How to Help A Senior Loved One With Financial Decisions After A Loss
When a senior loved one loses someone close to them–especially a spouse or partner–it can be difficult for them to think of ways to recover. Not only do they have to consider how they’ll move on after such an enormous loss, they are also faced with financial decisions that can be extremely tough. Many seniors live on a tight budget, making the loss of a spouse a hardship in many ways. Even those who have Medicare or other forms of health insurance can have a difficult time paying medical bills or funeral expenses. This can cause problems when it’s time to think about their own final preparations.
It’s not always easy to bring up these topics with a loved one; you want the best for them, but it’s hard to think about making preparations for their end-of-life wishes. In fact, only 27 percent of people have had this conversation with the seniors in their lives. It’s an important conversation to have, however, as you want to ensure that everything is taken care of in a sensitive way.
Keep reading for some great tips on how to help a senior loved one grieve the loss of a spouse or partner while planning for their own future.
Ask about life insurance
Life insurance can help greatly with the cost of funeral expenses or medical bills, and it can also provide a large lump sum should your loved one need long-term care after the loss of their spouse. Illness and injury can lead to stays in the hospital or a nursing facility, which can get costly very quickly; even Medicare will only pay for a portion of the stay. Ask your loved one about any life insurance policies–held either by themselves or their spouse–and what the terms are. You can also help them get any paperwork together.
Help with a living will
If your loved one’s spouse had a will, it’s possible that their estate and finances will be available to help with paying bills or final costs. Talk to your loved one about whether there was a will, and help them get started with making one of their own or with delegating an attorney in fact for a power of attorney. This can help greatly when it’s time to lay out a plan for your loved one’s needs.
Talk about downsizing
Downsizing is often a good choice for seniors who are on a budget, especially after the death of a spouse. Selling a home is a big move, and it takes a lot of hard work. In the long run, though, it can help quite a bit in keeping your loved one safe and saving them money each month. Talk about whether they’re willing to make such a change and help them look for a smaller home that will make it easier for them to age in place.
Set up automatic bill-pay
One great way to help your loved one save money and stay on track is to set up automatic bill-pay for their largest bills. This will allow them to stay on top of their responsibilities and prevent late charges from being incurred. Most utility companies will help you set up an account that will withdraw the money from a checking account each month. Contact the utility company individually for more information on this option.
Helping your senior loved one with financial decisions can be tough; make sure you take care of yourself during the process as well so you can help reduce stress for both of you. Keep communication open with your loved ones to ensure they are well taken care of. With a good strategy, you can help them plan for their final years with a minimum of anxiety and stress.