My dad recently decided it was time for him to retire to the village after living with the hustle and bustle of a big metropolis like Lagos. My mum on the other hand feels differently and believes she still has a few more years to go before she joins her hubby in the village. My Dad who is older believes he’s done working having been businessmen for much of his life.
My mum, well as a retired civil servant and accountant still consults regularly making enough money to take care of herself if need be. With my dad now relocating focus is now mostly placed on making sure he is healthy physically and financially considering he is away from his immediate family for most part of the year.
Taking care of dependent parents can be very onerous if proper planning is not in place. Some of them could get sick, lonely and financially challenged, a combination that often leaves behind fatal consequences. With this in mind, I have decided the following steps, which I wish to share, will be required for my Dad to be comfortable away from his immediate family.
Get Health Insurance
Parents are more vulnerable to falling ill when they are older. They are even more susceptible to falling ill when they live alone or far away from their immediate family. Whilst it is almost impossible to stop them from getting ill, we can at least ensure that they get proper health care when the inevitable happens. But this can be very expensive if it is done on an adhoc basis I figured. Thankfully, in Nigeria, we have the National Health Insurance Scheme. With as little as N50, 000 I can buy Insurance from an Health Care Provider on behalf of my Dad. If I think his age and condition requires that he is quite often at the hospital, then I can increase the premium I pay to N150, 000 per annum. With this, I am guaranteed quality healthcare for my dad and also hedged against having to pay for medical expenses at periods in the year when I might not be that financial buoyant.
Put him on a monthly allowance
Elderly parents aren’t known to be very extravagant so providing them with a monthly stipend to get by is very crucial to their financial well being. They need money to buy the basic necessities of life such as water, pay light bills, food and snacks etc. Elderly Parents often participate in religious activities and take them quite seriously. This also requires that they pay their tithes, offerings etc all of which shouldn’t cost much. How much should that be? N5k, N10k, N20k, N50k? Well, this depends on your pocket. Just make sure whatever amount you decide to send to them is constant.
Open A Bank Account
I reckon I’d have to send money to my dad frequently and even though he already has a bank account, making sure he gets the money on time is equally as important. Getting money across banks is now easier since most banks offer internet banking facilities. Once I confirm his bank account is set up and active, I will also make sure he get alert regularly on his phone so he knows when I send money to him. This leads me to my next line of action.
Get him a contract line or special call plan
Most people still view contract lines as an exclusive arrangement when actually it isn’t. With as little as N5,000 a month you can give place your parents on a contract line ensuring that they are constantly able to make calls and don’t need to spend money buying recharge cards. With a cellphone, my parents can get their alerts on their phone, call his wife, kids or friends when they get lonely all for at a considerably cheap rate. For those who hate contract lines, most telecom operators offer several call plans suitable for family and friends. That too is quite useful.
My Dad, like most elderly parents do, like to watch TV, read newspapers and read religious materials. I consider these things sacrosanct and critical to their well being. Nothing makes a human feel younger than when they are happy. So, Im going to make sure he has a TV, DVD, and if I can afford it cable TV for him to know what is happening in the world far beyond. Cable TV’s these days cost as little as N1000 per month on subscriptions. My Dad likes music too, so getting him a sound system might not be a bad idea. Games like ludo, scrabble etc. is also on my wish list. All of this I project shouldn’t cost more than N70,000.
Urge to explore a talent
My Dad loves to wash his clothes and iron them himself. In fact he has always done his laundry himself since I’ve known him. Most parents have a unique hobby that can be quite useful at old age. If you have a parent that likes to write then why not encourage him or her to write an autobiography. If your parents like to sing, then have them join the local church choir. Some are also good at taking care of babies too. The financial benefit of encouraging talents and habits is not easily quantifiable but surely it does exist. Some actually earn extra income by simply doing something they really love.
Investments and Other Income
Aside from your monthly stipends, your parents might also have other income sources such as pensions, dividends from stocks, profit from investments etc. Their absence from the city shouldn’t affect their ability to still receive their due. To ensure they get their investment returns, I’d have to set up a structure that enables them monitor their investments and also get rewards. Most parents are not computer savvy, so its either they are trained or simply just left with what they are used to. If the village is such that they cant get mails on time then I will have to route all his mails to my house address. Once I have them its easy to have it sent to them directly. I will also ensure that all his returns on investments are paid into an account that he has full access to. That account must be unencumbered and must be active.
So those are my ideas for now, what are yours?