Today’s blog on the links between financial stress and vision loss amongst seniors is written by Jenny Holt. She reached out to me a little while ago with a story and an offer to write a guest post on a subject she found personally relevant. Her initial email is a great introduction to a timely post which follows:
My name is Jenny and I am writing because of a personal connection to mental health problems caused by financial stress. The life of a freelance writer can be financially insecure as you might imagine, but I have learned recently how money matters can affect the mental and physical health of older adults like my parents who are now planning for retirement.
Recently, I came across your site while researching a piece inspired by my own family. A combination of my father being downsized in his 60s and my mother falling ill have combined to seriously affect their financial planning for retirement and has exacerbated their health problems. They have inspired me to write a guide for seniors and their families about the most common causes of financial stress, how it affects the person, and provide some coping strategies. You can read it here: http://reversemortgagealert.
Her post follows:
Elderly people who are blind or visually impaired should go the doctor on a regular basis for check-ups. Provided that they have Medicare, major expenses are reimbursed, but there are still some costs which are not covered such as exams for eyeglass fitting. In addition, Medicare does not foot the entire bill of medical services and seniors still have to pay for deductibles. These and other health costs are leading to rising levels of financial stress among seniors.
The Complex Caregiving Relationship
An elderly person who is blind or visually impaired may also require assistance with their day-to-day activities. For elderly couples, where one partner is visually impaired, this may be less of a problem as the other person may function as a caregiver, but even then, caregiving is a complex relationship. Those who are living alone are very likely to need some form of assistance, which is not covered by health insurance.
More Options Available
The good news is that there are many options nowadays to deal with vision loss. Surgeries and medications are available as treatments to various eye diseases. It is also possible to procure devices that can help seniors with mild to severe visual problems get back a good quality of life. These include magnifiers, readers and audio tapes. Homes can also be retrofitted to accommodate the needs of the visually impaired including installing extra lights in dark places as well as arranging furniture. The other side to the coin is that these devices and modifications require money.
Costs Build Up and Take Their Toll
These costs all add up; the cost of eye checks and associated travel, new equipment or the maintenance of old ones, and caregiving. This is one of many reasons why health costs are one of the top reasons for senior financial stress among seniors. The other top ones include taxes, divorce, and downsizing. The latter is extremely prevalent among visually impaired adults; especially seniors. Reduced income paired with increased expenditures is highly likely to cause severe financial problems over time. In turn, financial stress can lead to more health problems such as headaches, lethargy, and chest pains, as well as mental health issues including depression and anxiety.
There are tools out there, however, to help you or someone you love cope with these issues. The most important in the long run is finding a financial solution to the issues mentioned above. Advisors, funds, and charities exist as well as willing family members in many cases. Furthermore, it is possible to think more clearly and approach the issues with a more open mind by undertaking a healthier diet, doing more exercise (naturally this may need to be assisted with a visually impaired individual), and meditation. These can reduce the long term health impacts of financial stress.
Jenny Holt is a freelance writer and mother of two. She loves nothing more than getting away from it and taking her pet Labrador Bruce for long walks, something she can do a lot more now she’s left the corporate world behind. She has found her niche writing in the finance sector and providing practical guidance and helpful advice wherever possible.