There’s nothing quite like experiencing role reversal as you mature and your parent’s age. In the past, you were the one calling them for advice about your finances, dating, or career, but now they’re the ones navigating a new world looking to you for support and guidance. It can be a humbling, sobering (and somewhat exhaustive) experience.
But even if your folks are still active and do not require a lot of help, it’s a good idea to communicate about important topics that affect them and play into their future. This way, if the day comes when they do need more assistance, your mom and dad will already be well-protected in a number of ways.
For tips on how to help protect your aging parents, please consider the following suggestions:
Ensure They Have Proper Insurance in Place
One of the best ways you can help your older parents is to make sure they have all of the proper types of insurance in place. For instance, they may have already applied for Medicare and feel good about their coverage, but their homeowners or vehicle policies might be out of date.
With their permission, sit down with them and go over their insurance premiums to be sure they are not paying too much for their coverage. For instance, if your folks are no longer working and are hardly driving at all, they may be able to switch to a less expensive car insurance policy.
If one or both parents has served in the U.S. military, they will qualify for car insurance through USAA, which offers a number of car insurance options for military veterans and their families, along with options for home and life insurance.
Make Sure their Home is Safe and Fall-Proof
Another way to be sure your older parents stay well-protected is to fix any home safety issues. For example, remove all tripping hazards and be sure all of the lights are in good working order. Make sure their floors are free from clutter—like that pile of magazines your dad likes to keep by his recliner—and also ask if you can move your mom’s basket of knitting supplies from the floor to the fireplace hearth.
Also, if you notice that your mom is constantly using a step-stool to reach mixing bowls in the cabinets or your dad is complaining that the coffee machine is not working like it used to, spend an afternoon rearranging the cabinets with your mom so her most-used items are within easy reach, and treat your dad to a new coffee maker that will not possibly start a fire.
Speak with Them About Common Scams
Unfortunately, there are a wide variety of scammers out there who target seniors. From Medicare and health insurance scams to people who claim to be a family member who needs financial assistance, there is no shortage of fraudulent phone calls and emails that your parents may have to deal with.
To help protect them from these nefarious crooks, sit down with them and go over some of the scams that commonly target seniors. The National Council on Aging is a good resource for this discussion; this site lists the top 10 scams that target seniors. By being proactive and alerting your folks to these issues, they will hopefully be more likely to hang up on a crook who asks for their bank information or a crying teenager claiming to be their grandson in need of money.
Be Proactive about Protecting Your Parents
While there are issues that are more likely to negatively impact older adults, fortunately none of them are really inevitable.
By ensuring your aging parents have great insurance policies in place, helping them to make their home as safe as you can, and educating them—and yourself too—about potential scams, you can rest assured you are helping protect your precious parents.