Jun 4th, 2012 | By | Category: Lifestyle, Health & Fitness

Financial Impact of Caregiving

The call came just as we were preparing for bed.  Mother, age 92, was in severe pain in her right leg.  Tylenol hadn’t done a thing for her.  We needed stronger medications.  We talked with the nursing home staff in charge, and they agreed to call her primary care physician to get a script for something stronger to knock out the pain.  Just another of many calls related to her care.  Caregiving for elderly parents is a 24/7 responsibility. Some issues can be handled on the telephone, like this one.  Others require years of planning and careful execution.

As I attempted to drift off to sleep, I thought about the various issues seniors need to consider when planning for their elderly parents.  The caregiving issue that has the most impact is financial.  Many senior citizens do not know that Medicare does NOT pay for custodial nursing home care, for example.  So the question becomes, what are the options in planning for long term nursing home or custodial care for one’s aging parents?

A Look at Elderly Financial Resources

  • The most important issue a caregiving senior has to look at is what kind of resources the parent has.  If the resources are extensive enough to be able to pay for custodial or nursing home care, obviously there isn’t an issue.The resources/investments need to be protected for use when the elderly one needs care.
  • If the parent is a Veteran, the options for financial assistance for care need to be researched.  Additional information is helpful, and available here on the Internet.
  • If resources are limited, it behooves the caregiver(s) to look at Medicaid eligibility requirements, and begin planning for a date when the elderly parent is eligible for Medicaid coverage in your state. This may require several years of planning because Medicaid requirements take a look at resources going back 60 months (five years).
  • Long term care insurance and reverse mortgages remain options for those with existing resources to obtain such assistance. Financial planners are important experts to include in the process of determining whether or not such options are viable in individual circumstances.

Caregiving concerns range from providing day-to-day care for one’s elderly parent/friend to long term planning for the financial impact of caregiving that can last many years.  It is never too early to begin thinking about the issues with aging parents/friends in your life.



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