How to Prevent Massive Credit Card Debt Among the Elderly

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What Seniors Need To Know About Credit Cards

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Credit cards can make life more convenient for seniors, but the pros and cons of credit card use need to be considered, especially if significant debt starts to build up. Credit cards can be used for making purchases by phone or online, which is helpful for seniors who are home-bound. Some seniors may also prefer to set up automatic bill payments by credit card so they don’t have to remember to mail a check. Additionally, credit cards offer an option for seniors who don’t like carrying around large amounts of cash when they go shopping. Yet, all of these perks don’t come without possible consequences if seniors aren’t careful about their spending habits. Listed below are some helpful tips provided by the Scottsdale senior care experts at Home Care Assistance.

Too Much Debt

The misuse of credit cards can prove problematic for the senior population. According to the National Council on Aging, the average balance being carried on credit cards by people 65 years of age and older is $9,283. One in every 3 seniors can only pay off the minimum amount due each month as they have no savings and no money left over after paying their basic expenses. Adult children of aging seniors are encouraged to help their parents with daily money management and budgeting in order to prevent costly interest rate payments and exorbitant debts.

Taking Inventory

It’s always a good idea for seniors or their family members to take a basic inventory of what credit cards they already have and to monitor the billing statements on a monthly basis for accuracy. Having more than one or two credit cards usually leads to overspending and excessive debt. Help your aging parent decide which two cards are essential and cancel the others. Consider a credit card’s interest rate and pay attention to fees charged for making late payments and for being over the established credit limit.

Avoiding Scams

If a credit card company changes the terms of paying a credit card, the card holder has the right to cancel the account. Seniors also need to be weary of providing their credit card number to anyone over the telephone, as many elderly adults fall victim to identity theft and credit card fraud. If a senior adult or their caregiver suspects that their credit card has been used in a scam, it’s important to contact the credit card company immediately to report the possible crime.

After all precautions are considered, smart credit card use can be helpful for aging adults. However, it’s still important that a family member or live-in caregiver in Scottsdale be present to help seniors who are confused about bill payments, possible telephone scams and much more. The caregivers as Scottsdale Home Care Assistance can act as your eyes and ear for the times when you can’t be by your aging loved one’s side. If you’re concerned about your elderly parent’s physical and financial well-being, contact Home Care Assistance today at 480.448.6215 to see how we could help.