Aging Parents and Your Finances
Your aging parents need care, and perhaps you’ve even had a family meeting to discuss options. Most people focus on the emotional and logistical aspects of elder care, but forget about financial issues. This is a critical time to focus on debt management, according to credit counselors. Lifting the burden of debt and financial worry ensures a happier and healthier you, and establishing your well-being is critical to maintaining the energy to care for an aging parent.
Budget to Support Aging Parents
The additional financial burdens associated with caring for a parent can be challenging for families with debt management issues. Review these tips from the professional credit counseling experts at Clearpoint Credit Counseling Solutions.
- Will your aging parents be contributing to cover household expenses, or will you be paying for everything? Never make assumptions, and consider consulting with a well-trained credit counselor for help with creating an appropriate budget.
- Carefully research medical coverage options. For example, Medicare covers most adults over age 65, but restrictions apply. For Medicaid, income must be very limited to qualify.
- Explore the possibility of a parental trust fund to avoid probate. Early planning can shelter money from being taken by Medicaid if a nursing home may be needed in the future. An experienced credit counselor or debt management expert can advise you, but don’t delay. Medicaid takes into account past financial history.
- Establishing joint property or bank accounts can streamline an elderly parent’s affairs, but there are serious financial and tax consequences. For example, Medicaid considers the assets of both owners to determine eligibility.
- If the aging parents need constant care, budget for sitters so you can enjoy some independent outings.
- Expect to lose work time to care for aging parents or drive them to appointments and errands. Adjust the budget if this will affect income.
Finding Cost-Conscious Support
It’s worth investing some time in exploring low-cost adult-care options. The network of social agencies is constantly changing and refining, so be patient with phone delays and transfers. Begin with the Council on Aging, Red Cross and the Department of Health, all of which have websites. Search online for other sources, and ask for referrals to other agencies.
Remember that as a caregiver, it is critical to preserve your well-being. Know and respect your limits to minimize the risk of becoming sick, depressed and burned out.
Get Financial Help
The first step in establishing dependable care is to talk with your parents about their expectations, making sure everyone is on the same page. The second step is making that happen, financially speaking.
The knowledgeable advisors at a reliable consumer credit counseling service like Clearpoint are trained experts. They can guide you through adjusting or creating a budget, combining household finances, or managing debt. Creating a sound financial base ensures that you can care for your aging parents in the way you all agree on. Call 800.750.2227 (CCCS) to speak with a credit counselor.
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