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Easy Ways to Help a Senior Love One Manage Debt

By Jeff Hill, 9:00 am on February 20, 2015

Contrary to popular belief, retired senior citizens are not immune to debt. If your aging parents are facing mounting credit card bills, there are a few things you can do to help them from falling deeper into debt. The Phoenix senior care experts at Home Care Assistance recommend the following practical tips for whittling away at debt.

Take Charge

Sometimes, seniors need someone else to step in and take charge, especially if they’re beginning to forget what bills are due when and what they’ve already paid. First, make sure your senior loved one isn’t paying high interest rates. If he or she is paying off high interest cards, most companies are receptive to a consolidation plan that will greatly reduce the annual percentage rate. If you are worried that your parents have a spending problem, offer to go with them to debt counseling. Also, consider doing their grocery shopping or errands (or find a part-time Phoenix caregiver who can) so you make more cost-effective decisions like purchasing generic or only things on sale.

Save One Card, Cut the Rest

Credit cards should never be used as a replacement for money. Credit card debt can quickly pile up, especially when several credit cards are being used in rotation. Help your senior loved one get in the habit of using cash for groceries and bills, and cut up all but one credit card. Compare the balance and interest rates before choosing which card to keep, and use it only for emergencies. You might even consider hanging on to the card to prevent your senior loved one from using it unnecessarily.

Make A Budget

You can create a budget plan for your senior loved one by subtracting the bills (grocery, mortgage, car insurance, water, electric, etc.) from the monthly income. Then, put half of what’s left over each month into paying off the debt. The money left over can be deposited into a separate checking account at your bank that is reserved for the sole purpose of paying off past debt.

Following these suggestions will not necessarily make you or your loved one feel like you’ve discovered a pot of gold, but they will help your loved one get out of debt. For more information on how you can improve your senior loved one’s quality of life, call Home Care Assistance at (602) 388-1085. Our caregivers are thoroughly screened, reliable, and trained in our Balanced Care Method, which focuses on healthy diet, physical activity, socialization, and maintaining purpose. Sometimes, rediscovering purpose and having companionship are all a senior needs to cut wasteful spending.