By 2030, AARP predicts a shortage of potential caregivers for the elderly as the growth of the older generation surpasses the younger one. With fewer available caregivers and rising prices, the task of caring for an aging loved one is likely to fall on their family. In fact, 2/3 of Americans expect to rely on family members for their care as they age. Much of these care is expected to be unpaid, as stated in a Wall Street Journal article titled, “Survival Tips for Caregivers”. Caregivers spend about $8,000 on care related expenses per year and work about 30 unpaid hours a week. Given this added emotional and financial stress, the Wall Street Journal provided some tips for caregivers.
- Take a break. Becoming the primary source of care for a family member is quite the responsibility. Given this pressure, taking personal time is a necessity. Ask another family member to provide care for a few days or if no one is available, you can rely on adult day care or a senior center to give yourself some free time.
- Seek expert assistance. Chances are, you do not have a lot of experience with providing adult care. This is where a geriatric care manager can be helpful. They can help you arrange a schedule and make you aware of some of the services available to you. Geriatric care managers can also provide counseling to help mediate family conflicts concerning care. You can find a geriatric care manager at caremanager.org .
- Use your benefits. If your loved one or their spouse is a wartime veteran, they may be eligible for Veteran’s benefits. This benefit can pay for care, including in home care – as long as strict income and asset rules are met.
- Plan ahead. Unfortunately, chances are that at some point you will be unable to provide all the care your loved one needs. Their health problems may require more professional care or their dementia may become unmanageable at home. Whatever the reason, it is important to plan ahead. This may involve spending down assets so you can become eligible for Medicaid benefits. An elder law attorney can help you plan ahead for when your loved one requires long term care services outside of the home.