Dealing with the financial stressors of caring for an aging loved one can affect your ability to provide them with the care and compassion they need. It can also put the security of your financial future at risk. In last week’s Where There’s A Will Wednesday post, we discussed some of the unexpected costs when caring for an elderly parent in your home. This week, we will review some additional tips when taking on the increased care for an aging parent.
Don’t Leave Your Job
Many adult children end up putting their professional lives on hold to become a primary caregiver for their elderly parents. Financial experts advise against this because of the sudden loss of income and valuable benefits. Consider caregiving options that support your ability to maintain your earning potential.
Create a Budget
Review the actual costs of being a primary caregiver before making any drastic changes like leaving your job. Also, consider whether your loved one’s assets can be utilized to cover some of the costs involved in providing care inside or outside the home. You should also take into account the loved one’s wishes for both care and how their assets should be used to provide for that care.
Look for Benefits Elsewhere
Free or low-cost benefits that can help cover some of the costs of caregiving, such as home health aides, are often available to seniors. Similarly, review the limitations of public benefit options such as Medicaid.
Consider Relocating Your Parent
It is common for seniors to prioritize remaining in their own home while they age. Although understandable, this can be a very expensive, and often an unrealistic option. If opening your home to your loved one is an option, it can be far less expensive. As always, these options should be part of a dialogue with the loved one to ensure that their voice is heard and respected.
Seek Professional Help
Geriatric care managers can help you establish a caregiving plan that meets your needs and assist you in identifying resources to save time and money.
Protect Your Parent From Scams
Financial elder abuse is on the rise, so make sure your loved one’s finances are protected. Telephone, postal mail, and internet fraud is common and can be easily avoided when a close relative or friend is helping the senior loved one keep track of their bank account. Consider talking with your parents about stepping down as Trustee of their trusts and letting you step in now to monitor their finances, and if they do not have a Trust ask them if they would consider appointing you as an agent under a Power of Attorney.
Discuss the Future
Now is an opportune time to review your loved one’s wishes for his or her estate and consider your own financial goals and how helping to care for a loved one might affect them.
Caring for a loved one can take a toll, both financially and emotionally. At Forrest Law Center, we can help you plan for changes in life at every stage. Our Estate Planning Session guides you to protect and preserve what matters most. Before the session, we’ll send you a Family Wealth Inventory and Assessment to complete that will get you thinking about what you own, what’s most important to you, and what you can do to ensure your family is taken care of.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and not intended as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship. Every situation is unique and consultation with an attorney is required before any specific advice can be given.