When you hear the term senior citizen, what comes to mind? Does a person have to be over a certain age to be a senior? Are you a senior citizen only after you retire? Do you have to retire to be a senior citizen? How does life change for people when they are considered a senior citizen? Questions, questions, and more questions. Here are some of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that those about to be seniors often ask.
Frequently Asked Questions for Senior Citizens
What is a Senior Citizen?
While there is not a single bridge to senior citizenhood, being a senior citizen typically means that a person is of the age to retire from work. Sixty-five is a target age for most. That is when we transition from a working adult to a retiree. Some retire earlier than 65; some work well past 65, either by necessity or preference. For some, it is not a sharp line in the sand; it is a gradual process. Simply put, a senior citizen is a social demographic based on age. Baby boomers currently overlap to a certain extent with senior citizens but that won’t always be the case.
Is Senior Citizen A Pejorative Word?
While some might think that being called a senior citizen is a negative thing, most will agree that when we get this far, we’ve earned our stripes. We wear the battle scars of the maturing process. Seek to be at peace with yourself, and labels applied by ignoramuses will melt away in unconcern.
When Are You A Senior Citizen?
It depends on where you are and what you are doing. When it comes to Medicare, a senior is anyone 65 years and older. However, Social Security benefits are eligible for seniors starting at 62, even though the Social Security Office reports that 67 is the age of retirement. Yet if you are 55 and you visit an Arby’s or McDonald’s you can get a senior discount. By the way, Burger King requires you to be at least 60. Confusing, isn’t it!
As such, being a senior citizen may be based on your age, but it is not a specific age. In general, however, once you turn 55 you start to enter the senior citizen age demographic. By the time you are 65, you reach the most common age for retirement from your life’s work. However, an increasing number of senior citizens are working after 65, so retirement can no longer be a key factor in becoming a senior. It can be safe to say that after 65 you are designated a senior citizen, regardless of your working status.
What Does It Mean to Be a Senior Citizen?
Every aspect of an individual’s life changes as they become senior citizens. However, changes are most pronounced in three key areas: culturally, medically, and economically.
Culturally, a senior citizen is someone who is slowing down in life. Most of their key accomplishments are behind them. They have had a career, raised a family, and accomplished many significant feats.
The amount of many spent on healthcare doubles every decade of your life. By the time you reach 65, medical expenses are a significant portion of your monthly budget. Quality of life issues starts to creep into your life. Mobility, hearing, and vision are the most common health complaints in the early years of senior citizenhood. Elderly individuals are more likely to be afflicted with chronic pain and illnesses which will require aid and support from outside sources.
The economic playing field changes dramatically when we transition to becoming a senior citizen. Economically, a senior requires financial support either in the form of retirement funds, savings, or the support of a caregiver. Since a senior citizen will usually no longer work, they need to have someone or some account that can help to cover their expenses. As a result, seniors are often dependent on others for their welfare.
How many senior citizens are there in the United States?
There are currently almost 55 million senior citizens in the United States. Senior citizens represent a rapidly growing portion of the United States population. For a current estimate from SeniorCare.com, click here.
What is the best age to retire?
There is no one answer to this question. Every new senior citizen’s circumstances are different. Have you saved adequately? Have you invested adequately? Is your home paid for? How is your health? The easy answer is as soon as you can. Just make sure your resources are sufficient to last as long as you do. Recent news reports have focused on just how unprepared many baby boomers are to make the transition to senior citizens and to retirement. At the very least, you need to have a plan. If you can’t afford a financial planner, find someone else you trust who can fill the role. It’s better to not use a family member. That creates a tremendous potential for conflict of interest issues. When you do have a plan, make sure you share it with those who will administer your affairs if you become incapacitated or while will administer your affairs after you are gone.
What Are Health Insurance Options for Senior Citizens?
Insurance coverage for senior citizens ranges from private health insurance coverage to public health care. If a senior citizen has private health insurance from an employer or third-party agent, then this should be enough to cover most health care needs. However, for seniors who have retired from work they may be without health insurance. This is where Medicare comes into the scene.
Medicare is a federally provided social health insurance program that is open to all seniors 65 and older. Once a senior turns 65 they have an enrollment period of seven months. Note that this seven-month period starts three months before a senior is 65. For instance, if a senior is turning 65 in March, they can start enrollment in Medicare in January of that year, and they have until June. The month of their birthday is included as one month of the seven months. For seniors who enroll later, they are subject to a penalty.
What are Senior Citizen Discounts?
