The holiday season is, for many, the best time of the year—but it can also be a struggle coming up with the right gifts to give loved ones. Now that the gift giving season is here, Newsmax Finance spoke with Chris Orestis, The Retirement Genius, about presents for senior-aged loved ones that have far more meaning than a new tie or bathrobe.
What are some gifts that can help provide more security for loved ones at home?
- Identity Protection: Seniors are often a target of scammers trying to steal their sensitive personal information to use for financial theft. Give your loved ones identity theft and cyber-security protection against the financial and credit damage that could come from banking, credit card, and identity theft.
- Home monitoring systems: Seniors are often at risk living home alone or far away from family members making them vulnerable to injury, incapacitation, or victims of crimes/abuse. Give loved ones and yourself the gift of peace of mind knowing that an installed home monitoring systems can allow you to keep an eye on their safety on the inside and outside of their home.
What are gifts that might help keep loved ones healthy at home?
- Prepared meals: No matter anyone’s age, we all love great food, and it always tastes better when it is prepared for us! A great gift for your loved ones would be a subscription to prepared foods that can be delivered to their home requiring only simple assembly and heating. Maybe take it to the next level and have a local cook come to the home and prepare and serve fresh meals or drop them off at the front door hot and ready to eat.
- Groceries and fresh produce/meats delivered: For some seniors who love to cook, one of the more challenging daily tasks could be doing grocery shopping and getting fresh meats and produce. Give the gift of a grocery delivery service or sign up for regular delivery of local produce, meats, and dairy products. Don’t let challenges around getting groceries stop someone from preparing and enjoying delicious, healthy meals.
- Physical trainer: There is nothing more important for someone’s health and longevity than exercise, but for many people they are unsure what to do and struggle getting motivated to do it. There are trainers that can be hired who specialize in working with seniors who can either work with your loved one at a gym, a park, or could come to the home. With guidance and a regular routine to work on movement, balance, and strength you could improve and extend the life of your loved one for years.
What gifts could help loved ones age in place as the need for long-term care begins to emerge?
- Geriatric Assessment: Spotting the signs that someone may need long-term care can be difficult. There may be clues starting to emerge but knowing the time has come and what to do next can be challenging for most. Instead of guessing, hire a trained geriatric care professional to provide an impartial and professional review and assessment of a loved one’s ability to continue living independently, and if not, what would be the best course of action going forward.
- True Freedom Plan: If you ask almost anyone, they will tell you they want to remain at home throughout their life. Unfortunately, far too few people have prepared for the eventuality of long-term care and eventually find themselves unable to stay in their homes independently. True Freedom plans are a club like subscription that for a monthly fee will cover non-medical home care support. As an alternative for people who don’t have long-term care insurance or life insurance policies, they can LTC-settle, these plans require no underwriting and can be set up for automatic monthly payments.
What are some gifts that can bring entertainment and convenience to people at home?
- Alexa systems and hands-free home controls: Voice controlled Smart Home Systems can become a valuable tool making people’s lives at home easier. With a simple command, your loved ones can check on weather and traffic updates, add to shopping and to-do lists, ask for sport scores and schedules, and double check on recipes. They can also be used for hand free controls of things such as thermostats, lighting, appliances, and can be used for security and monitoring. It would be a good idea to hire someone to install and set up the systems for them.
- Streaming Entertainment and Music: There is a world of entertainment available through TV’s, phones, and computers. Give the gift of streaming service subscriptions for movies and original programming as well as music platforms with millions of songs from artists across all generations. The value of the available entertainment is priceless for loved ones that are spending more time at home now and families can spend time remotely enjoying entertainment together.
- Property maintenance: One of the biggest challenges for seniors living alone is upkeep of the home. Give the gift of housekeeping, lawn maintenance, and/or a fixit person who can come by the house on a regular basis to make sure everything is staying in ship shape. It will keep your loved ones happy, healthy and maintain the value of the property.
What gifts that could help with financial security?
- AARP and AAA: Membership with these long-standing institutions is inexpensive but provides a wealth of benefits. Getting a membership for loved ones will give them access to discounts, services, information, insurance, automotive services and roadside assistance, travel planning, and much more value and opportunities to explore.
- Medicare and Social Security Benefits Review: At what age should your loved ones start collecting Social Security? What is the right Medicare plan for them to elect? Should they be considering Medicaid in the future? Hiring a benefit expert to review their needs and advise them on how to understand and get the most out of their entitlements is a gift that will keep on giving for the rest of their lives.
- Insurance Protection: Insurance will help a family avoid financial difficulties brought on by declining health or even death. Helping a loved one get insurance protection in place with life insurance, annuities, and long-term care insurance is a gift for the entire family. BONUS—a life insurance policy can also be sold off in the future for cash through a life settlement if it is no longer needed.
What are some gifts for loved ones who travel?
- Global rescue travel insurance: If you have senior loved ones who like to travel, a great gift would be travel insurance and/or a global rescue plan. If there is an accident or a health event, they will have medical coverage and if it becomes necessary to get someone home quickly from a faraway location these plans will make it happen without breaking the bank.
- TSA and Clear membership: For the frequent traveler, avoid inconveniences such as taking off shoes, taking a laptop computer or tablet out of its case, and get into a shorter line by being on the TSA list. Once you have TSA in place, you can also skip the lines entirely by signing up for a Clear membership used at many major domestic airports.
The gift giving season is a joyous time enjoyed by all-- but adding gifts to help address financial needs, personal security, and enriching the lifestyle of senior aged loved ones can keep the gift giving season going all year long!
Chris Orestis, Retirement Genius, is a nationally recognized senior care advocate and expert in retirement, long-term care and specialty senior living funding solutions. The author of two books, numerous published papers and articles, and a frequent industry speaker; he is the innovator that brought the LTC Life Settlement into the market over a decade ago.
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