For many Americans, placing an aging parent or relative into a nursing home is simply not an option. Adult children feel a responsibility and obligation to provide home care for aging or ailing parents or relatives. In addition to working a full-time or part-time job and caring for their own children, these adult children caregivers dedicate a significant amount of time to the home care and supervision of aging parents or relatives. In some cases, adult children devote 40 hours or more each week to providing home care for an aging parent. While many adult children are grateful and delighted to be able to provide care at home for aging parents or relatives, many of these caregivers find themselves under great financial strain. Since most expenses are paid out-of-pocket, long-term care can be financially ruinous if not planned for properly.
Even though Medicaid and other Social Security benefits can help elderly Americans with necessary living and medical expenses, Medicaid may not help pay for home care costs or assisted living rent. Many caregivers find themselves in need of help with these costs, but the options for financing may be limited. In 2007, the average cost of elder care services in a nursing home was approximately $77,000. While many elderly individuals desire to maintain their own independent residence, this is not always possible. It may be necessary to sell the home of the aging individual and use money from savings accounts to pay for home care costs. Many adult children find themselves in the precarious situation of exhausting both their retirement funds and savings on the care of their aging parents, leaving nothing available for themselves in the future. Therefore, sound financial planning for both the short-term and long-term care of an elderly loved one is highly recommended.
Long-term insurance is an excellent option for managing elder care costs. Assets such as investments, savings and retirement funds may be converted, and a portion of these monies used to help with daily living expenses. Reverse mortgages are also an option for helping relieve the financial burden of home care, such as rent, clothing, food and personal care items. Personal property, such as jewelry, cars or other valuable items, could be sold and the proceeds used to fund home care for a parent or loved one. In some cases, grants may be available from nonprofit organizations to provide financial help to care for an aging loved one at home.