There is a generation that is sometimes referred to as “the sandwich generation;” these are the people who have to care not only for their children, but for their elderly parents as well. It is a hard and multi-dimensional job, with declining retirement savings and health care costs skyrocketing to worry about for their parents, and college tuition and all the additional costs that come with raising a child.
To help you better manage the costs of caring for an elderly loved one, follow these helpful tips:
It never hurts to ask. Try negotiating with a facility on pricing, especially if they are not filled to capacity. Donna Schempp, program director for the nonprofit, Family Caregiver Alliance, says it’s “worth the conversation, particularly if your parent is already there and they’d have to move out.”
Offer to Share a Room.
Some assisted-living facilities set aside a certain number of rooms to share for lower-income seniors who cannot afford the full fee. Mary Winners, owner of About Senior Solutions, knows of some facilities that could charge as low as $1,300 to $1,700 per person for a shared room, as opposed to those who spend $2,500 to $3,500 on a private room.
Hire a Geriatric-Care Manager.
A geriatric-care manager can do everything from assessing your parent’s long-term care needs and finding them a place to live, to helping you navigate the complicated health-care system. They can also save you lots of time and money in the long run, making their fees, which range from $80 to $200 an hour, seem a lot more satisfying.
A situation where a geriatric-care manager would be helpful would be if you did not live close to your aging parent and they needed regular assistance. A manager may be better able to find a high-quality assisted living facility near her home that’s financially supported by the community. They know what is out there and will be better equipped to negotiate on your behalf.
Managers can also serve as a mediator if family members are in conflict over an elderly relative, which on its own; can save you plenty of time and headaches.
Adult Day Care
If you work during the day, and your elderly parent cannot be left at home alone, enrolling them in an adult day care program is a lot more affordable than private, in-home care. Fees for adult day services vary, but the national average rate is $64 a day, compared to the hourly rate of $20 (or $160 for an eight-hour day) for home health aides, according to a 2008 MetLife study.
Hire a Part-Time Caretaker
For seniors who do not require close or full-time supervision, hire someone to regularly check in and spend some time with your parent. It could be anyone from a neighbor to a friend or family member. If your mom or dad lives near a university, hire a student to do things such as grocery shopping, cleaning, and meal preparation, as well as provide companionship. It will only cost you about $15 an hour for such services.
Caring for an elderly parent can be emotionally, physically, and financially draining at times. By following these helpful tips, hopefully at least the financial burden will seem a little less intimidating. If you have any other questions regarding elder care or elder law, consult a qualified elder law attorney, like Adam Tobin, to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have.