Preparing to Become a Caregiver

Becoming a caregiver is a profound expression of love, but it can also cost caregivers thousands of dollars. In order to provide the best care possible, and reduce your financial strain, it is important to understand and prepare for the financial implications of caregiving.

  • Start the discussion early: You should discuss who will be responsible for managing personal, financial and medical affairs if your loved one cannot make those decisions. Beyond a verbal agreement, there are legal documents to consider such as durable power of attorney agreements and living wills.
  • Determine what resources are available to your loved one: Your financial situation may depend in part on the finances of your loved one and the assistance that’s available from outside sources:
    • Their finances. Create a list of your loved one’s current financial assets and future income.
    • Government and non-profit programs. Look into Medicare, Veteran Affairs and Medicaid if these programs apply. There are also non-profit organizations that provide helpful services to caregivers.
    • Family assistance. Whether it’s unpaid care or financial assistance, take into account your family’s contribution to the care.
    • Professional support. Consider looking into organizations that specialize in working with families and elderly family members to plan for the future.
  • Find the best services you can afford: There are many different types of programs available such as home care, home health care, assisted living and nursing homes.  Your loved one might move back and forth from one facility or service to another as their health and preferences change, so it is good to research facilities and cost in advance.

As you prepare to take care of a loved one, it is imperative you understand the financial situation in order to provide the kind of care your loved one needs, without a strain on your financial health.