When a senior loved one loses a spouse, there are many things they must consider in a very short period of time; funeral arrangements, life insurance policies, and figuring out how they’ll make it on a very different lifestyle are just a few of the things they must wrestle with on top of their grief and sadness. It can all be very overwhelming, causing depression, stress, and anxiety and leading to mental and physical decline. That’s why it’s important to do everything you can for your loved one during this difficult time, starting with making some hard financial decisions.
Fortunately, there are several options for seniors who have just suffered a loss and who need to secure their financial futures. From downsizing to a smaller home to cashing out insurance policies, there are many roads your loved one can take to prevent any surprises or difficult decisions. Start by helping them get a firm handle on their finances for their own security.
Keep reading for tips on how to help a senior loved one financially after suffering a loss.
Check Their Credit
A good credit score can open up a world of possibilities for your loved one, from being able to move into a smaller home to helping them use a credit card to pay their bills on time. According to ConsumersAdvocate.org, you should help your loved one check their credit score, and if it’s not the best, look into a company that will help them repair it and build it back up.
Downsizing is a huge decision, especially after the loss of a spouse, when emotions are high and comfort is hard to find. However, it may be the best decision for your loved one once they’ve begun to heal, as moving to a smaller home can help them save money, stay safe, and give them less to take care of. Many seniors find that their current home doesn’t meet their needs after retirement due to health or mobility issues, but moving into a house without stairs or with safety modifications can help prevent any problems. Make sure your loved one is comfortable with making such a big change, and don’t push the issue if they aren’t.
Look at Insurance Policies
Your loved one’s spouse may have had a life insurance policy, but sometimes they don’t cover everything. If your loved one has a policy of their own that can be sold or cashed out, this is an option for those times when a large lump sum is needed (to pay medical bills, for instance). Of course, this option is best used as a last resort, as cashing out a policy means less of a payout when your loved one passes away.
Get the Bills Paid
When a senior loses a spouse, lots of things must be taken care of very quickly in the midst of a lot of grief and pain. Recurring bills and simple, everyday things can easily become overlooked, so it’s important to help them keep track of those tasks so they don’t get behind. Once the funeral is taken care of, help them go through their utilities, credit card bills, and other payments to find out what the due dates are, and make sure the bills get paid on time. It may be beneficial to download an app that can help you keep track of these important details.
Helping your senior loved one take care of their financial responsibilities after the loss of a spouse is a big job, so make sure you take care of yourself, as well. Reduce stress and anxiety by practicing self-care, and talk to a friend or loved one if you’re feeling sad. After all, you want to be in the best possible health if and when a problem should arise.