Transitioning into the role of a caregiver, especially for a loved one, can feel slightly overwhelming. Between possibly relocating your home to adjusting your current spending habits, this responsibility may begin to feel unmanageable and maybe even slightly impossible. While these feelings are completely valid, there is a lot you can do to combat them and take control of the situation.
One of the largest adjustments you’ll have to make is to your spending habits. You may even feel as if this is one of the changes you have the least control over. The equipment you’ll need as well as the medicine will begin to add up and is essentially unavoidable.
Luckily, there are strategic ways to handle and maintain the financial responsibilities that arise throughout caregiving. Acknowledging these struggles is the first step to overcoming any worry you may have associated with the financial obligation.
Keep reading for more resourceful ways to continue to manage your caregiving expenses.
Prepare your home expenses
Within most cases of in-home care, people are thrown into situations with no warning, ultimately leading to them having no plan and no preparation. With the house the main and essentially the only location for elder care, it is crucial to have any adjustments made ahead of time, with the expenses under control.
If you are staying in the same home you currently live in, consider any renovations you may need to complete. Can your loved one utilize the stairs? Is there a bathroom on the main floor?
If these questions are answered with “no,” it is very important to address this before they move in. Having this space prepped and move-in ready will allow you more control over these unavoidable costs.
This is especially true if you relocate for this role, it’s imperative to manage the paperwork and spending associated with a move. Typically, there will be a lot of unforeseen costs joining this long-term transition.
Similarly to when you remain in the same home, it is important to keep in mind different considerations around the care of your patient. What layout will benefit the patient the most? Will you need a ranch-style house? These are important questions to ask yourself before shopping for this home – practicality is key.
As mentioned before, in this new normal, there will be numerous financial considerations to regulate. In this case, as you start your journey on finding a house that will assist your in-home care, there will be quite a few transactions along the way.
To start, you’ll need to look into how and when you should get preapproved for a mortgage. Essentially you are figuring out what you can afford before shopping around for a home.
After securing your preapproval you will likely encounter expenses such as home inspections, UHAUL rentals, and closing costs that are crucial to accommodate for as well. Formulating a plan and anticipating these costs for the long run will allow you to make smarter decisions along the way.
Don’t be afraid to ask for support
Whether you ask for professional help or reach out to a loved one, support is something you will need in spades throughout this journey. For professional financial help, look into contacting bankers, lawyers, accountants, insurance agents, or even personal financial planners.
Much of their experience, insight, and advice will help guide you to make the right decisions, even for your unique accommodations. They also can assist you on how to organize bills and educate you on what you should or should not be spending time and money on.
Be smart with your spending and ask for advice.
It is also important to look for a second opinion when it comes to these professionals. This is where supportive friends and family come into play.
Don’t tackle these bigger decisions on your own. If you have a family or friend with you in these appointments, you can have a second set of eyes to give that final stamp of approval.
Create a budget
According to AARP about half of the caregivers say they use their own money for household-related expenses. To avoid any overspending within your own accounts, have a plan to advocate for these limits you have set for yourself beforehand.
It can also be beneficial to keep your account and your loved ones separate as much as possible. However, with Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients, it may be necessary to add a trusted family member to a joint account, so you are able to make decisions they may be unable to make.
It’s important to educate yourself as well! Research beforehand what equipment you will need and allow your budget some wiggle room to include any emergency purchases. Speak to your loved ones’ doctors to be able to create an accurate budget on what they will need day today.
Organize important documents
Creating an easy-to-use system to navigate these important documents will help you create a sense of order around your home.
Whether it is the deed to your new home, the joint bank account information or your loved ones will agree upon an effective and structured system to organize this paperwork. Invest in a filing cabinet or even a color-coded system, and stay consistent with it. File all of your receipts, payment books, legal documents, and bills.
If a filing system is too chaotic for you and your family, go digital! With new phone applications, you have the ability to have everything at your fingertips. This may come in handy for doctor visits or sharing information with long-distance family members. The accessibility and easy decluttering hacks within the app will have you organized for your new role.
The most effective way to manage your finances is to be as transparent as possible.
Accepting outside help when it’s offered to you and being honest with them as well as yourself is so crucial to have a handle on your money. Create a healthy environment for you and your loved ones to avoid that stress as much as you can!