Social distancing and staying in place have become important.
by Chris Orestis, President of LifeCare Xchange
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, health officials have been clear and consistent in their message to seniors: While anyone can fall victim to COVID-19, those who are 65 and older are in an especially high-risk group.
That’s why older Americans need to be especially careful and – in the case of the very elderly – family members may need to step in to make sure they are taking the right precautions, says Chris Orestis.
He offers a few tips on things seniors and their families can do:
Prioritize healthy practices. Follow health guidelines. Wash your hands, avoid touching your face, and sanitize surfaces. “Social distancing and staying in place have become important new additions to our lifestyle because avoiding contact with infected people is the surest way to prevent contracting the virus,” Orestis says. “Grocery stores and retailers have set up senior-only shopping hours, and seniors should take advantage of those. In addition, food delivery services can bring take-out meals or groceries to your home.”
Trust nursing homes. “Despite the tragic deaths that occurred at Life Care Center’s nursing home in Kirkland, Wash., the nursing home industry has been working around the clock in every community to protect their residents,” Orestis says.
Know what financial resources are available. “We’ve experienced a stock market drop, but It is important at times like this to not ‘panic sell’ and lock in your losses,” Orestis says. He points out there are still safety nets and even financial opportunities that can help seniors. For example, the passage of the CARES Act will pump $2 trillion into the economy. Social Security income, Medicare, and Medicaid payments remain unchanged. Income from annuities remains guaranteed.
For owners of permanent life insurance policies, Orestis says, there are a couple of options to get liquidity from this asset. If the owner wants to keep the policy in force, they can take out a policy loan for upwards of 90% of the cash surrender value. If the policy owner wants to stop paying premiums, they could use a life settlement to sell the policy under tax-favorable conditions to receive a percentage of their death benefit as a lump-sum today.
Vet your news sources. The coronavirus is getting round-the-clock news coverage. But mixed into the information coming from reliable sources is a flood of misinformation. “Fact-check information by reading statistics from the websites of reliable medical resources and verified news organizations,” Orestis says.
Chris Orestis, known as the “Retirement Genius,” is President of LifeCare Xchange and a nationally recognized healthcare expert and senior advocate.