Elder care need not always be a financial burden

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It is now more than ever that a majority of families are willing to provide long term care to elderly members of the family, especially to those who experience some or the other form of limitation in performing their day-to-day activities. Almost as close to 1/4th of households in America are taking care of elders over the age of 60 and above. Needless to say, the families are the foundation of a stressed healthcare system as opposed to hospital stays which over the period of time are becoming shorter and shorter. This has led to the family caregivers providing elder care as a healthcare professional would do and that too without any formal training as such.

In other words, caregiving could be termed as the unpaid work of family members that enable the spouses and parents to live home a little longer. Often most of them think of it as a selfless act that comes naturally to them when it’s a question about taking care of their spouse or parent or even a grandparent. Moreover, the caregivers often have their own families to take care of, as and when they attend the needs of the elderly person. It can thus affect the relationship among siblings, spouses, children and grandchildren of the caregiver and it may seem as if everything in the family revolves around the health of one family member. When this happens, the needs for attention go unmet and relationships that were doing well before may become stressed. In addition to health risks, caregivers can experience financial strain associated with illness expenses, passing up promotions, and reducing work commitments in order to continue giving care to a loved one.

Hence it is pivotal for all caregivers to have knowledge about ways that can help them get compensated while they tend to the needs of their loved ones. Let’s find out these options:

Medicaid (or Cash and Counselling Programs): Available across the country, Medicaid offers a variety of programs focussed on assisting with long-term in-home or in-community care, meal deliveries, and daycare centres so that care recipients may get home-based rather than institutional help. Each state has its own relevant program which one can easily access by connecting with Medicaid Home Attendant Services.

Long-Term Care Insurance: If your loved one had the foresight to invest in a long-term insurance policy of the type that compensates for home care, then it could be a great option to explore. Many of the policies usually do so and you will need to check and negotiate with the insurance carrier as required.

Indirect Payment via a Tax Credit: The IRS’s credit for Caring Act provides the eligible family caregiver a tax credit equivalent to 30% of expenditures outlaid on behalf of their loved one ranging from $2000 -$3000 per year. There are certain eligibility criteria that one needs to fulfil like the care recipient has to be a direct relative, or have any physical/ mental functional disability. The expenses need to be adequately documented and must have earned taxable income of at least $7500 in the year for claiming the tax credit.

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