As your loved one grows older, you add a few items to your regular to-do list. Perhaps you have to accompany your loved one to certain doctor appointments, or maybe now you take care of buying their groceries. Along with tasks, you may also begin adding some worries that keep you up at night. Among the biggest concerns for most children of aging adults? Healthcare costs and keeping Mom at home without compromising her safety.
The Cost of Aging in Place
The term “aging in place” is used throughout the senior industry, and refers to a senior living successfully in the home of their choice for as long as possible. For some seniors, aging in place means living in their family home, while other seniors age in place in assisted living communities. In all cases, aging in place is built on a foundation of resources and nearby support.
Extra support and resources require money, and although insurance can cover some of these costs, there is a significant investment on the part of the senior and their family members. U.S. News and World Report notes that seniors typically end up paying for as much as 30 percent of specialty medications out of pocket; in 2015, AARP reported that seniors spend an average of $5,800 per year on medications alone.
Medication costs are not the only expense involved with aging in place successfully. In addition to paying for any out-of-pocket costs associated with regular physician or specialist visits and procedures, many seniors will at some point require a stay in a skilled nursing facility for inpatient rehabilitation or therapy. U.S. News and World Report notes that two-thirds of all seniors over the age of 65 will need skilled nursing services at least once, and that service is not cheap. With an average daily cost of $253, skilled nursing services can add up quickly for even those with the best insurance.
Spending and Saving Smarter
While you cannot avoid some costs associated with aging, you can make decisions that could lessen the impact on your loved one’s savings account. Here are a few ideas for you to consider:
Review your insurance options
Some seniors choose an insurance option through Medicare once, and do not review their choices again. There are multiple options available for aging adults, and you should review those choices at least every other year. There could be a chance to consolidate costs or to improve your insurance coverage through a previous employer. Do your due diligence to make sure you are getting the best for your money.
Take advantage of senior discounts
Did you know seniors can benefit from discounts for more than just a cup of coffee or movie ticket? Senior discounts, or senior assistance, are often offered through city electric programs, as well as for transportation services. The money you save on utilities or transportation can add up quickly.
Consider prescription savings
Medication costs can make up a majority of a senior’s fixed income budget. Talk with your pharmacy and insurance company to see if there are options for decreasing those crucial costs. For example, could your loved one save money by purchasing prescriptions in bulk, or by using a mail-order service instead of the pharmacy down the street? If you feel you cannot get any good answers from your pharmacy or physician’s office, contact your city’s senior service department to get reliable advice.
Invest in technology for preventative care
Sometimes, a well-researched investment can save money in the long run. For example, paying for a monthly emergency monitoring system now can prevent an emergency room visit after a devastating fall. Thanks to technology, seniors can enjoy preventative care and not pay for emergency or crisis services.
If your loved one takes more than three medications per day, it is wise to consider investing in an automatic medication dispensing system. These systems provide audible and visual cues that prompt your loved one to take their medications on time, and more comprehensive systems such as Livi can alert caregivers in real time if their loved one misses a dose. Investing in a system like this can significantly decrease dangerous consequences to medication mismanagement at home.
Medication mistakes can be more common for seniors than you may think. Download The Ultimate Guide to Medication Management to learn more about the realities of medication mismanagement, and how to keep your loved one safe.