Caregiver stress can cause serious negative effects to your physical and mental health. One major source of stress is the caregiver financial burden. You do what’s necessary to help your older adult get the care they need. But that care often comes at a high cost. To reduce the financial burden, Vive Health shares 7 tips for saving money on caregiving expenses – which decreases the stress.
Lost sleep. Back pain. Headaches. Anxiety. Does this sound familiar to you?
Many family caregivers experience negative health symptoms due to the physical and mental demands of caregiving, but the financial burden can have serious effects as well.
A recent survey of 2,000 family caregivers found that 92% are also “financial caregivers” – meaning they provide assistance with their older adult’s financial needs.
These money management roles might differ from caregiver to caregiver, but generally fall into two categories:
- Financial coordinators – organize bills, file taxes, coordinate investments, plan budgets, etc.
- Financial contributors – provide money for care, supplies, etc. and pay medical bills out of their own pocket
The survey found that 88% of caregivers take on the financial coordinator role and 68% the financial contributor role. But 64% of family caregivers actually take on both roles.
All in all, caregivers spend an astounding $190 billion a year on the older adults they care for.
Find out about common sources of financial stress and get 7 tips to help reduce costs and take some of the pressure off.
Common sources of financial stress for caregivers
Financial stress can build up in a variety of ways, including:
- Mounting medical bills for doctor’s visits, hospital visits, medical tests, etc.
- Cost of caregiving supplies (like durable medical equipment, incontinence supplies, food, etc.)
- Lost wages and missed career advancement either from leaving a job to care for their older adult or simply having to manage both work and caregiving careers
- Aging adults getting scammed out of their savings
- Mistakes on bills/invoices from healthcare providers that require a lot of time and effort to correct
Chronic stress associated with these types of financial burdens can show up in more ways than just a negative mood.
Symptoms linked to long-term stress include:
- Social isolation
- Tension headaches
- Panic attacks
- Increased risk of high blood pressure, stroke, or heart attack
- And more
7 tips for reducing stress due to the caregiver financial burden
To save money and reduce the stress brought on by financial responsibilities, try these 7 tips.
- Save on prescription medications by asking the doctor for free samples, switching to lower cost generics, or getting help from state programs.
- Use all the good deals for older adults that you can find, including senior discounts on groceries, medical supplies, restaurants, hotels, travel, retail, delivery, fitness, and more.
- Buy regularly-used supplies in bulk from wholesale stores like Costco or Sam’s Club – tissues, paper towels, cleansing wipes, adult briefs, incontinence pads, protein shakes, food, etc.
- Check with local non-profit organizations for help with necessary home repairs and upgrades that improve your older adult’s safety and health
- Search for “lending programs” in your area that allow you to borrow durable medical equipment for free – bath chairs, wheelchairs, canes, etc.
- Encourage family members to gift useful items for your older adult’s birthday, holidays, etc. For example, you could say “Instead of candles and socks this year, Mom could really use an overbed table for her room. It would make her life much easier and be a constant reminder of your support.”
- Maximize deductions over the year by taking advantage of helpful tax tips for caregivers and get free tax help for seniors from the IRS
Finding clever ways to save money, avoiding common scams, and asking for financial support and advice from family members, financial planners, or even social workers can go a long way to reducing the caregiver financial burden that you’re feeling.
Recommended for you:
- How Seniors Can Get Help Paying for Prescription Drugs
- 7 Sources of Home Repair Assistance for Seniors
- 3 Ways of Getting Paid as a Family Caregiver: Government Benefits Programs
Guest contributor: Jessica Hegg is the content manager at ViveHealth.com. Interested in all things related to living healthy lifestyle, she works to share valuable information aimed at overcoming obstacles and improving the quality of life for others.
Image: Aventa Senior Care
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