Being a caregiver for a family member takes more than just love; it requires a level of inner emotional strength, practical skills, and exceptional determination to provide someone else with the best quality of life despite their illness or disability. In many cases, it often means sacrificing a lot of their own life, not just in time but also money.
Many caregivers end up either reducing their working hours or giving up on their careers entirely, which obviously impacts their income. This then has a knock-on effect on retirement savings and Social Security. Combine this with their contributions to medical care and/or traveling costs involved in visiting their loved one regularly, and the financial burden can be immense.
Minimize traveling costs
Living a significant distance from your family member can make it more difficult to manage their care, and the costs involved in traveling back and forth will add up quickly.
Whenever possible, arrange multiple medical appointments on the same date so you can reduce the number of trips you need to make. It is also a good idea to establish your own line of communication with the doctors so you can stay in touch when you are not physically in the area.
You may not need to visit in person every day. For example, an alarm that automatically connects to emergency services when your loved one is in danger can give you peace of mind that they will receive the help they need quickly at whatever time of day or night they need it. It may also help to arrange to communicate with your loved one in a consistent way at the same time each day. This could be a text message or phone call, but the point is they know you are thinking of them, and when they respond, you know they are safe and well.
Hire local support services
While it may seem an additional expense on the surface, in some cases, utilizing professional care services can be more cost-effective than managing all day-to-day care by yourself and dealing with expenses as they arise. It may be worth some research into services local to your loved one that can provide support, whether this is with pre-cooked meal deliveries, transportation, or personal care from Alinahomecare. By paying a set fee each month, you will take some of the caregiving responsibility off your shoulders and will be able to budget with ease. If your family member has Medicaid, they may be able to claim the expense of a home care service via the program.
Investigate financial support programs
There are other financial support programs that could help with the costs involved in caregiving. For example, Veteran-Directed Home and Community-Based Care is available in many states; it provides a monthly budget that can be used to pay for medical expenses and home help services. There is also a Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers, which offers a monthly stipend if you are caring for a veteran.
Some tax credits are available for those who provide financial support to a family member for medical care, as well as the Low Income Energy Assistance Program that can reduce the cost of utility bills.