9 Things to Automate When an Older Adult Wants to Continue Living at Home

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  1. Set up automatic payments for regular bills from your parents’ checking account or your own. Register on your bank’s website as an online user, then specify which bills you want to automate. If you’re worried about overdrafting, you can choose to be e-mailed for approval before each payment is sent out.

  2. Deposit government payments directly into your parents’ checking account. Use Godirect.org to have your parents’ Social Security and other government payments deposited directly into their checking account. This helps protect against overdrafting and cuts down on organizing trips to the bank. (A help line is available at 800-333-1795.)

  3. Renew bus passes and pay for transportation services online. You can usually do this online by going to the website for each local transportation service.

  4. Sign up at your parents’ pharmacy for online prescription refills. Walgreens.com and Walmart.com are two that offer this service. Some pharmacies will e-mail you a reminder when a prescription is ready and follow up when your parent is due for a refill.

  5. Simplify your parents’ yard care. Install low-maintenance landscaping and an irrigation system with timers in your parent’s yard. Arrange for regular yard care service if necessary, and ask to be billed directly.

  6. Hire a regular housekeeping service. Be sure to schedule it for the day before garbage day so the trash gets taken out. The bigger companies like Merrymaids.com and Mollymaids.com allow you to set up payments through your bank’s online bill pay service.

  7. Order groceries online. For parents with transportation or mobility issues, online grocery orders and home delivery save you trips to the store and let you rest easy that there’s something in the fridge. Safeway.com, Albertsons.com, Planetorganics.com, and Peapod.com offer online ordering and home delivery. Some of these services will save your shopping history so you can place the same order for basics every week with just a couple of clicks.

  8. If your parent isn’t up to cooking, have meals delivered. Meals on Wheels brings prepared meals to frail seniors. Find your local organization at Mowaa.org.

  9. Set up regular pet care through a local service. If you can’t afford to hire someone to do walk your parents’ dog or take care of other pet chores, check local nonprofit and charity organizations, such as Volunteers of America, which do this for free for seniors.

Next up: 7 Keys to Growing Old in Your Own Home

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