We know that when you're a caregiver, providing help for the elderly loved ones in your life is just another part of your week. Doctor’s appointments, shopping trips, and errands become part of your day-to-day planning. But what happens when unexpected expenses come up, when Mom needs help with simple daily tasks or starts showing signs of memory loss? If you're like many caregivers, you're still working, putting children through college and trying to save for your own retirement, paying additional costs for aging relatives would be a real burden.
In today's post, we want to share some secrets that will help you get your caregiving budget under control.
How to Master Your Caregiving Budget
When you've got family to take care of, getting professional help for Mom or Dad can seem really expensive. Here are some ideas to consider when working out your caregiving budget:
1. Selling the family home.
Are you at the point that the person you're caring for is no longer able to remain in their own home? Selling the family home provides much-needed cash to meet a variety of needs.
2. Veteran's benefits.
Was Mom or Dad in the military? If they served even a single day of active duty during a foreign war—even if they didn't see combat, go overseas or retire from the military—both veteran and spouse are eligible for the Aid and Attendance Special Pension. A married veteran can receive up to $2,000 per month to cover long-term care and their spouse up to $1,000 per month to cover anything from in-home care to assisted living to full nursing home care.
Note that the program is asset- and income-based.
3. Public and private programs.
If your parent wasn't a veteran or married to one, there are still a variety of public and private programs available. The National Council on Aging has identified over 2,000 programs to help the elderly meet their needs. You can find these programs as well as several other tools on the Council's website.
4. Putting long-term care or life insurance into play.
Most long-term care insurance policies have tax-deductible premiums, as do a number of hybrid long-term care-life insurance policies that guarantee long-term care if needed, but will furnish death benefits if long-term care isn't used. You can also use cash surrender, accelerated death benefits, death benefit loans and similar benefits on most life insurance policies.
5. Bridge loans and home purchase programs.
If real estate isn't selling well in your area, a bridge loan or home purchase program may be the way to go. A bridge loan provides cash to cover the time between when your loved one gets sick or requires long-term care until their home sells. A home purchase program helps reduce how much money is needed to get seniors the assisted or long-term care they need.
6. Reverse mortgages.
As a last resort, consider looking into a reverse mortgage which would allow Mom to stay in her home while getting regular, tax-free income to cover monthly expenses. Just make sure you read the fine print: If the homeowner dies or sells the house, the loan will need to be paid back, but the amount paid back can never exceed that of the original loan, even if the home's value decreases.
Start Planning Now
Now that you've had an opportunity to review some non-traditional forms of help for the elderly, why not start planning ahead for what may be coming down the road? Whether Mom needs short-term respite care or long-term assisted living, The Cottages provide a wonderful, home-like environment for your loved one.