It Pays to Save

March 21, 2011

 

Many seniors of a certain age live on a fixed income. Unlike previous generations, our elderly loved ones are facing a real financial dilemma. From the Great Recession, to medical expenses, to struggling full-grown children, it may seem that everyone is sticking their straw into their cup-o-savings. Our elderly loved ones likely have something to live on for the rest of their lives but how can we help them make sure that they can live comfortably?

A Financial Planner is a useful tool at any age! It’s essential to be sure of the qualifications and credentials of any “planner” or “advisor” before paying anything or entrusting them with your loved one’s financial present or future. Do your research and ask around to find a trusted resource.

Medical expenses can be one of the biggest determining factors of a senior’s budget. The best way to cut down on medical expenses is to stay healthy, good advice for those of us young enough to still take preventative measures. However, many older ones find themselves coping with a debilitating illness that they just plain can’t afford. Health care costs increased significantly among older Americans from $9,224 in 1992 to $15,081 in 2006 and that’s after allowing adjustment for inflation. Do we dare ask what it’s up to by now? Buying generic prescriptions can help cut down costs. Make a call to your loved one’s insurance provider and talk to someone to make sure they are getting the most out of their coverage.

Leeches, not just for the pond anymore! The recession has forced many to go to their aging parents for financial assistance. There are many circumstances in which parents feel obligated to provide help. However, some take advantage of the situation, taking more than needed, or taking out a family “loan” for frivolous expenses with no intent to repay. The whole family can play a part in making sure Mom or Dad’s funds don’t get depleted.

 

Whether it’s paying the bills or loaning more money to Bill, many elderly are facing dwindling savings.

Everyone needs to eat. The elderly are especially susceptible to poor nutrition if they can’t afford healthy groceries. Gardening with your loved one will not only give them a healthy hobby to enjoy but also provides needed nutrition at a low cost. You can also contact Fairfax’s Agency on Aging if your loved one is having trouble paying for food and gas. Often times family members feel obligated to pay for theses expenses for their parents but doing so could put you in a bind financially.  For more information, log on to National Association of Area Agencies on Aging.

When the family and other caregivers can provide assistance to their older loved ones in their own home, it can be the biggest money saver of all! Helping your loved one keep a watchful eye on their finances will ensure that can live in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.

Share your advice on helping the elderly to save their savings below or on our Caregiver Forum!

Alisa Meredith, Writer

Guest writer Alisa Meredith is a blogger and social media professional with Scalable Social Media. Every once in a while, someone at Home Instead does something that compels her to stop Tweeting and write something real! This is one of those times.

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