LIVING SERVICES PROVIDES DAILY MONEY MANAGEMENT FOR SENIORS
MCL: How did Living Services begin?
Sonya Rohrman: Living Services began in my home in 1987. I was working for an accounting firm, and I had been praying for God to lead me into an area of ministry since I had previously been in ministry as a pastor’s wife. While working in the firm, I noticed that when a senior adult lost the spouse who handled the family’s finances, it was quite overwhelming for the surviving spouse. During this time, I also had two friends who lost their husbands and both needed to learn how to handle their family’s financial responsibilities.
I began to see God’s direction in laying the foundation for this ministry as He led me to assist these and others with their daily finances. Initially, I thought God was leading me to teach senior adults how to handle their own personal finances, but I soon realized that many had difficulty with these financial tasks because of physical handicaps or age. Also, some very active seniors did not want the burden of learning and keeping up with all the paperwork that arrived daily. Ultimately, God led me to start Living Services to be able to assist and serve senior adults in a professional and caring manner to accomplish their “everyday” tasks of good business management and to provide personal financial management as a complete service.
MCL: Who could benefit from the services you provide?
Sonya: At any age, managing daily finances and household responsibilities takes a considerable amount of time and concentration. Everyone must pay bills regularly, maintain bank accounts, be aware of changes in healthcare coverage, remain on a budget, manage investments, track income and expenses, and face numerous other financial related issues; yet, seniors are often dealing with health matters which make routine financial issues even more difficult to accomplish.
While many other professionals are able to advise a senior about estate planning and asset management, they do not provide the senior with the daily management of financial affairs and related domestic matters. Family members are often not able to give adequate assistance to the senior because they live out of town or have personal demands of their own. In many situations it makes sense to have a neutral party oversee the finances. At that point, it may be time to hire professional help—a Daily Money Manager. Getting assistance means keeping independence.
MCL: What services do you offer the client?
Sonya: Living Services offers comprehensive daily money management services to senior adults who desire assistance with personal business management. However, when working with a daily money manager, the senior and the involved family members remain in complete control of the senior’s finances. Our Daily Money Manager will come into the home and assist a senior with organizing mail and paperwork, paying bills, balancing bank statements, reviewing medical claims, negotiating with creditors, reconciling credit card statements, and more. We monitor for fraudulent activity, as senior adults can easily be victims.
We are providing a comprehensive approach to managing the household’s paperwork, while keeping the senior as independent as possible. Living Services does not replace the professionals in the accounting, legal or investment fields, but complements and facilitates the work of these professionals by ensuring that the senior’s daily tasks are completed effectively.
MCL: Where do you get your clients?
Sonya: Although we have not advertised, God has brought us clients through professional referrals such as accountants, attorneys, investment advisers, doctors, etc. In addition, we receive referrals from the staff at retirement homes and from satisfied clients and their family members.
MCL: Who are the people you help?
Sonya: Our ministry serves senior adults and people with disabilities. The needs of each client are special and unique to their circumstances. Many are retired and active. Travel and social activities keep them busy, and they prefer to let someone else organize and handle their affairs. Many senior adults have needs due to physical changes. Some seniors want to retain their independence to prevent being a burden to their families and feel more comfortable with help from a neutral party. Some are just overwhelmed by the load of paperwork, even wondering what to keep and what to throw away. Families seek our help to free them from administrative responsibilities and to enable them to focus on the senior’s quality of life.
MCL: If someone is really not sure how much help they need or how much they can afford, do you do some kind of assessment?
Sonya: Yes. There is no charge for an initial consultation to determine if our services can meet their needs. Our hourly fees are based on client’s income. Since we are a non-profit organization, our hourly fees are well below the national average. We are subsidized by charitable donations that are tax deductible. Especially beneficial are gifts given to honor friends or family members, as well as memorials given on the occasion of the death of family members or friends.
MCL: I notice the seal at the bottom of your homepage that you are a member of AADMM. What is involved in that accreditation?
Sonya: American Association of Daily Money Managers (AADMM) offers a credentialing program. In order to maintain membership, we must abide by the strict AADMM Code of Ethics. AADMM offers a national conference annually to provide for continuing education and networking. Members also have access to an online forum for sharing current topics, industry updates, and other pertinent information and ideas in addition to informative webinars.