Having an Emergency Fund is Part of Serving Your Parents

One of the greatest duties placed upon a Muslim is to be dutiful to his or her parents (birr ul-walidayn in Arabic). This means serving them and taking care of them in the best way possible.

Have you ever thought about how to take care of your parents when they’re elderly? What if they need extra medical care? It won’t just be medical expenses. Think about extra travel you may have to take to visit them, or helping them with basic expenses in the case of unexpected loss of income.

Check out this article from Liz Weston, Why You Need an Emergency Fund for Your Parents (a few highlights are below, but the entire article is worth a read)

We recently lost my wonderful mother-in-law to complications from a stroke following a diagnosis of cancer. As we prepare for her memorial service, I’ve been thinking about what a blessing it’s been to be able to help care for parents in their final days—and to do so without having to worry excessively about expensive plane tickets, time off work and other potential financial burdens.

If you have parents who are elderly or in poor health, consider opening a savings account dedicated to making their lives, and yours, a little easier. That fund can pay for:

Getting there. In the five years my mom battled cancer, I spent a small fortune on plane tickets getting from my home (which was then in Anchorage) to hers in Washington state….

Being there. About three years into her fight, Mom had a serious setback. Dad was providing most of her care and he was overwhelmed. I was able to take a two-month unpaid leave from work to help out—again, thanks to my emergency fund…

Getting help. A few years ago, my father had a massive stroke while visiting a relative in Florida. We couldn’t fly him home, since he was too ill to travel. To help us manage his care long distance, we hired a geriatric care manager who was worth her weight in gold. …

It’s impossible to know in advance how much money you might need, but anything you can set aside will help ease the financial burden when the time comes to help your folks.

Omar Usman

Omar Usman is a founding member of MuslimMatters, Qalam Institute, Muslim Strategic Initiative, and Debt Free Muslims. He is a regular khateeb and has served in different administrative capacities in various national and local Islamic organizations. You can follow him on Google+ or on Twitter @ibnabeeomar.

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