Protecting Parent's Resources
Let's face it. We are a different generation than our parents. Things that we learned during our lifetime may be surprising news to our parents. Our children and grandchildren are accessing the world in very different ways than we did. With these inter-generational differences come opportunities for us to learn from each other, to grow together. So it is up to us to look out for one another and protect our parents from pitfalls or misunderstandings in our modern world.
Here is what I can share that will get you started protecting your parents’ resources:
- Horizon's staff still meets individuals who are renting a very old land line from the phone company for a certain amount per month. The phone may be 20, 30, or 40 years old, and they have paid for it many times over. It may be time for a $15 phone instead of the monthly rental plan. Ask your parents about their phone bill, if they still have a land line. You may be surprised to find what they are paying for!
- Did your mother sign up for Medicare Part D, the drug benefit? If not, take your computer with you on your next visit and go to https://www.medicare.gov/part-d/and figure out if Part D would be a good idea for your mom. It is rare that an elderly parent does not take medication, and by simply entering those medications you can figure out if Medicare Part D is a good idea for her. Since this coverage was not available prior to 2006, your mother may not be signed up if she is older than 75.
- Are your parents heating and cooling rooms they never use? Are they using appliances they do not access?
- If your parents still have that land line, most of the calls they receive during the day are asking them for money! Suggest that you sit down annually and make a list of charities they would like to donate to, and make no other donations when solicited. Let them know that it is okay to either not to answer the phoneor hang up on solicitation calls. They can do it politely. Let your parent know that they if they ever receive a call from anyone asking for money, they must hang up and call you immediately. Give them your cell phone and make sure to take the call when it is placed. Promise them that you will check it out immediately.
- Let your parents know that email is a wonderful thing, but they should never update, verify or respond to any email asking for important information. Explain that those emails can look very legitimate. Tell them to save the email or forward it to you for you to check out. Let your parent know that financial scams are common, and they target the elderly. Promise your parent that you will promptly follow-up on any call or email they get and not to give out anything.
There are many more ways to protect your parent’s financial resources. Become a partner with them in securing their future, by learning from them and sharing new ways that you have learned to save money. Think of yourselves as a family team! Maybe have a dinner conversation occasionally that asks each family member to share the latest and greatest cost-saving idea or scam! You have a lot to offer your parents about this newfangled world we live in and I bet they could provide you some great ideas also.
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