-services/senior-citizen-programming )

Or check her town's website.  I was looking at SOMA sites, till i reread the OP, still, actually it's possible someone who deals with senior issues in SOMA would know where to start in a different town, so:

https://www.twp.maplewood.nj.us/government/community-services/soma-two-towns-for-all-ages



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