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Financial Help

My 93 yer old mother has lived with my husband and i for the last 12 years (since her stroke).  We had a part time in home caregiver while I was at work.  Recently we had to move her to an assisted living home. It is a lovely home and I feel very comfortable with her care.  It doesn't look like she will be able to come home.

 

My question is: how do we afford this? Her savings will be gone within the next few months. Then it will be up to me, an only child.  Where can I get financial help?  Should I take out a mortgage on my house (plenty of equity). How much should I borrow? Should I be claiming her as a dependant on my income tax? I dont know where to start.

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AARP Expert

@luciep553592  Unfortunately Medicare doesn't pay for ongoing care from a family member.  Your options are possibly Medicaid (some states have programs where the person receiving Medicaid can choose who provides their care, but some say it can't be someone they live with...), private pay (from your loved ones' funds), VA benefits (if your loved one is a Veteran), or, depending on the policy, possibly long term care insurance. Sometimes there may be state funds to help too. Here is an article that outlines more details. "Can I Get Paid To Be a Caregiver for a Family Member?"

 

To find out what is available in your area, contact your local area agency on aging. You can find yours by going to the Eldercare Locator at www.eldercare.acl.gov and put in your zip code, then you'll get a listing for the area agency on aging and other resources (you can also call the Eldercare Locator and explain what you are looking for at 1-800-677-1116). Call the area agency on aging and ask for an assessment and any help they can get you. 

 

Normally, I'd suggest adult day services center so you have a break during the day and it is usually much more affordable than paying a caregiver at home. Of course most of them are closed right now due to COVID-19. But it's something to think about in the future! 

 

Take care,

Amy Goyer, AARP Family & Caregiving Expert

Author, Juggling Life, Work and Caregiving

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@luciep553592 wrote:
I noticed that the option of paying the family member to be the primary caregiver is not mentioned i recently had to deal with this issue and was heartbroken to realize that I only had so much income to pay a family member for my care does Medicare or insurance help with this sort of issue?

There are some states which allow the care recipient to pay a family member, and it's through the Medicaid program. You can find out if your state participates if you call the area agency on aging: put the care recipient zip code into the search box on www.eldercare.gov. 

 

Outside of this system you might be understand why this is a rare benefit: family members are expected to care for other family members, although obviously this is not always true. Perhaps the wider extended family can chip in to provide pay to a family member who is indeed sacrificing financially to care for someone in the family. Families don't talk about this kind of thing very openly, and then resentment builds up, including conflicts that happen when the care recipient passes away and there are hurt feelings around inheritance, etc. 

 

Please feel free to write more about your predicament, here. There are smart folks here who can respond.

 

best of luck to you and your family,

Jane

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