Caregiving is a difficult, time-consuming process that can take a toll on the body, mind, and spirit. It's also expensive: According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), around 34% of American adults are family caregivers. Caregivers often provide more than 20 hours per week of care for an elderly relative or friend with serious health problems—and this doesn't include time being spent driving them to appointments or doing paperwork on their behalf.
Caregiving can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it's also one that comes with its own set of challenges. The financial costs are often substantial and can strain a caregiver's ability to provide the care they want while still meeting their own needs. This is why it’s so important for family caregivers to take advantage of all the resources available to them—and remember that they aren't alone in this process.
What is family caregiving?
Family caregiving is the act of providing care for a family member or loved one with a chronic condition, disability, or illness. This can include your spouse, child, parent, or other loved one, and it can take many forms - from helping someone get dressed in the morning, to arranging medical appointments and keeping track of medications, to assisting with mobility or physical therapy. While the tasks involved in family caregiving are sometimes relatively minor and easy to accomplish, there are also times when they can be extremely stressful and taxing on the caregiver's physical and mental health. It's a job that often falls on the shoulders of family members who have no professional training in the management of someone else's health.
Family caregiving can be especially challenging for caregivers who do not live with their loved ones, as they often have to coordinate multiple schedules and transportation arrangements for themselves in order to accommodate the needs of their families. This can be a huge source of stress because it means that these caregivers have less time for themselves than those who work from home or near-home locations.
Caregivers should also understand that their own health may suffer as a result of trying to take care of others; this includes things like sleep deprivation or chronic stress caused by worrying about whether or not you're doing right by your loved one (or if they're doing right by themselves).
The cost of caregiving can be physical, emotional, and financial. Not only do caregivers have to deal with the stress of being responsible for another person's well-being, but they also have to pay for any treatments or medications needed by the person they're caring for. This can put a financial strain on them as well as their families. Additionally, they may need to take time off work in order to provide care.
Caregiving can be costly.
While it's a rewarding experience to help someone you love, there are also some costs associated with being a family caregiver. For example, if you're driving your loved one to appointments and activities, it can be expensive to cover gas and car maintenance costs. There are also expenses related to food preparation if your loved one has trouble cooking or preparing meals. Your loved one may need extra help with things like managing their medications and finances due to cognitive decline or mobility issues. You may also need to hire someone to perform physical tasks like cleaning or yard work when your loved one can't do them anymore due to age or illness.
In a survey conducted by GoHealth, 4 in 5 respondents were worried about having enough money to support themselves and assist their parents, and 7 in 10 caregivers have had to sacrifice their own personal finances and activities in order to help a loved one. It's not uncommon for caregivers to take out a loan or early withdraw from a retirement fund in order to cover expenses related to their caregiver duties, and many have gone into credit card debt to pay for caregiving costs.
It's important that you plan ahead financially so that you don't run into any unexpected expenses along the way. Be sure to track all of your expenses so that you can see where money is going and make changes if necessary. This will also help ensure that there's enough money left over at the end of every month after paying bills and other expenses so that there aren't any surprises later down the road!
That's why we've created NestedFunds. It's a much easier way to manage your finances and get you back on track so that you can focus on what matters: your loved ones.
-The NestedFunds Team