Even under the best of circumstances, managing mail can be challenging. Junk mail is a big culprit, but for seniors, leaving piles of mail unattended can also mean bills go unpaid and important information is missed. These tips on helping seniors with mail management can bring order to the chaos.
Stop Junk Mail
It’s impossible to stop all of it, but you can cut it back quite a bit. Our blog shows you how to do it.
Set Up a System
You can’t be there to go through the mail every day. So give them a system to sort and file the mail between visits. Have a place for outgoing items and a way for them to sort incoming mail into categories such as financial, personal, and questionable items like sweepstakes, etc. Have a special file for tax documents.
Put It All in One Place
The sorting system, along with envelopes, stamps, address labels, etc., should all be in one easily-accessible place. A small desk or one end of a bureau, for example. Having it all in one place makes it less likely that older adults will get confused and more likely they’ll use the system once you’ve set it up.
Switch to Auto-Pay Where Possible
So many places offer online and automatic payments these days. By setting these up, you can manage their finances from anywhere you are and greatly reduce the amount of mail coming in.
Even after they’ve agreed to use this new system, they may have trouble remembering at first. Verify they’re using it each time you visit. If they start to slip after using it successfully for a while, it may be a sign that something else such as arthritis, vision, or dementia is causing the system to fail.
Continue the Conversation
Talk about what charities, if any, they want to support. Let them know they can ask you about mail they’re confused about. It is critical that you find a solution before you or those you care about run into troubles owing to missed payments, unpaid taxes, or other scams.
Are you helping a senior with their mail management? How is it going for you? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll try to help with anything you’re struggling with.