For those who become caregivers for family members, the financial strain can become overwhelming very quickly. Unless advanced planning has been done, or if the family has unlimited resources, the cost of care adds to the stress on the caregiver and her or his family.
A new annual AARP Research Report surveyed over 1,800 family caregivers last summer and found that they spend an average of $6,954 in out-of-pocket expenses related to caregiving.
US News’s recent article, “How Family Caregivers Can Ease the Financial Burden,” suggests a few ideas if you have money problems while caring for a family member and you lack funds.
Engage a professional for advice. One option is to hire a geriatric care manager and an elder law attorney to help you learn about where you can save money. Be certain that the attorney is certified in elder law because the laws and rules of Medicare and Medicaid change frequently. An experienced elder law attorney will know what programs are available.
A seasoned geriatric care manager understands the financial resources system and helps match eligible applicants with programs. If your family member has special needs, you can hire a special needs caregiver. Regardless of the family member's health issue, there's most likely an organization or care manager who can help you find resources that will help you pay for care.
Your utility company may be able to help you with your bills if you're running any special equipment necessary for a loved one to live at home. Many utilities have a program for this situation. In addition, if there's an outage, your home will get priority for getting back online.
Look at thrift stores, if your insurance company won’t pay for equipment for your loved one. A church may have access to durable medical equipment at no or low cost.
Realize that the length of your caregiving may not be what you expect. Don’t rush into making big decisions without all of the information you need, or setting up family vigils. Rushing may cause you to make expensive mistakes. Be especially wary of hiring caregivers who are not affiliated with agencies and do not have the right training.
Reference: US News (December 9, 2016) “How Family Caregivers Can Ease the Financial Burden”