Even though one of the essential parts of life, most people are scared to talk about money. It gets worse when it involves people you are close to. Parents leave it late to teach their kids about money. The same applies to marriages where most men are hoping women would help more with the bills. Most people prefer suffering in silence to confronting the daunting money issues.
The money topic is even more challenging when it comes to caregivers. Taking care of someone else comes with additional financial responsibilities. If you don't talk about money, then you might end up with zero savings, debt and other liabilities.
Here is all you need to know about money for caregivers;
The first consideration before getting into fulltime is how ready you are to take the additional responsibility. Understand your financial situation to determine if you can include another person. Once you have ascertained your financial position, it is time to consider their financial position as well. Confirm if the presence of a source of income and what it caters for. Look into all the expenses of the care receiver.
Going to caregiving full time is such a massive choice in life. It requires assurance on how you will cater for your expenses like rent, food, medication and any other additional costs. Only move to full-time caregiving if you enough money to support everyone who depends on you. You can also consider it if the other family members agree to help you.
The other consideration to make before becoming primary care is how you handle the care receiver’s income. Make it clear whether you are expecting monetary support from the care receiver. You have to declare if you intend to use some of the money and what the other family members think about it. Also, ensure to look into how things might turn out in case their money is depleted.
Lastly, you have to consider a scenario where you have to move to an assisted living community. Even though you might be willing to help, there are times when you have to seek disability home care services for professional help. Set specific rules on when you might need the assistance and the finances to involve.
Talking about Money
Money is an emotional issue. Dissecting the financial position of everyone in the family is the hardest of the task. Well, if you are looking for secure caregiving, then you cannot avoid talking about money.
Find the right time to introduce the topic. Most probably during a happy and less stressful time. Let the care receiver know why the issue is essential and what you intend to do with the information. If possible, bring all the immediate family members concerned by the caregiving.
It is the state of the finance that determine the best caregiving options, financial assistance and any other concerns.
Keeping Financial Records
Once you have agreed on everything money; income, support and expenses, it is time to secure yourself. Keeping financial records is vital in keeping track of your budget and costs. Most older adults tend to have disorganized financial records. It is your role as a caregiver to locate all the necessary financial documents. Ensure you find the bank, pension and retirement, insurance details and other investment information. Request the care receiver for access into their real financial position. Ask if they have any running personal loans, memberships, mortgages and any other regular expenditure. Find all proof of ownership of assets and important documents.
Once you have collected all these items, sort them into easy to retrieve and understand format. Consider putting them in a well-labelled binder or a safe. Follow up on any due payments and pay up the loans and other debts. Once you have everything in order, ensure you keep every initial receipt of purchase and any other financial records.
Accessing and managing the finances of the care receiver is time-consuming. In most cases, you need special authorization for access. Feel free to involve a family attorney and other family members. In the end, it is all worth it. You need the records as proof of expenditure in case need arises.
Your family might question your actions from time to time. The documents are proof of factual claim and other emerging issues.
You might not know it, but fraud against the elderly is quite prevalent. The elders understand this and might be quite paranoid. The financial records are your only reassurance in case of any accusations. Keeping financial records is also helpful in case you need financial assistance. You can use them to apply for tax relief and Medicaid.
Letting the Care Receiver Make Money Decisions
One of the challenging concerns you face as a caregiver is how you let the care receiver handle money. In a case where the care-receiver has a source of income, you have to allow them to make money decisions. It is up to you to let them understand why you need to help with their finances. Pushing too much might come off as someone with ulterior motives.
The only time you can control all the care receiver’s money is when they have dementia. Dementia limits memory, communication and decision-making abilities. Ensure extra vigilance when dealing with such a person, because, at this stage, they are susceptible to cons and other undue influence leading to poor money decisions.
Whether you have full or partial control on the finances, you still have to keep the financial records.
Bottom LineMoney is one of the most dynamic topics in families. It is even more challenging when it comes to additional responsibilities in the form of caregiving. Caregiving affects your finances in several ways. Even if you don't spend your money, you have to sacrifice your time which affects your money-making abilities. Have a money conversation with the family before venturing into the primary caregiving role. Once you have everything sorted, the only way to a peaceful time is by keeping all financial records. Disclaimer: The views, suggestions and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Forbes India journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.