Managing Your Parents' Money

Find out as much as you can about your parents' finances now so that you're prepared to step in later if necessary.

A few months before my mom's 66th birthday, a doctor diagnosed her with Alzheimer's disease. At that time -- November 2008 -- she was exhibiting symptoms of the early stages of dementia, such as short-term memory loss.

In July 2009, another doctor confirmed the Alzheimer's diagnosis and also said she had white-matter disease -- another possible contributor to her dementia. By then, she could still handle daily tasks, such as cooking and bathing, and she was still active socially. Yet she didn't know what day of the week, month or year it was. She couldn't recite a sequence of three words the doctor had said just a minute earlier. The doctor told her that she should stop driving and that someone else should handle her finances.

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Cameron Huddleston
Former Online Editor,

Award-winning journalist, speaker, family finance expert, and author of Mom and Dad, We Need to Talk.

Cameron Huddleston wrote the daily "Kip Tips" column for She joined Kiplinger in 2001 after graduating from American University with an MA in economic journalism.