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Financial considerations

Financial planning for the future

Healthcare decisions aren’t the only thing you need to discuss with your parent. It’s also vital that you have an open and honest conversation about money.

Long-term medical care can be costly, especially for chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. While Medicare, Medicaid and private long-term insurance will pay for some expenses, these programs often don’t cover all medical costs. Plus, there are the additional expenses of day-to-day living, such as housing and groceries. Without proper planning, these can add up quickly.

A certified financial planner who specializes in elder care can help you and your parent develop a strong financial plan to prepare for long-term medical needs. They can also help you fill out the necessary forms, such as a power of attorney. This will allow you to handle financial matters, should your parent wish.

Here are a few other tips to keep in mind:

  • Get an accurate accounting – While it may be uncomfortable for your parent to talk with you about money, as their primary caregiver it’s important for you to know what is available in terms of savings, federal benefits, pensions or private insurance in case you need to access these resources on their behalf.
  • Ask for helpBenefitsCheckUp is a free service from the National Council on Aging that can help you find benefit programs to help pay for medications, healthcare, food, utilities and more.
  • Think twice before quitting your job – While it may seem more cost effective to take over nursing duties yourself rather than hire outside help, there are hidden costs to consider. Without a paycheck, you won’t be able to save for your own retirement or contribute to Social Security. Check with your human resources department before giving your notice; you may be able to make some changes to better balance your job and caregiving responsibilities. Some ideas include adjusting your hours to give you a more flexible schedule, job sharing with another part-time worker or taking an unpaid leave of absence under the Family and Medical Leave Act.