Many more adult children are providing care to older parents in America. It’s a trend that is expected to continue as the senior population increases.
While many family caregivers believe they are saving money by doing everything themselves, they are probably missing many of the costs that aren’t obvious. The following are some of those costs, so you can start to consider how worth it is for you and if you need to make changes to the care you’re providing.
Decrease in Wages
Family caregivers often have to take time out of work to transport their older parents to medical appointments. With the missed hours, many caregivers end up using all of their leave allowances, and they start cutting into their pay. According to a study by MetLife, the average lost wages for family caregivers is $143,000.
More Health Care Costs
Since caregiving can be stressful on the body and mind, many people end up having to go to the doctors more because of illnesses. Many also need counseling to deal with the mental issues that come along with caring for an older parent who may not easy to work with each day.
Less Savings and Retirement
Older parents do not have the funding to cover their care. This means that adult children have to foot the bill for many of the medical appointments and procedures. This can cost them thousands of dollars that could be used for their own retirement.
When taking care of an older adult, caregivers have less time and mental energy to take care of their personal lives. They may not be able to do as much for their children, spouse, and at work. This decreased in productivity can lead to many problems in their life.
Many adult children stop working, so they can care for their older parents full time. This means that they lose time in the workforce, which makes it harder for them to return to work later. This leads to a lot more money lost.
What You Can Do
Now that you’ve realized that there is a lot of money being spent on family caregiving, it’s time to make some changes that will greatly help you cope with the demands of this work.
While it may be easy to pay for your older parent’s medical expenses, try to avoid it at all costs. There are many programs that will help pay for elderly expenses. This can help you mitigate your costs.
You may also want to check into reduced medical expenses for yourself. If you are working, see if you can get on a better insurance plan that will help you get the medical and mental health care you need.
To cut down on the time you spend away from work to transport your senior loved one, consider transportation services or home care services. This way you can remain at work, and your older parent can make appointments that are very important to his or her health.
Getting through these years of being a family caregiving is more about how you help rather than what you do to help. Find ways to make this much more bearable by using resources that you have in your local community and online. For instance, Kendall Van Blarcom is a personal consultant who helps caregivers just like you.