When a senior loved one begins to experience health issues or struggle with the activities of daily life, family members and friends often lend a hand. It’s usually with small tasks, such as running errands. As time passes, these duties often increase. Adult children can also be called upon to help with clinical tasks, such as wound care.
Providing support to someone whose health is declining can take a significant toll on physical and emotional well-being. While it might seem less expensive to have an older family member move into your home, many of the costs associated with caregiving aren’t obvious. Lost wages and benefits, an increase in household expenses, and wear and tear on the family car are a few.
If you are debating between having a senior move into your home or encouraging a transition to an assisted living community, here are some of the hidden costs of caregiving you should not overlook.
Don’t Overlook These Caregiving Expenses
- Lost wages, benefits, and career growth: One of the biggest expenses that people fail to consider is loss of income, both now and into the future. As the senior’s needs increase, family members are often forced to cut back on their work hours or give up working entirely for a while. The end result is lost wages and benefits related to their current job, but also missed opportunities for career growth. Caregivers who temporarily stop working might find it difficult to obtain a similar paying position when they are ready to return to work, too.
- Higher vehicle and gasoline expenses: Caregivers are often surprised at how often they find themselves behind the wheel. From doctor’s appointments to trips to the pharmacy, the extra mileage means more expenses. The extra costs for gas, oil changes, tires, and brakes can quickly add up. If the vehicle is leased, the impact can be even greater. You may exceed your mileage allotment and incur penalties.
- Greater household expenses and modification costs: When you add an additional person to your household, your home expenses will rise. From higher utilities to extra food costs, you’ll need to budget for this increase as well. Then there is the likelihood that your home may need to undergo some modifications to make it more senior-friendly. Ramps on exterior doors, grab bars in bedrooms and bathrooms, and a step-free shower are the most common.
- More medical bills for the caregiver: One more hidden cost of caregiving is increased medical expenses for the caregiver. The role is often physically and emotionally demanding. Adults who provide care are at higher risk for medical conditions, such as digestive issues, back pain, headaches, and anxiety, than their non-caregiving peers.
One final consideration is a different kind of cost: loss of personal time. While caregiving can be a labor of love, it is often a 24/7 responsibility. As a result, caregivers often experience a loss of privacy, personal space, and time to spend with their own children.
Visit Heritage Senior Living to Learn More
The best way to learn more about assisted living is with a personal visit. Before you decide to move a senior loved one into your home, we encourage you to tour a Heritage community near you. One of our experienced team members will be able to answer all of your questions and help you learn more about the benefits our communities offer.