Many fast-food restaurants offer senior citizen discounts. However, that is just the beginning. Most sit-down restaurants and grocery stores also offer discount days for seniors. In addition, you can get a discount on airfare, sports tickets, hotel accommodations, and movie theater tickets. Hair salons, tire service centers, and cell phone companies also offer senior citizen discounts. When in doubt, ask? You will be surprised how many senior citizen discounts you will discover if you overcome your timidity ask.
What are Senior Citizen Living and Care Options?
There is not a single “right” answer to this question. The options – and reasons for each option – almost as numerous as there are seniors. Most answers lie in three very different areas: Seniors typically live:
- at home, either by themselves or with a caregiver
- in a senior living apartment or retirement community
- with relatives
- in a retirement home with varying degrees of care
Within these four types of housing are varying levels of care that are aimed at meeting the needs of seniors.
A senior citizen who can live on their own at home requires the lowest level of care. They can manage their day-to-day activities including meals, transportation, and bill paying. Most often they have minimal health problems and are active seniors who may work part or full time outside of the home. In some instances, these seniors will have caregivers who live with them. This might be a relative or live-in nurse.
In most situations, but not all, a caregiver moves in with a senior citizen when they start to have trouble with daily activities. This would be the type of living in which a live-in nurse is involved. A live-in nurse typically stays with a senior during the day, while leaving them alone overnight. They do not live with the senior full time.
If a senior is either unable or unwilling to live alone, they will typically transition to a senior apartment within a retirement community. These communities are highly diverse and include specifications, such as LGBTQ, golfing, luxury, religious, or military veteran senior communities. Within these communities, all the residents are seniors over 55 who are active in some capacity. Seniors live in their own apartments or single dwelling houses within the retirement community.
They are provided with specialized services that allow for a low-to-medium level of care. For example, there may be an onsite medical clinic, physician offering home visits, and routine health checks. More importantly, within an active senior retirement community, elderly citizens are provided with a network that allows them to socialize. Being alone in one’s home is often the first issue of living as a senior. By moving into a retirement community, seniors can overcome this roadblock and continue to thrive in a supportive environment.
Living with relatives can be a blessing and a burden. What it becomes is up to ALL the parties involved. Tread carefully and set boundaries before you begin.
A retirement home includes an assisted living facility and a nursing home. This type of senior living is reserved for seniors who cannot handle day-to-day activities and care for themselves. In addition, these types of centers are for individuals who require a more advanced level of care. They may have a loss of mobility or be diagnosed with dementia or chronic illnesses. They require 24/7 medical care and observation to ensure they do not suffer due to neglect or lack of proper medical providers.
What Are Some Financial Matters for Senior Citizens to Consider?
In terms of finances, the reality is that seniors are at the end of their working careers. That can be a bitter pill to swallow for a senior if financial needs are significant. That being said, in most instances, seniors retire from work once they turn 65. However, as seniors are aging more gracefully, living longer, and maintaining active lifestyles, there is the opportunity for seniors to continue working. This also stems from their financial situation. If a senior has planned accordingly by saving for retirement throughout their adulthood, then they should have the funds available for retiring. If they did not plan, then working is likely a necessity. There are options for taking Social Security benefits and getting Medicare health insurance as a senior, both of which help with senior citizen finances. However, most of the time the Social Security benefits are not enough to completely fun the desired standard of living for seniors.
What Are Some Primary Legal Matters for Senior Citizens to Consider?
Legal issues that arise for senior citizens often involve three areas. For starters, a senior will want to write out a legal will dictating who will receive what upon their death. In addition, a senior citizen should determine an executor of their estate. This person becomes responsible for making legal, medical, financial, and other such decisions for an elderly person if they become incapacitated or no longer have sound judgment. An executor is also the person who becomes responsible for financial decisions for seniors who are placed in assisted living facilities or nursing homes and no longer able to make daily decisions. Finally, a senior should speak with a lawyer if they feel they are being treated unfairly or discriminated against. As an elderly person, issues that often come up are age discrimination in the workplace, as well as elderly abuse by a caregiver. Having an attorney that can be reached for legal advice or protection can help a senior live a happier, healthier life.
When is Senior Citazen Day?
National Senior Citizens Day recognizes contributions senior citizens make in communities across the United States. It is annually observed on August 21.
Why are there Senior Citizen discounts?
So why are there so many discounts for senior citizens? Seniors are on fixed incomes and often with limited assets that are to last for an unknown number of years. Yet senior citizens want to be able to live a healthy, happy life in retirement. To help seniors afford both the essentials and the extras, companies offer discounts for this age group.
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