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Sometimes it all comes down to money…when you are the caregiver in hospice

Sometimes it all comes down to money when caring for someone in hospice

By Patty Ayers

According to the article The high cost of caring for parents, MSN, October, 2011.  “One-quarter of adult children provide physical or financial care to an aging parent — a proportion that has tripled in the past 15 years, according to a recently released MetLife study.”  Nowadays it’s difficult for a family to survive on two incomes let alone budgeting for the needs of another person, which in many cases can be very expensive.  In many cases caregivers end up quitting their jobs to care for another or miss so much time from their jobs that they compromise their position, pensions or miss promotion opportunities.

In many cases the person being cared for does not have long term care insurance or has not saved enough to pay for their own care.  This is the point I find many caregivers.  Not only are they burned out from the physical and mental aspects of caring for another, they are frustrated because there are very limited resources available.  Medicare will not pay for a companion or home health aide as it is custodial care.  If you are an only child most likely there is nobody available to provide respite to you unless you have cousins or other relatives who can lend a helping hand.  In some cases I can assist with obtaining funds or assistance through a charitable organization depending on the diagnosis, but they are limited.

One of the first things you can do if your parent or loved one is able to do so, is to discuss their finances with them.  It may be awkward at first, but if you discuss this with them now, you may be able to come up with a plan or make your current situation a little better. If they own a home and have equity in it, then consider a reverse mortgage or a home equity loan.  Two websites that the article mentioned above are Eldercare Locator and BenefitsCheckUp which may lead you in a good direction.  If you have willing brothers and sisters who could lend a hand either physically for financially, bring them aboard to help figure out a good solution for everyone.  Lastly, leave quitting your job as the very last resort.  Ask your employer about working part-time or consider intermittent family leave.  Remember you are not in this alone and many times there are creative solutions available but you need to search for them.

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