There are many reasons you might need to start caring for your parents. Your dad had a stroke and requires help with mobility. Your mom has Alzheimer’s and needs constant supervision to prevent wandering.
Families often struggle with the choice to become a family caregiver. It will impact your life in positive and negative ways. You need to be prepared for the changes you’ll face. One of the biggest is the change to your income.
Why Would Your Income Change?
There are a few situations where your income may not change. If you own a business and rarely put in hours at work, you may be okay. If you are on retirement income, you’ll be okay. If you work from home and can continue working the same number of hours, you won’t experience any difference.
Many people have to balance the care their parents need with a full-time or part-time job. As their parents’ needs become more demanding, the hours they can actually work dwindle. There are people who end up having to switch from full-time to part-time hours. Others quit their jobs outright.
When you have to cut hours or stop working, you lose that income. You might lose health insurance benefits and retirement contributions. That affects you in the future. You’ll have less income to retire on. A health emergency could push you into bankruptcy if you give up insurance.
Your Parents’ Needs Many Also Require Financial Contributions From You
Another issue families run into is the cost associated with an elderly parent’s chronic health condition. If a parent has Alzheimer’s, the prescription medications become costly. In addition to medications that help keep some of the symptoms from progressing as rapidly, many people with Alzheimer’s also need antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications.
If your parent has to choose between medications or groceries, you’ll be forced to step in and cover the grocery costs to ensure food is available. You may also find yourself paying for emergency repairs and other unexpected bills.
Paying for the expenses in two households becomes stressful. You have to set limits, and that’s hard to do when it’s your parents.
Avoid limiting your time spent at work. Hire in-home care services to fill in for you while you’re earning your paycheck. It’s easy to arrange in-home care on a part-time or full-time basis. It only takes one phone call to get started.