Personal finance topics of special interest to the caregiver.

Help! I’m Running Out of Money Fast

Help! I’m Running Out of Money Fast

Contributing Editor

One MetLife study found that the 10 million employed caregivers in the U.S. lose an estimated $304,000 per person in wages, pensions and social security benefits over a lifetime if they leave the workforce prematurely.

And that doesn’t include the little extras caregivers pay out of pocket.

A survey by U.S. healthcare coordinator Evercare estimated those everyday expenses at $5,531 per year, more than 10 percent of the median income of survey respondents, which was $43,026. The most common expenses: household goods, food and meals (42 percent reporting), travel and transportation costs (40 percent), and medical care co-pays and pharmaceuticals (31 percent).

These resources provide an overview of agencies and organizations that can help with home and respite care and occasionally the extra expenses, to keep your costs under control:

In the U.S. This free service run by the National Council on Aging in the U.S. offers links to benefit programs across the country that help pay for medications, health care, rent, utilities and food for aging Americans.

Family Caregiver Alliance: Offers state-by-state help with everything from respite programs to caregiver training and support for family caregivers through government, non-profit and private programs. This U.S. Administration on Aging site connects you with services for older adults, including meals, home care, transportation, caregiver needs training and education and respite care. Search the database by topic (Alzheimer’s Disease) or by location (Chicago).

Home Care Financial: Paying for Senior Care offers a comprehensive list of financial assistance programs for homecare, including state programs for those who don’t qualify for Medicaid.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Eligible veterans with dementia can get a monthly pension, free health-care services and aid in cases where they need help with bathing, feeding, dressing and other daily tasks whether they’re being cared for at home, or in a care facility.

Look locally

Individual states offer a multitude of programs to ease the burden of care and help pay expenses for vulnerable seniors, even those who don’t qualify for Medicaid. Here’s a sampling of what’s out there:

Louisiana Commodity Supplemental Food Program 

Provides food boxes to low-income seniors and will even deliver if necessary. Similar programs operate in 43 states.

Hawaii Kupuna Care (KC) for the Elderly

Offers transportation assistance, hot meals delivered to the home and help with household chores and personal care. Apply through your county Aging and Disability Resource Center.

Oklahoma Respite Voucher Program

Offers vouchers to pay for respite care for caregivers.

Consumer Directed Care Plus

A Medicaid program in Florida, allows elderly or disabled people to hire workers and vendors to help with daily needs such as housecleaning, cooking and getting dressed. The clincher: Paid workers may be family members or friends. Other states have similar programs.

In Canada:

Service Canada: Apply for compassionate care benefits through employment insurance (available for cases of grave illness with a significant risk of death); get information about how to claim the caregiver amount on your tax return and explore live-in care options.

Aids to Independent Living Program

Provides long-term loans of home health equipment to individuals on low income in B.C.’s Lower Mainland. Administered by the Red Cross.

Nova Scotia Caregiver Benefit

Offers $400 per month to caregivers of low-income adults (less than $22,003 per individual or $37,004 per household).


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Camilla Cornell

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