Caring for an elderly parent can be a very rewarding experience, but it also represents a serious financial commitment. Even for family members who are expecting these costs, there are still a variety of hidden costs that can come as an unpleasant surprise. Here are some of the most significant hidden costs of caring for aging parents:
Reduced Work Hours:
One significant hidden cost aside from the initial cost of materials and equipment for basic care is the reduced wages many adult children accept when caring for elderly parents. Caring for an elderly parent is a lot of work, especially if they have any serious disabilities or medical conditions, so most caregivers are forced to reduce their work hours or quit their job entirely to ensure their parent is cared for.
Costs of Living:
It seems obvious that you’ll need to cover your aging parents’ costs of living, but many children with elderly parents forget to consider this along with the initial cost of care. When you take an aging parent into your home, you become responsible for paying for their food, transportation and utility costs. Another cost of living that many people fail to consider is the cost of medical care and medications for aging parents, which can be significant if not covered by insurance.
Personal Medical Bills:
Adult children caring for elderly parents often fail to consider personal medical bills that they may incur if they develop health problems related to being a parent’s caregiver. Because of the stress that being a caregiver causes, adults caring for elderly parents have a higher risk of developing mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression disorders, as well as stress-related physical issues such as back problems. When you act as a caregiver, there’s always the chance that you’ll find yourself paying for these additional expenses, so consider them ahead of time.
Being a caregiver for elderly parents can also deliver a serious hit to personal retirement savings. The combination of less time spent working and increased expenses usually leaves caregivers with less money to put towards their 401k and other retirement accounts. Many people plan to use their forties and fifties to bolster their retirement funds, as they have usually paid off their mortgage and other long-term costs by then, but becoming a caregiver for aging parents can derail these plans.
Due to the variety of hidden costs associated with caring for elderly parents, the best course of action as a caregiver is to plan for all possible costs. Another option is to look into options for home care packages (HCPs), which are services that provide elderly people with physical and emotional support to keep them more independent.. Getting help from home care services can reduce the physical, mental and financial strain of being a caregiver for aging parents, and can also leave adult children with more time to work and earn money while the home care package provides the assistance that their parents need.