Top Resources to Help You Financially Survive Caregiving
Updated on Nov 09 2018
Caregiving takes time, energy and money. Many caregivers spend a large portion of their household income on caregiving expenses, not to mention many of them have lost income from work-related strain or hardship resulting from their caregiver duties. Learn three resources to ease caregiver money worries.
Caregivers must balance caring for someone else and caring for themselves, both emotionally and financially. Otherwise they risk burnout, health problems and financial hardship.
In fact, according to a recent AARP survey, three-quarters of all caregivers spend, on average, 20 percent of their household income on caregiving. This is on top of the estimated $470 billion in unpaid care that they provide – which doesn’t include the potential lost income due to work-related strain that over half of caregivers report.
These numbers represent why caring for a family member or loved one creates a financial hardship that’s tough to recover from and can negatively affect the caregiver’s future.
Take Advantage of Organizations That Help Seniors and Caregivers
Aging America has placed an economic burden on many families as many seniors didn’t prepare for their futures. If you are facing financial strain which can compromise your own future well-being, it’s important to be proactive to gain control of your finances. Many caregivers today are also sandwich generation caregivers, who are taking care of not only their aging loved ones, but also their own children. If you are in this situation, you may be finding it extremely difficult to find the means to save for your own retirement and future well being.
Here are three helpful organizational resources to help you financially survive your caregiving:
Area Agency on Aging (AAA)
Areas Agencies on Aging is a network of approximately 620 organizations nationwide which serve the elderly populations of their local areas. They are commonly referred to as “Senior Centers.”
Most agencies serve a specific geographic area of several neighboring counties, although a few offer services statewide. All the AAAs receive federal funding under the Older American Act and most supplement that funding with additional state and local revenues.
Each Area Agency on Aging provides a different suite of services, although there are basic services which included, but are not limited to, the following:
- Nutrition Support - Counseling, home delivered and community meals.
- Caregiver Support - Respite care and caregiver training.
- Assistance and Referral Programs - Information about assistance programs and referrals to administrators.
- Long-Term Care - Information about long-term care facilities and reviews.
- Healthcare and Insurance Counseling - Benefit education and information for programs seniors are eligible for or are already enrolled in.
- Transportation Info - Assistance understanding and coordinating of local transportation services.
AAA often has programs for seniors and their families in need, and if they don’t - they can often point you in the right direction. Find the nearest location on their National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4A) website or call them at 800.677.1116.
National Council on Aging (NCOA)
The National Council on Aging is a not-for-profit, charitable organization in the U.S. that provides a national voice for older Americans and acts as their advocates in dealing with service providers and policymakers. If you find yourself helping your loved ones with basic living expenses, NCOA has a tool, Benefits CheckUp, that helps you figure out whether there are programs for whichthey might qualify.
NCOA also offers an educational program to help you navigate Medicare, called My Medicare Matters. The tool provides unbiased information to help you and your aging loved ones make decisions about the options that best meet their needs.
If financial and asset management is a concern, Economic CheckUp shares tips and in-depth advice on a range of issues, such as managing money in retirement and protection from financial scams, such as identity theft and fraud.
Your State Medicaid Agency
Medicaid is the state-run program that provides medical insurance to low-income individuals, but it also provides coverage for nursing home and in-home care when your parent has exhausted most other resources.
Your family may qualify for free or low-cost care through Medicaid based on income and family size. In addition to providing important financing for your parents’ care when they run out of money, some state Medicaid programs will also pay family members to provide care. This type of Medicaid program is often referred to as “cash and counseling,” and it’s offered in many states.
You can obtain information on these services in your state by checking with your local Senior Center, your state’s Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC), or through the Medicaid website. Medicaid provides benefits not normally covered by Medicare, like nursing home care and personal care services.
Be Your Own Financial Advocate
Being prepared for your own future should be a priority. Use the resources listed above, in addition to these additional government and private financial resources to help fund care for your aging loved one.
Set boundaries as you shouldn’t be held financially responsible if the person you are caring for hasn’t financially prepared for their future. It’s okay to say ‘no’ or seek additional resources.
Get help from friends, family and professionals. If you are caregiver, the financial burden shouldn’t be solely on you. Seek expert financial help from a fiduciary financial advisor to learn whether there are resources or budgeting that may make sense.
Finally, alert your local state and federal legislators about your experience as a caregiver about the financial burden you face. Policymakers depend on the public to help change laws and create resources in favor of the caregiver.
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