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Given the fact that 43 million people in the United States are currently caring for someone over 50 years old, there is no denying that our population depends on family support for our seniors. And providing this care is expensive.
A recent study reports that 46% of caregivers spend more than $5,000 a year on related expenses. Those costs include medications, medical bills and in-home care. This does not take in to account the time spent on caregiving or the impact caregiving has on the caregivers career.
Here are five strategies for minimizing the financial stress of taking care of an older adult:
- Don’t Quit Your Job – It makes more sense to hire help if it enables you to maintain your career, health insurance and other benefits. Quitting your job to provide full-time care to an elderly family member, on average can cost you more than $300,000 in lifetime wages, Social Security and pension income.
- Public benefits – Veterans and their spouses may qualify for certain benefits. In addition, other government programs, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicare Part D Extra Help Program and Medicaid, are also available to those over age 65 or under the federal poverty limit.
- Long-term care – An elder law attorney can often help caregivers better understand the current and future expenses and how to minimize them in the long run. Planning ahead can also help caregivers prepare to handle the financial costs of long-term care.
- Delegate and Automate – Caregivers can hire help in the form of a geriatric caregiver, personal organizer, or personal concierge to run errands or handle yard work. This can free up time and energy for caregiving. Likewise, caregivers should automate as many tasks as possible, such as grocery delivery and bill pay, can also free up time.
- Community assistance – If you live in a close-knit community, then you might find some relief by sharing duties with neighbors or enlisting a local scout troop to handle yard work or read to the older adult.
By Eric J. Einhart – Guest Blogger