Women helping women: How to take care of family business when you are the caregiver
Chances are good that, at some point in your life, you may end up being a caregiver for someone you love. In fact, nearly 1 in 5 of all adults provide care to an adult loved one or to children.* And, unsurprisingly, 60% of those who do are women.* But there are things you should consider before you take on this rewarding, but potentially stressful role.
Help caring for an aging loved one
You don’t have to go it alone
Whether you are considering paying for the care or providing it yourself, it’s important to note that you may not need to do it all alone. In fact, there are many resources for information and even financial help. A few include:
- The Family Caregiver Alliance at www.caregiver.org—which has many resources for caregivers, including support groups, lists of services in your area, and much more
- Your loved one’s life insurance policy (or yours)—which may have a cash balance or a chronic illness rider that can be accessed to help pay for care
- Other programs that may pay for an outside caregiver to help alleviate some of the responsibilities (look at BenefitsCheckUp.org and eldercare.gov to name a few)
Providing the care yourself
More than half of women caregivers still need to work and may even be sandwiched between providing care for older loved ones and children at the same time. It’s important to still be able to take care of yourself financially and emotionally. So, before making the decision to provide care yourself, here are some things you should think about:
- Can you afford to stay home and for how long?
- The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) enables you to take 12 weeks unpaid (for your own medical needs or those of others) and return to your same position and salary
- If you desire to be home longer than 12 weeks, it may not only be your salary you need to replace, but also health insurance and other benefits
- You should still be saving for retirement—and if you have children—saving for college as well
- Can you get paid to provide the care?
- Family may be willing to help you provide the care or meet the costs, so ask them early on
- Certain State Medicaid and aging services programs may actually pay you to care for your relative through “participant directed” or “consumer directed” programs (check your state’s aging services and Medicaid sites)
- Can you earn income on the side?
- Today there is a thriving “Gig economy” where women can create great income streams on a freelance basis being tutors, tour guides, babysitters, shoppers and more. These jobs enable you to earn an income, while providing flexible schedules. Some great sites for finding gigs include fiverr.com, behance.net, Guru.com, freelancer.com.
Regardless of the type of care you hope to provide, Gasber Financial can help you determine not only what the long-term costs involved may be, but also the best ways to afford it.
In our next installment, we’ll discuss considerations for providing care for special needs loved ones.