The Real Cost of Caring for an Aging Parent

You probably have fond memories of your childhood. Your parents were always around and provided everything you needed. Now, you find that your parents can no longer care for themselves. While compassion and gratitude lean towards taking them into your home, can you afford to?

Lost Wages

Depending on the physical and mental health of your aging parents, they may require another adult in the home often. That means that either you or your spouse might need to reduce their working hours or make a career change that allows you to work from home. If this is not possible, then having a service come in to care for your parents a few days weekly is an alternative, however, it’s a costly one. 

Rack up Debt

Having elderly parents come into the home will cause lifestyle changes and necessitate accommodations. You may need to make minor changes to the interior/exterior or major ones depending on their mobility. That can lead to large amounts of debt from personal loans and credit cards. 

Thankfully, if it comes to that, you can consolidate the debt through a company like Gulf Street Advisors. These professionals will help you reduce the amount of money you are paying every month and simplify your payment since you will only have one bill, instead of many. Debt consolidation is a financial lifesaver for many Americans.

Get on Track Regarding Finances

Before accepting the call to duty and taking your parents into your home, you need to get your own finances on track. Create a budget by listing all of your expenses and then deduct them from your entire net income. That will give you a better idea of your ability to afford to care for two others. 

Make sure you factor in all of your expenses. That means if you have school-aged children, you need to note the money you spend on clothing and supplies. Also, you also need to factor in work-related expenses. Even if something seems like a minor expense, put it on the budget. That will help you get your finances together in a jiffy. 

Reducing Monthly Expenses

If you’re already struggling to make ends meet, adding additional members to the household won’t benefit anyone. You will have their Social Security to offset additional expenses. However, if your parents are on several medications and have debt of their own, you won’t get much help financially. 

Thankfully, most budgets have room for improvement. If you have premium cable channels, you can switch to another plan short-term. Cell phones are another money sapper. Shop around to see the plans other cell phone companies offer. Monthly subscriptions for wine, coffee and magazines are enjoyable, but not essentials. Look at your budget for things you can reduce or cut to save money.

Additional Ways to Save Money

With additional people in the home, food costs will increase. Checking the weekly flyers from several of the local supermarkets will allow you to find the best prices on the items you need. 

Use a reputable online coupon site to provide additional savings. Some stores offer rewards for member loyalty as discounts, cash and free items. Take advantage of these types of perks. Also, you may want to consider buying frequently needed items in bulk. If you need furniture or even clothing, visit second-hand shops or garage sales first. Most times, you’ll find quality items for a fraction of the cost versus new in stores. 

End Poor Spending Habits

Cutting out bad spending habits can free up hundreds of dollars monthly. Dining out, ordering takeout and buying coffee or lunch during work hours, can consume a lot of your money without you noticing. Trying to reduce that spending to once or twice each month will give you a substantial return of income. 

Change Tax Status

As a primary caregiver to your parents, you may be eligible to use them as a tax deduction similar to your children. Check with your accountant or someone who prepares taxes to see if you qualify and other benefits entitled to. 

You owe a debt to your parents for the care and resources they provided while growing up. Now, your parents need care. Creating a budget, curbing frivolous spending, speaking to professionals at Gulf Street Advisors, and finding ways to save money will make the addition of more people affordable. 


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