The Financial Cost
In a Genworth study, Beyond Dollars Study 2018, caregivers reported they pay for care from their own pockets. Many reduce their own quality of living to pay for the care. In addition, absences, reduced hours, and chronic tardiness can mean a significant reduction in a caregiver’s pay. They work fewer hours and see their career negatively affected. Some must leave their jobs as the result of a long-term care situation. Caregivers who lose income also lose retirement and social security benefits. They may be sacrificing their children’s college funds and their own retirement.
Emotional and Physical Costs to Caregivers
In addition to the financial costs, caregivers express increased stress and depression.
Providing care to someone with dementia increases the levels of distress and depression higher than caring for someone without dementia. Caregivers can become exhausted physically and emotionally, and the patient may simply become too much for them to handle. This can lead to feelings of failure and guilt. In addition, these caregivers often have high blood pressure, an increased risk of developing hypertension, spend less time on preventative care and have a higher risk of developing coronary heart disease.
What can be done?
Planning is important. Having options—additional caregivers, alternate sources of funds, respite care for the caregiver—can help relieve many of these stresses. In addition, there are several legal options to help families protect hard-earned assets from the rising costs of long term care, and to access funds to help pay for that care.
Take good care of the caregiver
Caregivers need support and time off to take care of themselves. Arrange for relief from outside caregivers or other family members. All will benefit from joining a caregiver support group to share questions and frustrations and learn how other caregivers are coping. Caregivers need to determine what they need to maintain their stamina, energy, and positive outlook. That may include regular exercise (a yoga class, golf, walk or run), a weekly Bible study, an outing with friends, or time to read or simply watch TV. If the main caregiver currently works outside the home, they can inquire about resources that might be available. Consider whether other family members can provide compensation to the one who will be the main caregiver.
Caring for a loved one with dementia is more demanding and more expensive for a longer time than caring for a loved one without dementia. It requires the entire family to come together to discuss and explore all options so that the burden of providing care is shared by all.
We Can Help
We help families who may need long term care by creating an asset protection plan that will provide peace of mind to all. If we can be of assistance, please don’t hesitate to call 615-444-3568 and schedule your appointment today.