Financial struggles are common for the elderly. Many seniors rely on small social security checks to get by, often sacrificing much-needed medical care or other necessities just to make ends meet.
Proper financial planning can go a long way towards making seniors financially solvent. To accomplish a workable financial plan, many rely on their children for help.
If your mother or father faces financial challenges, as many seniors do, here are a few tips for helping keep them on track money-wise.
Helping Cover Care Expenses
In home care is a better option for many seniors for a couple of important reasons. First, hiring an experienced caregiver for a few hours each week to help with household chores is much more affordable than a retirement or nursing home bill. Secondly, many seniors want to stay in their homes for as long as possible.
One study that examined the relationship between loneliness and functional decline found that seniors who have regular interaction with loved ones or home helpers live longer, happier, more productive lives in retirement than others.
Finding the right caregiver who is dependable and responsible can not only help seniors keep up on their home maintenance, but can also provide some much-needed company. This is especially important for seniors who live alone.
Preventing Financial Abuse
One of the most common financial problems for seniors is that predators often see them as soft targets for exploitation. Because many seniors live in isolation, perpetrators of financial crimes often use this weakness against them by pretending to be friendly, establishing a rapport that they will later exploit at the senior’s expense.
Examples of financial scams commonly used to target seniors include health insurance fraud, telemarketing schemes, and the so-called “grandparent scam” where the caller assumes the identity of a struggling family member who needs financial assistance.
As the son or daughter, monitoring your parent’s social activity can help prevent them from falling victim to these types of crimes.
Managing Fixed Incomes
Many elderly do not have the ability or opportunity to supplement their meager incomes with money from part-time work or through other means. Therefore, maximizing the impact of all the available resources on a fixed income is crucial.
Managing Healthcare Costs
The biggest type of expense for seniors is often medical. Even with Medicare, the elderly often end up spending lots of money out-of-pocket for much-needed care. According to the National Center for Policy Analysis, the average senior spends $4,900 each year on out-of-pocket expenses even with Medicare. Even worse, the cost of healthcare for the elderly increases every year with no accompanying increase in financial resources.
Working with your parents to plan accordingly can help reduce the burden of medical costs. A few ways to reduce these costs include:
- Opting for less expensive generic medicines when they are available.
- Getting routine health checks to detect small problems before they become bigger (and, hence, more expensive).
- Always choosing in-network providers.
- Stay on top of proper nutrition to help prevent new health issues.
The Bottom Line on Helping Aging Parents with Finances
Many aging parents require assistance from their children in terms of managing money. Follow these tips to help keep your parents financially stable and healthy for years to come.