Family Caregiving and Financial Planning
In many aspects of life, financial planning can save a lot of headaches and stress. When a loved one has been diagnosed with an illness or if you are beginning to care for an aging loved one, then financial planning may get pushed aside. Caregiving after all can be a very stressful and overwhelming role, and the thought of managing even more details can be fear-inducing. Financial planning, however, is meant to prevent stress and reduce fear so finances do not become a giant question mark over your life. While the topic of money can usually be a stressful thing to think about, planning and money management can help reduce feelings of being overwhelmed and uncertainty.
What is financial planning?
Put simply, financial planning is an assessment of what money you have, a set of goals, and a strategy that will help you achieve this set of goals. In the context of caregiving, financial planning will usually aim to plan for the cost of care as your loved one progresses through their life.
Where to begin?
To start a plan, you will have to think of all of the costs your loved one will need now and into the future. You have to account for what insurance might cover and how your loved one’s needs will change over time. For example, if an aging loved one is diagnosed with a degenerative neurological disorder like Alzheimer’s, then you should plan on more care and treatment as the disorder progresses. If your loved one has a condition that is treatable in the foreseeable future, then you may only need to plan for a few years of treatment and bills. It is not an exact science, but you can do your best to budget accordingly.
What are common things to consider?
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, common things to think about in your financial plan is:
- Ongoing doctor visits and treatment
- Medical equipment
- Home modifications, like handrails for the bath, etc.
- Hiring a professional caregiver for in-home visits
- Full-time care
Another thing to consider are the legal aspects of your loved one as they age. Will they be capable to manage their own finances or make decisions on their own? Early on, you will need to sit with your loved one to take care of things like a will, a living trust, and power of attorney (POA). Addressing this early on can be important, especially if your loved one has recently been diagnosed with dementia since the disorder progressively gets worse. It is important to include your loved one as much as possible in the decision making process. Lastly, the Alzheimer’s Association provides a helpful worksheet that can help guide you in what types of things to consider and plan for. Click this link to access the PDF document. If you have any other questions, feel free to call ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093 or visit our website!  Source: Alzheimer’s Association  Source: National Institute on Aging