Our parents are aging and need looking after – it’s just that simple. So, how do you meet their needs, while still providing them with some independence?
- Think Before Becoming A Full Time Caregiver
It is tempting to become a full time caregiver for your parents. After all, you love them and there is no one better suited to care for them than you. However, it is really the best decision? You will be giving up your salary and won’t be saving for retirement any longer. It may also be difficult for you to secure a job when you are ready to work again. How will a gap of a few years look on your resume? These are all points to consider.
In addition, are you receiving benefits from your current job? For example, if you leave your position, you may have to secure your own health and life insurance. Check the prices on these policies before you commit, because they can be very expensive. Also, ask your company if there is any way you can take a leave of absence. You may be able to return to your job after a certain period of time.
- Come Up With A Budget
Before you do anything, create a budget to see if becoming a caretaker is even feasible for you. How much money will you spend on gas to get to your parents’ location? Are there monthly activities that will also cost money? Look into your parents finances as well to see if they are able to pay for some of their own expenses.
- Seek Assistance
There are resources in the community that could help you. Look online to see what is available in the way of care taking; some benefits could be available for free or for a nominal cost. The National Council on Against is a great resource. Also, look into the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging. You can look to see if there is an office near you. Heavenly Care Home Health are also widely regarded by a lot of people and seen to be perfect for this form of assistance.
- Find Out More About Medicaid And Medicare
There are a lot of misconceptions out there about Medicaid and Medicare. For example, many people believe that Medicare pays for nursing homes. That is not true. Medicaid may be able to help, but it is only available for those that have very limited funds. Do you know what type of coverage your parents have? Do they have any other kind of coverage that could help? What type of co-pays are you dealing with? It is important to do your research so you have a realistic financial picture.
- Research Staying At Home
Many elderly individuals do not want to leave their home because they are comfortable there. All of their possessions are there as well. However, before you commit to anything, research the cost associated with letting them stay in their home. Is there any assistance available? Check out the Aging in Place workbook by MetLife. Another resource is the Genworth Cost of Care study from 2011.
- Think About Bringing In A Professional
Are you able to adequately care for your parents on your own? Their needs may be too great. If that is the case, a professional, like a geriatric care manager, can help. They will come up with a plan for your parents and also help you access resources in your community that can help. Look up the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers.
- Beware Of Scams
Unfortunately, there are people out there looking to take advantage of the elderly for their own financial gain. Watch out for your parents and their finances.
- Know Your Parents’ Wishes
Sit down with your parents and talk about what they want should they become unable to handle their own affairs. It is not an easy conversation to have, but it is necessary. Topics like a living will and power of attorney are all important.
- Come Up With A Retirement Plan
Create a retirement plan for yourself. Are you in a good financial position? Will taking care of your parents hurt your financial future? What can you do about it?