The Financial Considerations of Becoming an Elderly Caregiver
You may have always planned on caring for your parent or spouse one day, but you may not have considered financing and caregiving costs. Expenses are not usually the first thing that crosses one’s mind when they imagine helping a loved one. Making sure a loved one receives proper care and support is what you may think of first. However, there are many financial considerations for a new caregiver to take into account.
One survey found that 63% of caregivers did not plan how they would pay for their parents’ care over the next five years. Not having a plan or understanding of what will happen when your senior loved one needs your care, in-home care, or to move to a senior living community can lead to financial difficulties.
Planning early, gaining knowledge in caregiving, and learning about the resources out there for a senior and caregiver will make the future much more manageable. While many seniors plan to stay at home as long as possible, their plan may include moving to an assisted living community further down the road.
What expenses do elderly caregivers need to prepare for?
There are many financial considerations when becoming an elderly caregiver. Some of the most common costs include medical care, utilities, groceries, transportation, home repairs, and safety additions. There are also emotional and physical costs that one will endure when caring for a senior loved one. While no one wants to discuss these, it is normal to feel stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted when caring for another person.
Making changes to a senior’s home is likely one of the first things you will need to do. Since seniors are more likely to have falls, you will want to:
- Add textured, non-slip strips in the bathtub
- Apply non-slip wax on floors
- Place a chair in the shower
- Put non-skid treads on steps
- Remove throw rugs
- Remove wheels on chairs
- Replace toilet with a raised toilet
- Use rubber-backed bath mats
- Add railings and grab bars
- Add wheelchair ramps
Food is an essential daily expense that adds up over time, especially if your loved one has to follow a specific diet. Some older adults are only able to eat certain foods and avoid others.
Transportation, gas, and wear and tear on your vehicle is another cost you may not have considered. Seniors will need rides not only to the grocery store and other errands but to doctor appointments as well.
One of the major financial considerations to becoming a caregiver is that you will likely miss hours and, eventually, days of work. Some caregivers end up having to quit their jobs altogether to provide care for a senior loved one. A loss of hours means a loss of wages, less or no contribution to a 401(k), or other retirement savings.
The emotional and physical cost
Less talked about is caregiver burnout. Caregivers tend to suffer mentally, emotionally, and physically as exhaustion sets in. When you are so busy caring for another person, sometimes you forget to take care of yourself, which is not good for the body or mind.
Some caregivers develop health issues of their own, which is another added expense that most don’t consider.
What financial considerations should an elderly caregiver use to decide on the best care for a loved one?
There are many things to consider when deciding on the type of care your senior loved one needs. Are they able to complete everyday tasks alone, or do they require daily assistance? If they require daily assistance, how much time will be spent on providing them with the support and care they need? Consider your own caregiving efforts and the efforts of hiring other resources to help you such as nurses, physical and occupational therapists, around-the-clock care, etc.
Evaluate your loved one’s needs and discuss their health with a physician to determine what type of care and treatment would benefit them the most. If they are not ready to speak with a doctor and you are still concerned about their health, you can do an assessment yourself.
If your senior loved one is still independent and does not need special services, being a caregiver may not be too much of a task. However, it would be in your best interest to check your schedule and determine how much time will go into caregiving. It could become more costly if you have to take time off work and pay for special services, especially as your loved one ages.
A community versus becoming an elderly caregiver
While some seniors want to stay in their homes for as long as possible, once they need daily assistance, special services such as therapy or memory care, it may be time to consider moving them to an assisted living community.
As a caregiver, you will want to provide your loved one with the best care and ensure that all of their needs are being met. It sounds simple enough, except that as time goes on, their needs will increase, as will the cost.
It may become difficult for one person to offer so much help. It may also strain the relationship that you have with your senior loved one, which could be hurtful to you both. You’ll need to consider what is best for your relationship and how much time you can spend caregiving compared to focusing on your personal needs and interests.
Even with the best intentions, there is only so much that a caregiver can do. Most caregivers are not skilled nurses and do not have the proper equipment or funds to care for a senior that needs daily assistance.
How The Kensington Sierra Madre Can Help
Living in a community such as The Kensington Sierra Madre comes with many benefits. Our expert team can make rapid adjustments to changing care needs while also offering on-site rehabilitation and therapies, exquisite dining, and life enrichment.
We are equipped to provide your senior loved one the care they need while offering them a place that feels like home. Our team holds a deeply valued Promise to love and care for your family, as we do our own.
If you have any questions about financial considerations for our assisted living or memory care community, please contact us today. We are here to help you and your loved one and make their potential transition as seamless as possible.