LivHOME Guest Blog: Unpaid Family Caregiver

By September 25, 2013Caregiving Tips

This week’s LivHOME guest blogger is Linda Lewis,m a Reverse Mortgage Specialist with Proficio Mortgage Ventures, LLLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Proficio Bank.  She currently lives in Southern California, you can follow her at her website ReverseWithLinda.com 

 

Here’s Linda:

 

My aunt is now 95 years old. She grew up on a farm in Arizona. As a child, she remembers taking food in to her grandmother, in bed, in a room in the back of the house. In those days, that may have been how families often cared for elderly family members. I shudder at the thought.

 

Today, my aunt is in an assisted living facility, receiving excellent care, plenty of attention, and enjoying many activities.  Thank goodness times have changed!  Now many options are available for care for our elderly loved ones — but it’s not an easy decision. Do we care for them at home, move them in with the family, or move them into a facility?  Is an elderly spouse trying to provide care?  How does this affect the health of the caregiver? Being a family caregiver is a burden that can easily drain all of their reserves—physically, emotionally, and financially. Then everyone’s safety and health may be at risk.

 

If a family member considers quitting work to be the caregiver, the long-term cost in lost wages and benefits are worth considering. According to a Metlife Mature Market Institute Study, “Nearly 10 million adult children over the age of 50 care for their aging parents. These family caregivers are themselves aging as well as providing care at a time when they also need to be planning and saving for their own retirement. … Total wage, Social Security, and private pension loses due to caregiving … equals $308,880 on average for a typical caregiver. …”

 

For family caregivers who help with chores, shopping, cooking, laundry, housecleaning, etc., help is available. Just trying to ensure they eat healthy may be a battle. And precious time is spent as a caregiver rather than enjoying time together. Professional services are available in the home and there are so many options to choose from. If money wasn’t an issue, would hiring help be an option?

 

A variety of options are available to help fund in-home care, such as: VA benefits, Medicaid, Long Term Care Insurance, and the Government’s Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (aka HECM or Reverse Mortgage). The National Council on Aging’s website, www.ncoa.org, is a great resource and offers a free booklet:
Use Your Home to Stay at Home: A Guide for Older Homeowners Who Need Help Now”.

 

Now, imagine life for the family with the assistance of a professional caregiver!

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