While caring for an aging parent has its benefits, like being able to spend more time with your parents, it also can mean making personal sacrifices.
Being a family caregiver can cause stress because of large investments of time and money, and in some cases, can even result in bitterness towards your loved one and other family members.
Most experts agree that to be able to effectively help with your parents’ care, you must first help yourself. As a recent article from US News points out, this means that you should protect your finances, well-being, and time when mapping out a care plan for one or both of your parents.
Luckily, MetLife’s Mature Market Institute (MMI) put together a list of things that you should consider when facing the financial consequences of caregiving:
- Explore of all your options before quitting your job to help a parent. Sure, gaining time to help your parent is good, but losing your income could damage your personal retirement savings. If you leave your current job, how easy will it be to find comparable work in the future?
- What other benefits would you lose if you leave your job? Besides health insurance, what about employee disability, life insurance, and other policies that would be costly to replace? Be sure to check your employer’s family leave policies before making any rash decisions.
- Make a budget for caregiving. Before making any drastic changes to your own life, make a comprehensive caregiving plan that includes what you’ll be spending (or losing) out of pocket. Do the same with your parent’s finances. You’ll find that there are many ways to allocate resources to support caregiving needs.
- Don’t forget about free or low-cost public benefits. MMI recommends checking out several websites that can provide info on getting caregiving help, such asÂ the National Council on Aging and the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging.
- Learn more about Medicare and Medicaid. This will help you answer questions like “Does Medicare cover nursing home stays?” (No, but Medicaid does to those who’ve exhausted most of their assets.) “What kind of coverage do my parents currently have?” “What are the co-pays for medication?” “How does their insurance affect their government benefits?”
- Understand the costs of in-home care. Naturally, most people prefer growing old in their own home. Today, you might be surprised that the cost of hiring health care professionals to provide comprehensive in-home care may actually cheaper than checking your loved one into an assisting living facility.
- Seek out professional help (if needed). If your parent has increasingly challenging needs, there are many professional geriatric-care agencies, such as Physicians Choice Private Duty, who will put together a comprehensive care plan.
- Keep an eye out for financial scams.Â Sadly, financial abuse of the elderly is on the rise. Be sure that you and your loved ones are aware of potentially harmful scams.
- What do your parents want? Don’t forget to include dad in the discussion of his ongoing care. Who does he want to have power of attorney in case he becomes unable to make critical decisions? Does his living will need to be updated? A senior care provider can help you answer these questions.
- Don’t forget about your own retirement plan. How will caring for your parent affect your own financial future? What steps do you need to take to deal with any implications?
If the above points aren’t enough to open your eyes, consider thatÂ the average personal loss for a family caregivers hovers around $300,000 in lifetime wages for a working American.
By taking the necessary steps to understand all that goes into caring for your aging parents–both emotionally and financially–you’ll be well-prepared for the difficult task ahead, much to the benefit of you and your entire family.
Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here. Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!
“Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living solves the challenges families face in caring for aging parents, with a focus on strategies that keep them in their homes. To learn more about our solutions, visit http://www.private-duty.pchhc.com.”