Charlotte Yeh, M.D., Medical Expert
1. Free advance directives
2. Check your hearing using your landline phone
The National Hearing Test at nationalhearingtest.org is a scientifically based screening funded by the National Institutes of Health. The simple, quick test is $5, but free for a limited time to AARP members.
Amy Goyer, Caregiving Expert
3. A respite for veterans' caretakers
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers a temporary break for caregivers by paying all or some of the cost of an in-home health aide or for the veteran to attend an adult day center. Find details at caregiver.va.gov, or call 855-260-3274 toll-free.
4. Get some volunteer help
Check with your local area agency on aging for programs like Senior Companions, in which volunteers visit your aging relative. Visitors check up on your loved ones and free up time for you to do chores.
5. Try a "granny pod" rather than building an addition for an older relative
This is a prefab structure — with a bedroom, bathroom and kitchenette — that you can put in your backyard.
6. Check with Medicare before buying health equipment
The federal health insurance program will often pay part of the cost for walkers, canes, wheelchairs and hospital beds.
7. Widen doorways for less
People with walkers or wheelchairs often can't fit through narrow doors. A low-cost solution: Install offset door hinges. They can add an extra couple of inches to the doorway.