When it comes to taking care of family, there isn't a lot that you wouldn't do. However, the costs associated with caring for an elderly loved one can be difficult to manage on your own. Thankfully, with the right tips, you can help make caregiving more budget-friendly.
Don't Skip Doctors Visits
First off, it's important that your loved one not skip any doctors visits. While it's recommended that everyone visit a doctor at least once a year, as a person gets older, they may need to increase the number of visits, especially if they are managing a chronic condition.
Chronic conditions are common after the ages of 60-65. Coupled with lower testosterone, it is one of the leading contributors of ED in aging men. However, aside from this, chronic pain issues can also make it more difficult to move, which can increase the risk of having an accident. Seeing a doctor regularly can help manage these conditions and detect developing conditions, which can help prevent costlier treatments.
Additionally, according to a 2020 report from the Association of American Medical Colleges Physicians Shortage report, aging and growth are the primary driving factors of demand, and between 2018 and 2033 the population is expected to grow from 327 million to 361 million. This means that physicians are going to be increasingly in demand, and it could be harder to book additional appointments if you miss them. If this happens, you could end up needing to spend more to see doctors that aren't covered by your loved one's insurance, which can drive your cost of care up. When possible, stick to your appointment dates and try to avoid switching physicians if possible.
Find an Adult Day Center
In order to support your aging loved one, you're going to need to make sure that you have time to work and run important errands. However, this can be difficult if you are serving as the primary caregiver. If you are unable to have another family member stay with your loved one while you get things done, you may want to consider enrolling them in an adult day center.
Day centers can actually have a lot of important benefits both for you and your loved one. For instance, it can give you time to take care of important tasks while your loved one gets to socialize with other people their age and participate in activities to help keep their minds sharp. Socialization can be especially important as people grow older, and by being able to meet and make new friends, your loved one can benefit immensely. You also won't have to worry about your loved one while at work, which can be valuable peace of mind.
Make Sure Their Home Is Maintained
Accidents in the home, like slips and falls, are a family member's worst nightmare, and unfortunately, mobility issues can make them a more likely reality. Falls aren't just potentially devastating, but the rehab and treatment afterward can be expensive. Because of this, you'll want to make sure that their home is as safe as possible with all necessary repairs made to decrease the chance of an accident.
This can include adding railings along the walls and next to their bed and installing entry ramps. The exact changes that need to be made will depend on what your loved one needs help with as well as what their current level of care is.
Live Below Your Means
Serving as the primary caregiver for your aging loved one is something that can require sacrifice, but in the end, it is well worth it to ensure that your loved one can remain cared for and comfortable for as long as possible. Living below your means doesn't have to be a negative thing; instead, simply forgo some luxuries in order to save for your loved one's care. This can be as simple as saving a small bit out of each paycheck that would have otherwise gone to coffee or fast food, or as large as downsizing your home to lessen the other costs in your life.
Taking care of an elderly loved one is a noble action, and it is something that requires a lot of patience, compassion, and dedication. However, care can be expensive, which is why keeping these tips in mind is important to ensure that you can provide the best care possible without having to end up in debt or sacrifice the things that your loved one needs.