Tag Archives: Caregiver Resources

Caregivers: Re-examine Your Options Before Quitting Your Job

Caregivers: Re-examine Your Options Before Quitting Your Job

Being a caregiver to your aging parents most certainly feels like a full time job and all the added responsibilities and pressures may make it seem as though giving up your day job to provide full-time care to your parents is the best option. However, before taking that giant leap, adult children should reconsider their options.

A recent MetLife study suggests that U.S. adult children should think twice about abandoning their careers in order to provide full time care for a parent due to the loss of revenue they are sacrificing both now and in the future. Around 10 million employed caregivers in the U.S. lose an estimated $3 trillion in wages, pensions and Social Security benefits over a lifetime for leaving the workforce prematurely.

In the last 15 years alone the percentage of adult children providing personal care and/or financial assistance to a parent has more than tripled. Among baby boomers providing care daughters are more likely to provide basic care to their aging parents than sons who are more likely to offer financial assistance.

When adult children sacrifice work to provide care to their parents they are not only missing out on a paycheck, but also years of service required to become vested in a defined benefits pension plan, to receive matching 401(k) funds or to build Social Security benefits.

Caregivers should budget their funds carefully and examine possible freer or low-cost community services and government health programs. The following list from the American Cancer Society provides a great starting point for caregivers to find the help they need in lieu of taking a sojourn from their careers.

1. American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)

(800) 424-3410

Offers information on financial planning and estate planning, money management assistance to low-income seniors who have difficulty budgeting, paying bills, and reconciling bank statements. Helps prevent financial abuse of frail, older adults and enables them to remain financially viable and in their own homes.

2. Caring Voice Coalition

1-804-427-6468,  1-888-267-1440

Seeks to empower patients with life-threatening, chronic illnesses. Current programs include a financial

assistance program, insurance education and counseling, and a patient support program.

3. Dignity Resources

1-877-563-2100

Helps people understand the assets and financial options available to them during a serious or life-threatening illness, and assists them in making the most informed choices possible given their particular situation.

4. The National Council on Aging

Compares the information you give with eligibility requirements for Social Security, Medicaid, in-home services, supplemental nutrition assistance, pharmacy programs, and state programs.

5. U.S. Administration on Aging

1-800-677-1116

Provides benefits for older adults. Eldercare locator finds resources in your local community.

6. In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS)

A federal, state, and locally funded program designed to provide assistance to those eligible aged, blind, and disabled individuals who, without this care, would be unable to remain safely in their own homes.

7. BenefitsCheckUpRx

Resource provided by the National Council on the Aging for individuals age 55 and older who have difficulty paying for their medicines. Web site can find drug assistance programs as well as programs to help with rent, property taxes, meals and other needs.

8. Together Rx Access

1-800-444-4106

Helps individuals and families who lack prescription drug coverage save on brand-name prescription drugs, other prescription products, and a wide range of generic drugs. Must meet eligibility criteria.

9. American Cancer Society Road to Recovery Program

1-800-227-2345

Volunteers transport patients and families to hospitals and clinics for treatment free of charge. In some places, the American Cancer Society may also provide limited assistance with the cost of gas.

10. National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE)

Learn practical steps to get smart about money from getting out of debt and budgeting to setting financial goals and investing money to reach those goals.

Finding the time and resources to care for aging parents is no easy task, but abandoning your career is not going to be beneficial to you in the short or long term. Take some time to research other available options and consider what is at stake for your financial future.

Elderly Assistance Organizations

Organizations that Lend a Helping Hand

While at times being a caregiver may seem like an isolating job, you should not have to go it alone. And fortunately there are numerous resources available to aid both you and your loved one. While there are hundreds of organizations in operation to help the elderly, here are just a few to get you started:

Nutrition.gov lists nationwide food assistance programs for the elderly including the food and nutrition service which provides incentives to states for the effective delivery of nutritious meals to older adults, the Seniors’ Farmers Market Nutrition Program and the Elderly Nutrition Program.

Meals on Wheels is America’s oldest and largest national organization for local, community-based Senior Nutrition programs. Located in all 50 states, Meals on Wheels’ mission is to make sure no senior goes hungry.

