When a senior’s health begins to decline, loved ones often step in to lend a helping hand. From grocery shopping and meal preparation to taking the older adult to doctor’s appointments, the time commitment—and the expenses—can quickly add up.
While some caregiving costs are minor and intermittent, others are more substantial. They can take a bite out of both the senior’s and the family caregiver’s budgets. Understanding what costs to expect, and learning about potential financial resources for caregivers, is essential.
Common Caregiver Expenses
- Transportation: This isn’t an obvious expense, but it is one that can quickly add up if you are driving your loved one around. The cost of gas, oil changes, tires, brakes, and parking can be significant. If your car is leased, there is the added concern of incurring fees for exceeding your mileage allotment.
- Household expenses: While moving a senior into your home may make it safer for them and easier for you, you’ll likely see your household expenditures rise. From the cost of groceries to utility expenses, your home budget will probably need to be adjusted.
- Caregiver healthcare costs: Caregiving can be stressful and physically demanding. Research shows that caregivers develop health problems of their own in higher numbers than their non-caregiving peers. Problems range from digestive issues to back pain and headaches. These issues often result in higher personal healthcare bills for the caregiver, including physician copays and medications.
On top of these added expenses, family caregivers often reduce the number of hours they work or leave their job entirely. That results in not only lost income but the loss of benefits. For many families, this creates a financial hardship.
What financial resources are available to help a family caregiver?
We have a few suggestions for you to explore.
Financial Support for Family Caregivers
Depending on your individual circumstances, one or more of these programs may be of assistance:
- Benefits for veterans: If the family member you are caring for is a veteran or the surviving spouse of one, they may qualify for additional financial support through the Veterans Administration. Benefits can typically be used to cover the cost of in-home care or a long-term care community. Another program your loved one may qualify for is Veteran-Directed Care. This funding allows a veteran to receive and manage home- and community-based services.
- Self-directed Medicaid services: Every state has Medicaid services that aid in financing the cost of long-term care. In some states, these funds can be used to pay a family member who is caring for the senior at home. Regulations and benefits vary, so it is best to contact your state’s Medicaid office for more details.
- Long-term care insurance: If your senior loved one has long-term care insurance, in-home care may be included. While most people associate these policies with nursing homes, some plans come with other options. Having the support of a home care aide may allow the family caregiver to return to work or at least work part-time. Check your family member’s policy or call the broker to see what is covered.
Help Managing Caregiver Stress
From juggling too many tasks to handling the emotional issues related to watching a loved one’s health decline, caregiving can be stressful. We encourage you to download the Caregiver Stress Educational Guide. This complimentary resource has information to support family caregivers.
If you would like to set up a time to learn how an in-home caregiver can be of assistance, call the Griswold Home Care location nearest you! One of our experienced team members will be happy to help.