Finances and Caregiving

We all know being a caregiver can take an emotional toll.  Unfortunately, it can also take a heavy financial toll.  According to a recent survey over 60% of caregivers worry about the impact care-giving is having on their savings.  In addition, 42% are spending more than $5,000 a year on care.  How is that possible?  Many senior services are paid for privately (not through the government or insurance).  Long-term care can quickly add up whether it’s in a facility or at home.  Groceries, medical bills, and long distance phone calls are just a few examples of the costs that are often associated with care-giving (not to mention the cost of a facility itself).  Another hard reality is that the caregiver is often forced to take time off from work, change jobs, or leave work all together in order to manage their care-giving responsibilities.  This loss of income can deeply impact the financial situation.
So what can be done to prepare for this?  Perhaps the best thing you can do is talk openly with your parents about finances before it becomes a necessity.  Review investments, assets, income, and expenses.  Know where they keep important documents.  If necessary, consider switching to joint accounts so that you have access when needed.  Most importantly listen to your parents wishes.  Listen to their vision of their long term care and work together to develop a plan that will financially allow for it.
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