Debt is an increasing problem among seniors, and many are struggling to meet their needs within the confines of a tight retirement budget. Compounding the issue, mental and physical decline can also lead to health care costs for in-home care Bridgewater that add to a senior’s living expenses. If you suspect your loved one is struggling with debt, here’s how you can help him or her get back on steady financial ground.
Get a Full Understanding of the Situation
Your loved one may be tempted to hide his or her debt out of embarrassment or the fear of losing independence. Yet, you must know exactly how much is owed to each creditor before you can develop an effective plan to help him or her get out of debt. Ask to see your loved one’s current bills, loan agreements, credit cards, and income statements so you can assess the entire situation.
Check for Scams and Abuse
Seniors are at risk for fraud that can lead to debt through no fault of their own. This is especially true if they have been scammed into purchasing expensive medical equipment or unnecessary home services. Collection agencies may also use illegal tactics to scare your loved one into paying down his or her debt. If you uncover any signs of elderly financial abuse during your assessment, promptly report this to the proper authorities.
Contact Individual Creditors
Often, debt can be managed with a simple phone call or letter to your loved one’s creditors. For example, a senior who owes government debt such as income taxes and student loans may be able to work out a payment plan that takes individual income into account. Medical debt can often be repaid on a sliding scale schedule, or an organization may be willing to help seniors repay. Making an honest effort to repay certain debts can end collection actions such as phone calls and threatened lawsuits.
Create a Budget
When your loved one needs help getting out of debt, he or she may also need assistance with creating and living on a budget. Not only does this mean your loved one has money to pay current debts, but it can also ensure he or she does not accrue new ones. Seniors who have fallen into debt due to cognitive decline may also need someone appointed as their financial managers. This way, overspending can be eliminated so your loved one has money to meet his or her basic needs.
Hire a Caregiver
Although spending money while trying to help your loved one get out of debt may seem counterintuitive, Bridgewater caregivers can help keep his or her unnecessary spending to a minimum. For instance, a caregiver can take care of grocery shopping, which means expensive impulse items can be avoided and sales and coupons can be put to use. In-home caregivers can also prepare meals so your loved one eats out less and keep an eye on other signs of financial issues, reporting to you and your family when necessary.
Helping your loved one stay out of debt isn’t the only way our caregivers can help. To learn about the many ways a part-time or live-in caregiver in Bridgewater can benefit your loved one, give Home Care Assistance a call at 908.450.9400. Our qualified Care Managers are available 24/7 to answer your questions and schedule a free consultation.