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Coronavirus Tips to Protect Seniors: The Dos and Don’ts

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Stay Home, Get Exercise, and Call Your Grandkids: A Coronavirus Guide for Seniors

Seniors are more susceptible to severe illness from COVID-19. The increased risk means it’s essential to practice social distancing, avoid traveling when possible, and wash your hands thoroughly. Following the CDC guidelines is a good start. Here are four more ways you can stay safe while adjusting your daily routine.

Talk with Your Family and Grandkids

If your grandkids don't call enough like they should, now is the perfect opportunity for you to call them. Regularly socializing has numerous benefits, including improved mental and emotional well being. Plus, staying in touch is easier than ever with countless apps, including Skype, FaceTime, and Google Hangouts. The GrandPad is another excellent option with an easy-to-use interface specially designed for seniors.

Even an occasional phone call can go a long way. If you don’t have anyone to talk to, the Institute on Aging created a Friendship Line. The hotline lets seniors make friends over the phone and is available toll-free 24 hours a day.

Take Advantage of Senior Hours at Local Business

Everyone needs food and supplies. Going shopping is riskier for seniors, though, who may come in contact with the coronavirus. Fortunately, there are plenty of online delivery services, so you no longer have to step foot in a store.

Amazon Fresh, Instacart, and Peapod allow people to make grocery lists online and have professional drivers deliver the food to your door. Postmates, Uber Eats, and DoorDash® are leaders when it comes to providing restaurant takeout. Meanwhile, Blue Apron offers meal kit services while Meals on Wheels assists people on fixed incomes. Many pharmacies, department stores, and even doctors are gravitating toward online operations, too.

Some errands require leaving home. If you have to do so, check if the store has senior shopping hours. That way, you can visit when the shelves are stocked, and everything is sanitized. For instance, Walmart has an hour-long shopping window before the store opens on Tuesdays for people aged 60 and older.

Financial Dos and Don’ts

1. DO LOOK OUT FOR SCAMS

Several scams have popped up in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Unscrupulous businesses are selling cleaning, health, and medical supplies that over-promise and under-deliver.

For starters, be wary of any products that sound too good to be true. If you have any doubts about a product’s validity, err on the side of caution. Additionally, the Federal Trade Commission has published tips recommending seniors to:

  1. Ignore robocalls
  2. Ignore offers for vaccinations or home test kits
  3. Do not respond to texts or email about government checks
  4. When in doubt, check what the government is doing

2. DON’T FRET ABOUT YOUR SAVINGS ACCOUNT

Relax. It is perhaps the best financial advice we can give, though we understand it is easier said than done. That is especially true if, say, you have grandkids attending college in the fall that will need financial assistance.

Ideally, you have three to six months of money set aside in an emergency fund. If you do not, it’s a good time to review your financial statements. For instance, you can print out your last credit card bill and highlight nonessential expenses. That way, if you need to cut back, you know where to do it.

While we can’t predict the future, COVID-19 will eventually pass. In the meantime, your money is safe with us. For starters, United is insured by the NCUA. Second, you can check your savings account balance online or by phone at any time.

3. DO CONTACT YOUR LENDER ABOUT LATE PAYMENTS

The coronavirus has caused government agencies to delay all sorts of payments, including pushing Tax Day to July 15. As a result, many lenders are cutting borrowers some slack. If you are concerned about defaulting on a payment, contact your lender. Explain your situation, how much you can pay, and when you can resume regular payments.

Each lender has a unique set of policies, so results will vary. Ideally, a lender will recognize the proactive effort and delay or reduce the scheduled payment. At United, we want to protect our Members’ financial present and future. That is why we are:

  • Waiving $15 fees to pay loans by phone
  • Waiving early penalty withdrawal fees for CDs
  • Offering 90-day payment deferment for United education loans

You can get in touch with your local United branch by calling (888) 982-1400 or by making an appointment.

4. DON’T MAKE A SIGNIFICANT FINANCIAL CHOICE

Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing at all. You should stick to your original financial plans, even in these stressful times. As long as you have your immediate financial needs covered, avoid significant sell-offs or investments that can damage your long-term financial health.

The goal of investing, whether in a retirement account or the stock market, is to buy low and sell high. Selling out of panic has the opposite effect. While things may look grim now, time has a way of sorting things. If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to talk with a United financial advisor today.

Stay Active

Make the most of your time indoors and out. Exercise can help you maintain strength and flexibility while boosting your immune system. The National Physical Activity Guidelines recommend 2.5 hours of moderately intense physical activity per week.

The National Institute of Aging will keep motivation and fitness high with its series Go4Life. The program promotes a wide range of exercises, building everything from endurance to balance. There are also plenty of strengthening series from AARP.

The Bottom Line

You’ve heard the coronavirus advice for seniors, but it bears repeating. Practice social distancing, wash your hands for 20 seconds and limit travel. In the meantime, there are plenty of ways to weather the coronavirus outbreak without sacrificing your daily routine.

There are online resources that will help you stay in touch with loved ones or get groceries without leaving home. Regular exercise with fitness videos is also a great way to keep in shape. Additionally, United will continue to provide financial security and flexibility throughout the coronavirus outbreak. It is our way of ensuring our Members are protected now and in the future.