Comparing Costs of Care Options
August 07, 2012
When considering options for caring for your loved one, it’s obviously important to consider costs. Many people choose to care for their elderly parents or relatives in their own home. Some choose to place the elderly individual in a nursing home or assisted living facility. Others see the advantages of hiring a caregiver and go that route. Let’s consider some of the advantages and disadvantages of all of these options in terms of costs.
Provide Care Yourself
According to a MetLife study, nearly 10 million Americans are currently providing care for their aging parents. It’s easy to see some of the advantages to this option. Caring for a loved one in your own home or even in their home takes away any costs of outside care. Medication and extra equipment may still be needed, but these would be needed with or without external care. Furthermore, working as a family caregiver, you can receive small payments from the government if your parent is eligible for Medicaid or has long term care insurance that includes home-care coverage. You may also have the option of deducting your parent’s medical expenses if you provide at least 50% of his or her financial support (dailyfinance.com).
Even though there are many advantages to providing care yourself, there are also many downsides to this option. This option first of all puts you in a very vulnerable position financially. The MetLife study mentioned earlier also found that family caregivers experience an average of $300,000 loss in lifetime wages, benefits, and social security due to limited work hours and poor performance. Stress from the responsibilities of caregiving not only causes poor work performance, but also puts a toll on your mind and body. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, family caregivers spend an average of 20 hours per week providing care for their loved one. This responsibility can make it difficult to manage a full time job, let alone a normal family life. This being said, each person must evaluate their own situation. Are you already a stay-at-home wife? Is your parent not in need of full time care? In these cases, the option of providing care yourself may be the way to go.
Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities
Putting your parent into a nursing home or assisted living facility is a huge decision. It means giving over care in a big way, but it also means a lot more freedom of time for you. If you are not able to care for the specific needs of your parent or you are already very busy, this may be a great option. It’s especially something to consider when your parent is unable to do much on their own.
The disadvantages of this option, however, can often outweigh the advantages. To begin with, you have to seriously consider what quality of care your parent will be receiving. One of the reasons CareFamily was founded was because of the founder’s personal experience with negligent care in a particular facility. Of course, poor quality of care in facilities will not be found across the board. Many facilities provide excellent care, but you need to really do your research here. According to a Genworth 2011 survey, the national average for nursing home care is $193 to $213 daily, depending on the room’s privacy, and the national average for assisted living care is $3,261 monthly. These rates have been on the rise the past few years and continue to go up. Therefore, when considering putting your parent in a facility, the financial cost is a huge factor.
Hire a Caregiver
Hiring a caregiver can in many ways provide a perfect balance. You are able to keep your costs down while also having freedom of time. You will have the ability to be more financially secure in your work, but you will also be able to keep your parent close, whether in your home or in theirs. Hiring a caregiver can also be a good option because it does not have to break the bank, especially when you only need a caregiver part time. Even live-in costs do not have to be too high if you consider options like CareFamily, which is not an agency but connects families with private duty caregivers who meet their needs. The average cost of caregivers on our site is $15 an hour including the benefits of bonding, insurance, automated solutions, and tax support, which can save you a lot of money and provide you an overall, quality solution.
Even with all the potential advantages of hiring a caregiver, it’s still important to consider the possible disadvantages in terms of cost. The rate for caregivers from agencies in the U.S. is anywhere from $20 to $30 per hour, which can make this option a costly one. Furthermore, you oftentimes will not really know if a caregiver is a good fit until they have worked a few days, which can cost you time and money. Making sure you get upfront information about the caregiver’s qualifications, abilities, and rate to help you make a good decision.
We can see that there are advantages and disadvantages to all three of the above options in terms of costs. The right choice for you really comes down to your specific needs and your specific situation in life. Take away some of this information, and go explore further to find the perfect fit for you.