There’s a lot of literature out there (and blog posts!) about making sure you save for your retirement. Sadly, a lot of people don’t, and just assume they’ll get by on whatever the government provides. I may not have made the best choice in investments (well, they’re not terrible – I’m just paying higher fees than I need to), but I take some comfort in the fact that at least I am saving for my retirement. And both my husband and I have defined benefit pension plans (his is much better than mine, though).
We recently visited my husband’s grandmother, who lives in a nursing home. The nursing home provides the basics (food, shelter, some activities), but anything extra she’s got to find the money for. So, it’s nice that’s she got a little bit extra, and can buy the odd treat or go out.
We took her out to lunch and paid (she offered, but come on -that just wouldn’t be right ). We then took her to the mall, where she bought a few sweaters – go Winners! In order to get to lunch and the mall (right by each other, fortunately), she had to take a wheelchair taxi, since she basically can’t get out of her wheel chair. So – that all costs. And while we certainly could have covered all of it for her, the fact she could pay for the taxi and the sweaters herself was very important. During our visit, she also mentioned she’d taken a boat cruise the home had organized earlier. She thought 33 dollars was a lot for lunch and the cruise, but that’s actually fairly cheap!
So, this got me thinking. What can a little extra money buy you during retirement? To me, there are 2 main things it can help you buy:
- Self-esteem. Living in a nursing home is no picnic, as anyone who has visited one can attest. You’ve often moved away from everything you had before, and your world become quite small. Being able to still afford to buy things for yourself can help you keep at least some sense of self. Yes, I know we bloggers try to discourage spending as a way to boost sense of self – but the odd day out or clothing item purchase can be a nice break from monotony.
- Mobility/Freedom. Family members may not be able to accommodate you in their vehicle, particularly if you are wheelchair bound. Being able to afford a wheelchair taxi means you can get out and about. I have a great aunt who is basically wheelchair bound, but she’s still been able to travel as she’s been able to afford to pay someone to come with her and assist her.
On a side note, if you’re looking to do something nice for an elderly friend or relative, see if your local library delivers books to shut ins. Grandma L likes to read, but said her eyes are so bad, she can only read large print now. I checked, and the local library delivers (and picks up) books. Another free and fun thing!
Do you have elderly relatives with or without extra money? How do you think it affects their quality of life?