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When a parent’s or other family member’s health begins to decline, loved ones often pitch in to help. Running errands and performing household chores are usually the first steps. Some may try to move their older loved one into their own home for safety.
While it might seem cost-effective, hidden expenses associated with family caregiving should be considered. If you are deciding between keeping an older loved one at home versus helping them move to an assisted living community, it’s important to understand the true costs of caregiving.
The Costs of Caring for a Family Member
1. Lost wages, benefits, and future promotions
Caregiving can be time-consuming. While tasks may start out small, they usually increase as time goes by. Family caregivers often cut back their work hours to devote more time to their loved ones. That means lost wages and benefits now and in the future.
If an employer knows a team member is a caregiver, they might be weary of promoting them. While they may be understanding and flexible with work hours, they also recognize the employee is spread thin. Caregivers who leave the workforce temporarily may also have difficulty making up for lost time when they return to the working world.
2. Small expenses that add up
When you move a senior into your home or make multiple trips to their home every week, you’ll run into unanticipated expenses. From greater food costs to higher utility bills, your home budget will need to be adjusted. If your home isn’t designed with a senior’s needs in mind—and most aren’t—modifications to doorways and bathrooms are another expense you may encounter.
Less obvious expenses can leave a dent in your wallet, too. Higher costs for gas, oil changes, tires, and brakes for the car are a few. If your car is leased, you might have difficulty staying within your mileage limit.
3. Loss of privacy and family time
While many adult children see caregiving as a labor of love, it can cause a loss of privacy and lack of family time. If you move a senior in with your family, you’ll be responsible for them around the clock. Unless there is a separate area of your home for them, your family will need to adapt.
When you are busy caring for a senior family member, you may also have to give up memberships in favorite social clubs or spend less time with friends. It can lead to isolation and loneliness as caregiving duties increase.
4. Increase in personal healthcare expenses
Caregivers often experience health problems of their own. No matter how dedicated you are to your loved one’s well-being, caring for someone else can be physically and emotionally draining. Family caregivers experience greater incidents of digestive issues, back pain, headaches, and more. This often translates to higher health care expenses, including more money spent on copays and medications.
Visit a Sunrise Senior Living Community
If you are a family caregiver struggling to give a senior loved one the quality of care they deserve, we invite you to visit Sunrise Senior Living. With communities from coast to coast, we can help you find a solution that best meets your family member’s unique needs. Call us at 888- 434-4648 to learn more today!