Eldercare Locator is a public service that aids in finding local agencies in the U.S. that can help caregivers and the elderly access home and community-based services. All you have to do is enter your ZIP code to explore anything from assisted living facilities to caregiver support services.

BenefitsCheckUp.org provides information for the elderly regarding their eligibility for benefits from existing federal, state and local programs. Benefits range from heating and energy assistance to income supplements.

GovBenefits.gov hosts information on government programs your care receiver can utilize.

• The LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) assists qualified low-income and elderly Americans with utility payments for the winter months. Each state receives federal funds which they then dole out. LIHEAP usually sends the payments directly to the utility company, making the program extremely convenient. Apply early as LIHEAP is on a first come-first serve basis.

Caregiving is a big responsibility and sometimes a daunting task. Take advantage of these resources!

Elderly Assistance Organizations

Organizations that Lend a Helping Hand

While at times being a caregiver may seem like an isolating job, you should not have to go it alone. And fortunately there are numerous resources available to aid both you and your loved one. While there are hundreds of organizations in operation to help the elderly, here are just a few to get you started:

Nutrition.gov lists nationwide food assistance programs for the elderly including the food and nutrition service which provides incentives to states for the effective delivery of nutritious meals to older adults, the Seniors’ Farmers Market Nutrition Program and the Elderly Nutrition Program.

Meals on Wheels is America’s oldest and largest national organization for local, community-based Senior Nutrition programs. Located in all 50 states, Meals on Wheels’ mission is to make sure no senior goes hungry.

Eldercare Locator is a public service that aids in finding local agencies in the U.S. that can help caregivers and the elderly access home and community-based services. All you have to do is enter your ZIP code to explore anything from assisted living facilities to caregiver support services.

BenefitsCheckUp.org provides information for the elderly regarding their eligibility for benefits from existing federal, state and local programs. Benefits range from heating and energy assistance to income supplements.

GovBenefits.gov hosts information on government programs your care receiver can utilize.

• The LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) assists qualified low-income and elderly Americans with utility payments for the winter months. Each state receives federal funds which they then dole out. LIHEAP usually sends the payments directly to the utility company, making the program extremely convenient. Apply early as LIHEAP is on a first come-first serve basis.

Caregiving is a big responsibility and sometimes a daunting task. Take advantage of these resources!

Survival tips for the Sandwich Generation

Here are some things that can help you stay sane through all the nonsense life brings.

  1. Alone time is crucial – Taking a break from everyday life is important. Spending a little time each day focused on you can really make a difference in the overall stress level of everyday life. Trying getting up a little earlier and enjoying fresh juice while reading your favorite magazine. Or after a long day of work, unwind by taking your dog on a walk. The gym is another excellent place to unwind if you can find a cardio machine away from all the noise. Put on your head phones and walk a few miles, unwinding your mind from the days’ struggles.
  2. Family Support – As with most things in life, if you don’t have your family supporting your decisions it probably won’t go over well. Finding support and comfort within your family ties helps to make sense of the crazy stuff that happens every day. Rely on your spouse and kids to help your through your problems and create a time and place to discuss family dynamics on a routine basis. This will help solve a lot of at home issues while also bringing the family closer, building a better relationship between all parties involved.
  3. Faith – Everyone has their own definition and experience of faith.  What faith brings is a sense of commitment, fellowship and an overall feeling of comfort and security knowing that you have something to rely on other than the tangible factors in this world. If praying or meditation helps you throughout the day, do it. Increase the amount of time you spend on your faith and you will see it reciprocated in your everyday life.
  4. Employment Benefits – When it comes to today’s corporate policies, they have changed from years past. If you have added stress from taking care of a sick or again parent, many companies will provide some sort of leniency in order to provide for your loved ones needs. If you feel stressed about missing work to take your sick mother to her doctor’s appointment, just ask. You may be surprised at the new policies!
  5. Professional Assistance – When concerns do arise because of taking care of a sick loved one, or in general, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor or other professionals about your problem. Expressing yourself helps not only you, but everyone around you understand what is going on and how they can help make your life easier

The overall goal is to survive! Remember that having a positive attitude and not stressing over the small stuff in life will help. Eventually, everyone needs help in life and equipping yourself with quality relationships will provide balance as you care for yourself and all those around you.