Senior Guardianship Assistance Program
As our population ages, some seniors are increasingly at risk because they are no longer capable of managing their own finances or making their own decisions.
For many of our community’s seniors, the ability to manage their money is the difference between being moved to a nursing home and remaining safely in their own home. Unpaid bills, overdrafts, and late fees that eventually result in eviction and shut-off notices cause undue stress for vulnerable seniors who are otherwise independent.
Impact NW’s staff and volunteers process unopened mail, call creditors, make payment arrangements, and negotiate with landlords. We see the success of our work in the relieved faces of the people who are able to remain in their homes without the constant threat of financial insolvency.
Since 2004, Impact NW’s Senior Guardianship Assistance Program (“Senior GAP”) has provided money management, representative payee, guardianship and conservatorship services for otherwise self-sufficient seniors. Our trained staff members help clients pay household bills, balance their checkbooks, create payment schedules, and make financial decisions about health care, food, and living arrangements.
Mary is a nicely-dressed, intelligent lady in her mid-sixties. A few years ago, she felt backed into a corner due to her increasingly difficult finances and debt. But she was lucky to have three caring sons who found a way to help—they put her in touch with Impact NW’s Senior GAP Program.
She says, “I was very reluctant at first. I thought I’d lost my independence.” But within four months of receiving GAP’s help, she was able to get out of debt. Now, she can’t say enough good things about GAP: “The program is so wonderful – I told my sons I’m never going off!”
GAP helps Mary by writing checks for her routine bills, as well as those that come only once a year, like auto insurance. GAP provides a statement showing what’s been paid so she has peace of mind. “It’s like you have your own bookkeeper!” she laughs.
A woman on the go, Mary is able to travel without worrying about her finances. She has time to volunteer and do other things.
“I even have a little savings. GAP lets you decide where the money goes; they just make sure it gets there. They even allow you to get your hair done!” she laughs again.
When asked what would be the one best thing she’d say about GAP, Mary’s response is clear: “They’ve helped me get my self-esteem back. It’s the best thing I ever did.”