Financial Planning for Senior Caregivers: How to Get Your Finances in Check

Friday, April 7, 2017, 6:00 AM | Leave Comment

Caregiving is a stressful endeavor, mentally, physically, and financially. Caregivers often end up cutting back on their work hours or leaving their jobs entirely in order to provide care for an aging loved one or ailing spouse, and the loss of income can be particularly devastating for many.

Whether you’re already entrenched in the duties of caregiving or you’ll be starting your caregiving journey in the next year, these tips will help you get your finances on track to preserve your future.

Financial Planning for Senior Caregivers

Image via Pixabay by brandnewday.

  • Know What Benefits are Available to Your Loved One

    Does your loved one have health insurance through an employer or through their retirement plan?

    Take the time to read through any medical policies to understand coverage options and limits pertaining to any applicable chronic illness or progressive disease.

    When you’re armed with a thorough understanding of what insurance covers and what you’re responsible for paying out of pocket, you can more easily detect billing errors and navigate the healthcare system.

    If your loved one is uninsured, they may qualify for Medicare, Medicaid, or other options that can reduce the financial burden of escalating health care needs.

  • Make Smart Investments

    Financial planning isn’t solely about saving money and covering your day-to-day needs; it’s also about spending it wisely.

    Certain investments around the home, such as improvements to your kitchen or bathroom that make your home safer and more functional for your loved one, are well worth the investment.

    Not only do safety measures offer you peace of mind, but they’ll also reduce the likelihood of an expensive hospital stay by mitigating the risk of trips and falls that can lead to serious injury.

  • Don’t Neglect Planning for the Future

    In the throes of caregiving for an ailing loved one, it’s hard to think about the long-term future.

    Focusing on the day-to-day is necessary, but your future is also important.

    If you’re employed, find out about the long-term savings options available to you through your employer.

    For instance, you should continue making contributions to your 401(k), which some employers match up to a certain limit annually.

    Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and Health Savings Accounts (HSA) are another option offered through some employers. These accounts enable you to set aside money pre-tax that you can use to cover eligible out-of-pocket healthcare expenses.

    If your loved one still lives in their own home, think about when might be the right time for them to either move in with you or move to an assisted living facility. If you choose to have them move in with you, money made from selling their home could go towards their care, or if they’d prefer an assisted living facility, it could be used to cover the costs of that move.

  • Seek Help from an Elder Law Attorney or Financial Planner

    Now is the time to have a difficult discussion with your loved one about their desires regarding end-of-life care, if you haven’t already done so.

    An elder law attorney can prepare legal documents such as a living will and healthcare power of attorney, allowing a designated representative to make important decisions on your loved one’s behalf should they become unable to make decisions themselves.

    Additionally, an elder law attorney, geriatric care manager, or financial planner can help you prepare important financial and legal documents that can help to preserve your loved one’s assets and prepare for future care needs.

    It’s always better to be over-prepared than underprepared when it comes to delicate health care and end-of-life needs.

Healthcare and long-term care costs are escalating in the United States, and more families are caring for aging loved ones at home as other care options are often out-of-reach financially.

No matter what your financial circumstances, taking the time to get your finances in order before taking on the role of caregiver is a smart way to start the new year off right.

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