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Navigating the Financial Cost of Elder Care

Updated: Jul 18, 2022

Caring for an elder family member can be a taxing and potentially stressful task. The complicated medical requirements for various elder conditions, as well as the unique requirements for each person and their living situation can be complex and overwhelming. Besides the logistical and medical aspect of assisting an elder family member or friend, one of the most common stressful aspects of caring for an elder is the financial portion.

Although some elders may be lucky enough to have a significant nest egg saved up for retirement, or some other financial method to pay out-of-pocket for the various costs associated with elder care, many do not. It can be exhausting and stressful to navigate the dozens and dozens of programs and grants and assistance programs that can help with the financial element of elder care.

Medicare and Medicaid are government program to assist with paying the cost of healthcare and support for persons over 65 or disabled. However, these programs come with some complex requirements and qualification barriers. It’s not as simple as just signing up and receiving the money into a family bank account. The process can be complex and time-consuming, especially for those of us with full time jobs and families of our own.

Social Security is a government retirement benefit available (like Medicare) to people older than 65 in most cases, and to those younger in other, more specific cases. The great majority of Americans spend their working careers paying into the Social Security system, then receive its benefits when they retire. For elders, this benefit income may be one of their only forms of income, making the proper use of its benefits critical to good care.

Individual Retirement plans are another method with which elders and their families can offset the costs of elder care. Receiving a pension from a public sector job, a 401k from an employer, or even a well-maintained IRA account and its disbursement can help significantly for families looking for additional methods of paying for elder care and services.

With all the complexity surrounding the financial programs and institutions that can help in elder care and retirement, it is understandable that many people can be overwhelmed and overburdened by all the bureaucratic red tape and the navigating that’s required. One of the most effective ways to manage these complex systems is by hiring a geriatric care manager.

A geriatric care manager has a wide breadth of knowledge surrounding elder care and services, including the financial aspect. As in all bureaucratic systems, there are methods and strategies that can maximize the benefit an elder family member can receive from these various programs. Geriatric care managers are uniquely qualified to navigate this complex landscape, and work as singular advocates for elders and their families. Even if not hired as a direct care manager, many geriatric care managers, including Senior Steps, offer consultations and lower-intensity advice regarding various issues, including methods of affording long-term care, assisted living, or home health.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us at Senior Steps for a free consult if you have any questions or concerns surrounding yourself or an elder relative or friend!

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