Top 5 Sources of Debt for Older Adults

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Debt is an increasing problem for people over age 65, and living within the confines of a tight retirement budget can make it difficult to meet basic needs. Here are some of the common reasons seniors wind up in debt and tips on how you can help your elderly loved one prevent this type of financial strain.

1. Reduced Income

Many seniors live on social security and retirement benefits that amount to less than their former income and can barely pay for their monthly expenses, which leads to more debt and the possibility of bankruptcy. You can help your loved one sign up for benefits that apply to seniors, such as a reverse mortgage. Your loved one can borrow from the equity in his or her home to pay off outstanding debt or expenses without the fear of losing the home.

2. Medical & Other Care Expenses

Paying for treatments, medications, healthy foods, and senior care can be expensive for seniors living on fixed incomes, but it’s also necessary to ensure they receive adequate care and lower their risks of age-related complications. However, these expenses can cause some seniors to go into debt. To help your loved one prevent debt from medical and home care expenses, you and other family members can volunteer time to provide in-home care or pay for a professional in-home caregiver and other expenses. There are also organizations that help seniors over 65 with medical expenses.

If your loved one is living with a serious health condition and needs extensive assistance, an at-home caregiver can often be less costly than other forms of long-term healthcare. For many seniors in Philadelphia, PA, live-in care is an essential component of aging in place safely and comfortably. However, it’s important for them to have caregivers they can trust and rely on. At Home Care Assistance, we extensively screen all of our live-in and 24-hour caregivers and only hire those who have experience in the senior home care industry. Our strict requirements ensure seniors can remain in the comfort of home with a reduced risk of injury or serious illness.

3. Lack of Budgeting

Seniors don’t plan to go into debt, but without a budget, it can easily happen. Help your loved one develop a plan, deciding which bills need to be paid first and what items can be purchased with the money left over. Mortgage payments, health insurance, groceries, prescriptions, and utilities are the first expenses your loved one should pay. This type of money management can help your loved one prevent debt while paying for the necessities.

4. Dependence on Credit Cards

Credit card debt has become more pervasive among seniors. Approximately one-third of seniors in America rely on credit cards to pay for their basic living expenses. However, when seniors live on fixed incomes, it’s difficult for them to make payments on credit card debt and cover their basic necessities. Some seniors also inherit credit card debt when their spouses pass away. Discourage your loved one from opening new credit card accounts or using them to pay for things he or she cannot afford, such as vacations and shopping sprees. 

Financial concerns are just one issue many elderly people have to address. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality homecare. Trust Home Care Assistance to help your elderly loved one age in place safely and comfortably.

5. No Savings Accounts

It’s a good idea for your loved one to save money, especially if he or she plans to age in place. However, many seniors end up in debt because they’ve failed to save for retirement or they’ve saved too little. Many adults believe they won’t live long and aren’t prepared financially when they live well beyond their 80s. Your loved one should always have 3 to 6 months of living expenses saved. Doing so can prevent increased debt due to a loss of benefits, the loss of a spouse, a rise in healthcare premiums, or an illness. 

Hiring an in-home caregiver can often be less costly than other options for aging adults who need help with the daily tasks of life. Many seniors prefer aging in place over moving to assisted living facilities. If your senior loved one needs assistance to remain safe and comfortable while living at home, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading Philadelphia in-home care agency. Our dedicated in-home caregivers can assist with meal prep, bathing and grooming, exercise, medication reminders, and many other important tasks. For reliable in-home care services, contact us at (215) 645-4663. 

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