Some seniors have been diligent savers and investors for many years, while others primarily rely on social security, pensions, or retirement benefits. Regardless of what applies to your senior loved one in terms of how he or she receives income, there are certain financial risks that can affect older adults if they’re not fully prepared. Here are six ways you can help your loved one financially.
1. Check in on a Regular Basis
If you act as a family caregiver, you’re probably already in the habit of checking on your loved one to see if he or she needs help with routine tasks or errands. But also get into the habit of seeing how your loved one is doing financially. This process typically involves:
• Checking to see all bills are being paid
• Determining how well your loved one is budgeting for monthly expenses
• Looking for out-of-the-ordinary expenses or unusual spending patterns
Forgetfulness and poorly managed finances may indicate your loved one needs help with other everyday tasks. If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of elder care. Austin Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services.
2. Work on a Budget Together
If you have concerns about your loved one’s spending habits, work together to establish a sensible budget. Clearly list necessary expenses, determine how much is available to cover those expenses, and figure out how to handle anything that’s left over. If your loved one is amenable to today’s technology, consider using app-based budgets both of you can access to see if everything is on track once a budget has been established.
3. Identify Ways to Cut Expenses
Your loved one could be facing financial difficulties even if he or she is normally responsible with money. Should this be the case, help your loved one avoid monthly financial crunches by identifying ways to cut expenses in a way that doesn’t affect his or her quality of life. Consider the following strategies:
• Identify items your loved one can live without
• Explore less expensive options (e.g., making more meals at home instead of eating out)
• Encourage your parent to downsize to a smaller living space
The many tasks involved in helping your loved one handle his or her finances may seem daunting, and the extra worry could take a toll on your wellbeing. Caring for a senior loved one can be rewarding, but it can also be overwhelming for family caregivers who have other responsibilities they need to focus on. For these families, the perfect solution is respite care. Austin families rely on our caregivers whenever they need time to rest, work, run errands, and even go on vacation.
4. Explore Other Possible Sources of Income
If your loved one still has difficulties with finances even after attempting to stick to a budget and cut expenses, another option is to find possible new sources of income. Just be aware that social security has restrictions about extra earnings. In 2019, this limit was $1,470 per month. Options for supplemental income include:
• Renting a spare room
• Considering a reverse mortgage
• Selling unwanted or handmade items online
• Babysitting, tutoring, and other types of part-time work
5. Go Over Basic Financial Security Tactics
Some unsavory characters make attempts to scam seniors. If successful, such efforts could have long-term financial consequences. Help your loved one be proactive about preventing scams by going over the best practices for financial security, including:
• Monitoring for identity theft
• Looking out for phishing emails
• Shredding papers with personal information before throwing them out
6. Set Up Automatic Payments (or Consider a Financial Power of Attorney)
If your loved one is having difficulty remembering to pay bills on time, he or she may benefit from having payments automatically taken out of his or her bank account. If this still doesn’t help much, another option is to set up a financial power of attorney so you can make sure your loved one is making sensible financial decisions. Ideally, you should do this as a “just in case” option before your loved one has serious cognitive impairment.
Financial management is a challenge for most people, and it can be even harder for aging adults. Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted senior home care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Home Care Assistance is here to help. For more information about our flexible, customizable home care plans, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (512) 623-7800.